See something, pay something
Ever since the Rahami case, people having been saying something when they've been seeing something. It's what we've been asked to do for years. This of course comes at a cost. When someone discards a backpack or a package in an unlikely place or leaves a suitcase unattended for a half hour in an airport, authorities are called in. There's a cost associated with that. In Ridgewood last week a train station was shut down when something suspicious was spotted and the Bergen County bomb squad was called out. Think about not only the man-hours this cost, but the train station being evacuated and shut down for an hour and a half. So there's indirect cost, too.
Now Assemblyman Jon Bramnick is thinking of legislation that could require fines and other penalties for leaving a package, a bag, a box at an airport or a train station. Even if it were left there by accident. "We want people to be more responsible because the costs to society and to individual people when you leave something at the airport unattended is substantial," says Bramnick.
Is it a good idea? On one hand, I see where he's coming from. Make people think twice about what they're doing, where they're leaving things, to cut down on all the false alarms that are costing us money as a society and spreading our resources thing. On the other hand, will this make those who see something less likely to report it because they'll start thinking about the poor fool who probably just left something innocent behind getting stuck paying something? I realize the intent of the bill, but if in even a roundabout way it could discourage the reporting of a suspicious item it's not worth it. I also have to question if someone were so dense as to leave a suitcase unattended in an airport while they wandered off to a Dunkin Donuts line, would they even have the possibility of a $200 fine register with them? Is it worth talking about? Sure. But I have a lot of reservations about fines for unattended bags.
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