'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Very Interresstting 

As Sergeant Schultz used to say on Hogan's Heroes. From the SF Appeal:

1:56 PM: A tipster who works in the Sutter/Grant area says their "managers informed us that there was a suspicious package outside Charles Schwab." We're still working to get confirmation on these and other details.

1:58 PM: A tipster says "It is a bomb scare. The SF Bomb Squad is using two robotic devices and have removed a small blue bag out of the newspaper stand on the corner of Post at Kearny, right in front of the new Charles Schwab building."

2:05 PM: A tipster confirms the other reports we've received, saying "The bomb squad is currently investigating a newspaper stand near the corner of Post and Kearny. The area is closed off and they are using robots."

2:19 PM: Tipsters in the area are saying that it "Looks like it might be all over" and that "the robots are being put away and people are being allowed back on the streets."

2:39 PM: BCN says that:

At about 1 p.m., someone saw a man placing a package into a news rack at the intersection of Post and Kearny streets, San Francisco police spokesman Sgt. Wilfred Williams said.

The witness approached some firefighters who were in the area on an unrelated call, and the firefighters contacted police, Williams said...

Shortly after 2 p.m., police determined the package was harmless and the area was reopened to traffic. Williams said the item placed in the news rack was a shopping bag. It contained some items but none that posed a threat, he said.

Given that earlier this afternoon, another bomb scare was prompted by an empty suitcase left near a State Building elevator, one could assume that authorities are a little jumpy. Probably a bad day to leave your laundry on BART.

3:00 PM: MTA spokesperson Judson True says that the Muni lines in the area (the 30 Stockton, 45 Union and 9X Bayshore Express) are back on their regular schedules. Whew! Everything's OK. Is it safe to start making jokes like "this is the most action those newspaper stands have gotten in years!" yet?

Am I the only person that considers this unusual? Don't at least a few people leave bags and packages around in odd places in large cities without resulting in the arrival of the bomb squad? After all, San Francisco has a lot of homeless people, people who store things and dispose of things in a manner quite foreign to middle class sensibilities, and, of course, people misplace things, even suitcases, and forget them fairly often. I can't help but wonder, has the Department of Homeland Security, state or federal, issued a terror advisory to local law enforcement? For example, look at what is happening across the border in Mexico these days. Or, maybe, I've just got it all backwards, and this happens all the time in our post-9/11 world.

UPDATE: Perhaps, it has something to do with the Obama administration's insistance that Congress must act promptly to reauthorize surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act?

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