Editorial: The practical fight

Photo Mar 19, 2 12 14 PM
A police officer stands guard at the scene of a shooting on East 92nd Street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn on March 19, 2022.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

In the wake of last week’s Brooklyn subway shooting, some in the press and the public floated the idea of installing metal detectors at station entrances.

We’re all for ensuring a safe public transit system and a safe city — but there’s a fine line between the practical and impractical, and the idea of forcing tens of thousands of commuters through metal detectors every day borders on the absurd.

Think about the agonizing wait air travelers endure when boarding a flight at a major airport in this post-9/11 world. On average, travelers have to get to the airport three hours ahead of their flight time because they know a good chunk of their time will be spent on line going through the necessary hassle of TSA checks.

But almost all New Yorkers don’t fly to work every day, and they don’t have the time to wait long minutes or even hours to get into their subway stations. If anything, being forced to endure metal detectors or similar thorough safety checks would dissuade commuters from using the subways. 

The practical answer toward boosting security and safety in the subway system comes down to increasing patrols and ensuring that the intricate network of security cameras in the subways are in good working order 24/7.

What the increased patrols and cameras will do is help reinstate a sense of security at a time when subway ridership remains a great deal off from what it was before the pandemic. It will help deter the everyday criminal and make them think twice about doing something stupid or dangerous in the system.

Beyond that, last week’s mass shooting also serves as yet another reminder of the troubling prevalence of gun violence in not just New York, but most every city in America.

Too many guns are coming into the city illegally in spite of New York state’s stringent gun laws. That’s because the federal government has been unable to enact new, tougher legislation that would cut off the “iron pipeline” of firearms being funneled into New York and other cities from other parts of the country with lax gun laws.

All who care about public safety and law enforcement need to wake up to what’s practical and do it. The impracticality of stubborn politicians who are in the gun lobby’s pockets are hurting our city, and they must either come to their senses and support meaningful reform — or be replaced by practical lawmakers in the next election.