Friday, July 08, 2005

The Day after London

On the train this morning it's very quiet, with fewer people riding than usual. You'll hear one or two people talking about the "Attack on London" which of course leads to discussions about 9/11, but for the most part people are sitting quietly. The hum of the air conditioning, track noise and engine is interupted by the conductor, who beside making the normal station announcements, is also making a new one every ten minutes or so. "Please keep all personal belongings with you at all times. If you see anything that looks suspious please inform the conductor or a sheriffs officer immediately."  This announcement was put in to circulation after the Madrid attack in march, but had seemingly fallen out of popularity and use. After the announcement is made, people are gathering their things closer to them. I carry a laptop bag and a backpack every day I have them right next to me, as to make sure there is no doubt that their mine. I kind of expect to get stopped and checked just because of their size, and I'll be happy to do so when asked.

It's visible that security is higher. Instead of the normal metrolink marshalls checking for tickets, there are sheriffs offices doing sweeps of the cars after every stop. It's evident that they aren't worried about train ticket infractions. If you punched your ten trip or not seems kind of trivial today. At Union Station the security is even more evident. There are two sheriffs, or police offices at the end of each platform. Since the Madrid attack, there were always two to four on the platforms, but now each platform has it's own pair of officers. Its made even more poingant by the fact that some of them are wearing their tactical uniforms. There is also a K9 Unit, but that isn't exactly new. It's been showing up from time to time for a while now, so I wasn't surprised to see it. On the ride in to work yesterday I saw several police cars driving along the tracks inspecting them.

Talking with my Brother J this morning on the train ride in, he heard one of the "belongings" announcements over the phone and asked what that was about. So I told him about the announcment and the increased security. He said that he had seen that the homeland security warning for public transportation had changed to orange. He said knowing that made me feel better about me taking the train. I know my Beautiful Wife feels the same way. I asked her yesterday if she was nervous about me taking the train. She said "No, I think it will be okay". I think seeing the news this morning that shows all the added security made her feel better too.

It's interesting to look at the faces of my fellow passengers. They are reading and looking around, but you can see that the Attack is somethinng that we are all thinking about. I've talked with a couple people, and it's interesting to see the differences in attitudes. Some people are nervous, but the increased security seems to calm their fears. While other people felt it was there duty to be on the train today. One gentleman I talked with even said "Don't give them an inch, if you die on the train, you die on the train."  He felt that his keeping his normal routine was a personal affront to the people who launched the attacks on London. All I know is I need to get to work on time, and I still rather take the train than drive in L.A. traffic.

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