“It was a recipe for disaster… The fact that they started to
conspire to commit illegal actions on the station platform was our concern. I asked myself: If my wife, mother or daughter was on that platform, would I want them to be in that situation?”
-BART Deputy Police Chief Benson Fairow, as quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle, August 13, 2011.
As I discussed last month, I have little sympathy for protestors who disrupt mass transit during rush hour. I support the right of individuals to express their views in front of City Hall or other venues where they do not interfere with the rights of other citizens. Climbing on top of subway trains during the evening commute, and forcing the shutdown of the country’s fifth-busiest rapid transit system is not an appropriate way to make one’s point.
When BART officials learned that the “No Justice, No BART” group was planning to again disrupt operations last Thursday by “[using] mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police,” they decided to switch off the underground cell phone network BART owns and controls.
Naturally, liberals are crying foul, threatening a lawsuit, and pressuring the Federal Communications Commission to investigate.
This outrage would be perfectly understandable if BART officials had electronically jammed another service provider’s cell network. But, they did not. They did not even “ask cell phone providers to shut down towers near stations.” It turns out that “BART owns and controls the wireless network strung through its subways, and BART police ordered it switched off.”
That’s right, protestors are demanding that BART provide a service at its own expense that enables malcontents to organize protests that deny service to customers. The end result is that BART suffers financially.
Someone please explain to me how this logic makes any discernible sense?