Reader concerned of infringement on 4th amendment rights

A reader expressed his concern over our BCP post asking why so many men with large backpacks were roaming through Marathon crowds, without having the bags searched.

Citing the 4th Amendment, he fears searching backpacks further infringes our rights.

Our point is the Boston Marathon is no different than a major league ball game, in that we all know if we take a bag of any kind to the stadium, it will be searched prior to entry.

The Marathon took place on a public street instead of in a stadium, but for that event the public street has (for the moment) been transformed…and security precautions should prevail accordingly – at least in high density population areas like the finish line.

And let’s not forget the wording of the 4th Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Post 9/11, would it not be ‘reasonable’ to expect the same level of security precautions at such an ‘outside’ event as occurs at an NFL game inside a stadium?

And, didn’t 8-year old Martin Richard’s 4th Amendment right ‘…to be secure in (his) person…’ justify that someone else’s bag be searched?

One point we (evidently) failed to make effectively: wouldn’t a high-security level that included use of hand-held radiation detectors have also included the very basic act of searching specific items (bags, backpacks) that could carry and disguise a bomb?

Failing to do so created the environment a terrorist needed to succeed.

Isn’t a bag search at such events justified? We understand and share concerns over any government intrusion into our lives, but the terror act in Boston begs the question.

And, since such public sporting venues will no doubt continue, a more pressing issue needs to be addressed…

Apologizing for our lack of political correctness, the question remains – given the large volume of ‘Middle-East-appearing’ men seen carrying backpacks during the Marathon…

…was that phenomenon being used as a diversionary or ‘dry-run’ tactic?

Or, are we just looking under rocks…?


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