View Full Version : Penn Station Evacuated After Bomb Threat

Law & Order
July 25th, 2005, 06:29 AM

July 25th, 2005, 07:30 AM
We were walking north on Broadway through Times Square when this occurred. All pedestrian traffic was diverted at 48th St onto 7th Ave. What made the event surreal was that there was a street fair along 7th Ave, and except for the yellow tape and police officers blocking the side streets, hardly anyone seemed to care what was going on a block away.

July 25th, 2005, 11:32 AM
If you think there is never profiling when humans are doing the picking and choosing then you do not know much... ;)

It is not possible not to profile.

But, quite honestly, a guy getting on the bus in the summer with a winter jacket and looking a bit nervous might be more of a profile that would fit a potential threat.

But how do you start making the choices, the observational trends that will delineate a higher risk probability without being so narrow in focus that you do not see someone that does not fit your pre-determined profiles?

And how do you get the evrey day citizen to see them?

You can't. So we will always have people thinking that being a minority makes you more prone to crime, or being a muslim makes you more likely to be a bomber rather than the other way (That the bombers were muslim, not that muslims were bombers...).

But where is the line drawn? And who should be drawing it?

July 25th, 2005, 11:11 PM
Racial profiling doesn't bother me that much, because I can understand how certain people cannot control their anxiety when they identify someone whose appearance resembles that of a terrorist/suicide bomber. Of course it's unfair to the 99.9999% of the people of that culture/ethnicity who are innocent, but God knows, people are "profiled" based on their appearance everyday. There are people who will always be identified as "nerds" or "jocks" or "homosexual" or "potheads" just because of how they dress and look. Whether they turn out that way is not always the case. Profiling is a habit most people can't shake, whether it be subconscious or fully conscious. I do agree, however, that claiming to avoid profiling in security checks is absurd, but then again, you do see 70 year-old grandmothers with hearing aids and 6 year-olds with their teddy bears also being stopped and searched occasionally.
Getting back to what I was gonna say...What really bothers me is people like this guy at Penn Station. What nerve and utter disregard for common sense, of all things. Why would you ever, ever claim to have a bomb in a train station, especially these days. Funny, isn't it. How after all the nerve gas bombings in Tokyo, the Chechnyan attacks in Moscow, and even the Madrid train bombings - it's only after London is attacked that New York, and indeed most other U.S. cities, start taking truly serious measures at mass transit security.

July 26th, 2005, 08:43 AM
He was a crack addicted ass that should have been beaten to hell by "concerned fellow travelers".

I am not in for drastic measures like shooting him on the spot, lest I would feel nervous walking through any large station for fear of doing anything that someone having a bad day would construe as being a threat, but a little "societal reconing" is good from time to time.

July 27th, 2005, 07:08 AM
July 27, 2005
How the Fear of Terror Itself Fueled a Tour Bus False Alarm

By KAREEM FAHIM (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=KAREEM FAHIM&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=KAREEM FAHIM&inline=nyt-per) and WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM&inline=nyt-per)
The concerns over a possible terror attack on a New York city tour bus emerged just before noon on Sunday, when a supervisor with Gray Line, the bus company, approached a police captain in Midtown Manhattan to tell him that five suspicious men had just boarded one of the company's famous red double-decker buses, No. 320.

The captain had been in the area - at Broadway and 51st Street - investigating one of the hundreds of suspicious-package calls that the police have received since the bombings in London on July 7. On that call, the police found a discarded computer box they eventually discovered was filled with rocks. Dozens of officers, some of them wearing heavy body armor and holding automatic weapons, had arrived, and cordoned off part of Broadway.

According to the police, the Gray Line supervisor told the captain that the five men had aroused the concerns of a Gray Line ticket agent at the Waldorf-Astoria, where the men had boarded bus 320. The ticket agent, the police said, had told the supervisor that the men had purchased their tickets in advance; that they carried backpacks; and that they wore something else - perhaps fanny packs - that caused bulges to appear around their waists.

