Excessive Yawning?

Metronews this morning ran an article highlighting the MTA’s new training program that is supposed to teach their “frontline” workers to spot terrorists. First off… this is a NEW program? You are training your conductors to spot terrorists NOW?! Now after 6+ years of threats to the system the conductors are being taught how to spot suspicious persons? Boy do I feel safe. The article goes on to outline some of the training that these workers are receiving, besides spotting potential threats they are being taught communication skills for crisis situations, and how to spot a suspicious package. My favorite part though is the brief outline of “suspicious activity” that they should be on the lookout for: “visible shaking, hand wiping, and excessive yawning.” Yawning? What… terrorists don’t sleep well? Two thirds of my car every morning on the way to work is yawning! I know that these aren’t the only things that they were taught, but why focus on those three in the news article? And I still don’t get what yawning is supposed to indicate, if anything.

I think articles like this are supposed to reassure me that the MTA is dealing with the issue, but they tend to have the opposite effect. Like the news announcement a few weeks back that 1,944 “saw something and said something” in response to their last SubTalk ad campaign urging us to rat out suspicious behavior ourselves. 1,944? That’s all? Less than 2,000 people made reports to that hotline in a year? Is it doing it’s job? If it was 1,944 people arrested as a result… or 1,944 plots foiled… or 1,944 bombs found… but no, just 1,944 reports. None of which to my knowledge led to any arrests or any reportable benefits. Like the bag searching security theatre (that has never once stopped me, even when I was carrying a bag the size of a cello case) all of these news reports amount to nothing but reminding me that I am supposed to be scared and suspicious of my fellow riders, and that the MTA will ignore us all.

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