It's Still Martial Law Even If No One's Declared It Yet

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Picture this: you and your family are vacationing in the Big Apple. You’re riding one of those double-decker busses and enjoying the circus that’s Broadway. Suddenly, in a scene borrowed from a banana republic, troops waving rifles ambush the vehicle. “Hands up!” they shout while your family shrieks, your heart thuds, and the other passengers begin screaming. “Get your hands up! Nobody move!”

Sixty terrorized tourists lived this nightmare near Times Square last Sunday when cops in riot gear invaded their bus. As one of them told the New York Post, “I thought we were going to die.”

It seems that when these folks had embarked on their tour a few hours earlier, five of them aroused suspicion among the bus company’s employees. One wary worker was the driver, 43-year-old Mohammed Stout of the Bronx. You’d think a man living in the urban jungle wouldn’t scare easily, but Mohammed insisted to the Daily News, “I was definitely frightened from the beginning. That’s human nature.”

And what was it about these five men that petrified a Stout denizen of the Bronx? Were they sporting bandoliers, carrying machetes, and shouting, “Death to capitalist pigs”? No. They were “South Asian,” which, we’ll assume, is PC-speak for “indeterminate variety of Moslem,” they had British accents, they were carrying backpacks, and their pockets were “stuffed.”

Again, you might think employees of a tour-bus company would be accustomed to backpacks and bulging pockets among their customers, but no one at Gray Line seems to have the sense God gave an amoeba. Reports differ as to whether Mohammed or another employee called in the alarm. In any event, the SWAT team attacked the bus.

The Gray Line doesn’t come cheap. Depending on the package, adult tickets cost a minimum of $49 while those for kids under age 11 start at $39. This buys you a two-day pass: you can hop off the double-decker at any of its 40 stops in Manhattan or Brooklyn and hop back on when another one comes along. Guided tours are also available, but that boosts the ticket price to $81.

Seems a poor way to thank patrons, especially ones forking over that amount of loot, by snitching on them to the drama queens at the NYPD. Let’s hope Gray Line fires these dimwits before they abuse more customers, but given the fortress mentality that pervades New York City, they’re likely to promote them instead.

Reprehensible as the employees’ behavior was, it pales beside that of the cops. Without even the pretense of a warrant, the NYPD’s warriors forced not only the five “suspects” but the other 55 passengers as well to reach for the sky and vacate the bus.

“People were really scared,” said Jill Sully, who’s visiting from Canada. “There were sharpshooters with guns pointed toward our bus.” That’s the land of the free for you, Jill.

At that moment, the NYPD presumably considered poor Jill and her fellow riders potential victims of the five “suspects.” Yet the cops prohibited these innocent people from taking their belongings when they marched them off the bus. Instead, their bags were strewn along the street so a bomb-sniffing dog could do its thing. No word on whether a narc dog was also deputized. Then again, what civilian can tell the difference between the two? Especially when quaking with fear for one’s life.

The “victims” got off lightly compared to the “suspects.” Remember that these men are so far guilty only of buying tickets on Gray Line and loading their pockets beyond what a couple of busybodies deem necessary. Nevertheless, they were handcuffed and compelled to kneel on the sidewalk.

The NYPD no doubt moved at its usual bureaucratic speed in determining that the tourists were exactly that and finally releasing them. Look for the “South Asians” to sue the city, which means our taxes, rather than the paychecks of the Ninjas involved, will compensate them for the trauma they suffered. But at the moment, as one of them told the Daily News, “We just want to clear our heads of the whole thing. We were humiliated enough.”

Amazingly, the sheeple are not cheering the NYPD this time, nor do they seem convinced its histrionics once again saved them from annihilation. “You want to talk about real terror?” said passenger Robert Arrigo of White Plains, NY. “There were two little girls with their parents who were just terrified. They were crying uncontrollably.”

“I was scared out of my mind,” said Amanda Pesanello, 20, of Coventry, R.I. “We don’t have things like this in Rhode Island.”

We didn’t used to in New York, either, Amanda.

The stormtroopers hadn’t finished their rampage. They swarmed into a McDonald’s and forced patrons there to evacuate, too. Folks munching Big Macs are apparently less of a threat than those riding tour busses, so their belongings were not subjected to a search, nor were they ordered to hold their hands overhead while leaping to obey.

Deliciously, the NYPD and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are now scrambling to convince us they’re actually sane adults instead of irresponsible fascists playing war. To prove their maturity, they are blaming others, specifically the bus company, for their lunacy. Bloomberg opined to the Post, “The police, I think, probably didn’t have any option based on what the tour operator reported.” The heck they didn’t, Mike. Their best “option” — indeed, some might even call it a requirement — was the Fourth Amendment and its insistence on a search warrant. Before obtaining that warrant, they would have had to justify endangering an entire busload of tourists to a judge. And the judge would have expected something a dang sight more probable than the fevered imaginations of halfwit employees.

“OK,” you’re saying, “New York’s nuts, and the whole country knows it. So what?”

The essentials of this incident were repeated a few days later, this time in the air and far from New York City. Once again, nervous Nellies alarmed by perfectly normal behavior ratted out their fellow serfs, as the police state so frequently urges us to do; once again, that state joyously jumped to respond. It seems that passengers on United Airlines Flight 934 from Los Angeles to London were scared when three Pakistani men kept pacing the aisle. Says a lot about Americans’ faith in Leviathan’s ludicrous airport screening, doesn’t it? The crew diverted the flight to Boston, where it landed in the middle of the night. The plane was searched (which means screeners had a second shot at molesting everyone aboard, a fitting punishment for snitches), the “suspects” arrested and interrogated. Turns out they were pacing because one of them had been sitting in coach while the other two were in first class, and that made talking difficult.

Martial law thwarts yet another terrorist scheme in the home of the brave.

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.

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