As the supervisor told his story, the captain spotted the bus, five blocks away, heading south on Broadway, toward the spot where the two men were speaking. As bus 320 cruised toward them, the captain directed the driver to the cordoned-off area, where a tense search took place.

The emerging details of the incident in and around Times Square, provided chiefly by the police, have begun to shape a fuller picture of what became a wild scene at one of New York's busiest tourist attractions: police officers ordering tourists to put their hands up, bomb-sniffing dogs climbing aboard the bus, and five men who appeared to be South Asian winding up handcuffed and lined up in a row on their knees. They were questioned and then released.

And what has followed has been almost equally striking: a public apology by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who defended the police, but criticized the Gray Line employees for overreacting, a message that for some has raised questions about just what a public frightened by terrorism is supposed to do with what they feel are legitimate worries.

Yesterday, Mr. Bloomberg maintained his position, and told New Yorkers calling in their suspicions, "please don't embellish what the facts are." This was important, Mr. Bloomberg said, because the police respond to such threats with frightening force, and in the case of the five men who were detained on Sunday, he said, such a response had been "unwarranted."

A spokesman for Gray Line, Lee Schissler, said the company also was holding its ground: "Our employees did what we want them to do. They reported suspicious activity." The employee who first reported his suspicions about the five men had undergone basic training on how to spot such suspicious activity, Mr. Schissler said.

"Hindsight is 20/20. What if there was something, and we hadn't said anything?" he said, and added that Gray Line would not provide details of what any of its employees might have said to the police, including whether anyone said that the five men were carrying bags.

After the bus had stopped, police officers told all the passengers to raise their hands, get off the bus and bring all their belongings with them, according to Paul J. Browne, a police spokesman. The passengers, he said, were directed to the exit one-by-one.

But the five men, who turned out to be British tourists, left the bus empty-handed. "That's when the decision was made to take them aside and flex-cuff them," Mr. Browne said, referring to plastic handcuffs. "And that's when the decision was made to have the Emergency Service Unit board the bus to determine whether they had left explosive devices behind."

The officers then searched the bus, and dogs sniffed for explosives. Nothing was found, said Mr. Browne. The five men had been separated from the other passengers and questioned, he said. The other passengers were also searched lightly, and their bags were lined up across Broadway for the bomb-sniffing dogs.

"The police officers acted appropriately based on the information they were given," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said yesterday.

One police official, however, raised questions about how the officers at the scene handled the incident, noting that there seemed little point to handcuffing the men and lining them up on their knees on the sidewalk along Broadway. The men should have been separated and interviewed before being handcuffed, the official said, in order to better determine exactly who they were and what was happening.

Mr. Browne responded that events had unfolded quickly, and that the block where the bus and its passengers had been detained turned into a mess of tourists and restaurant patrons and moviegoers.

The detention of the five men has barely rippled the diplomatic waters. Mr. Bloomberg telephoned the British consul general in New York, Sir Philip Thomas, and apologized for the arrests. The two men discussed the common threats faced by the United States and Britain, according to a spokeswoman for Sir Philip.

"There are no easy answers to all of this," said John F. Timoney, the chief of police in Miami who served as first deputy commissioner in New York.

"Particularly in cities like London and New York that have been hit," he added, "the anxiety level is higher than normal. When someone calls in, the assumption is that the person calling has more information and the cops are going to respond accordingly."

Ninety minutes after Gray Line employees raised their alarm, the ordeal was over, and the five men were released. They checked out of their hotel, the Marriott East Side, on Monday morning, said a receptionist at the hotel. They then continued on their vacation.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

Law & Order
July 27th, 2005, 05:22 PM
Image from that article-


Law & Order
July 28th, 2005, 07:30 PM

July 29th, 2005, 12:23 AM
Oops! We made a litlle mistake... sorry... have a nice visit.

Another blow to International tourism in NY.