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Opinion: Amtrak security move ahead of the curve

(The following column by Eric Zorn appeared on the Chicago Tribune website on May 30, 2010.)

CHICAGO — I was shocked by Amtrak's announcement last week that boarding passengers will now face random screening of their carry-on bags in an effort to detect explosives.

Shocked, not because our passenger rail system is risking delays and customer irritation by tightening security measures. But because the move is being made proactively, before some terrorist or nut-job lugs a bomb on board a U.S. train and wreaks the sort of havoc already seen on trains around the world.

Our typical pattern is to wait for a tragedy or credible attack to occur, then institute measures that would have prevented it — checking the shoes of every airline passenger to try to catch the next Richard Reed, for instance. The scary truth is that any major conveyance or large public space is an obvious terrorist target, and these Amtrak screenings are long overdue. But not, thank goodness, too late.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

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