Random security checks?
So it’s been a very long while since I’ve blogged. I have written many entries in my head, it’s just finding the time to get them out of my head that’s been a problem lately. (Kind of like the voices). Anyway, the two snazzy ladies who drive this ship have had some stuff going on lately so I decided that I should step up and be a team player.
We’ll start with the big, scary-looking men trolling through my train yesterday toting machine guns. I was on the Red line, going north, and stopped at Lindbergh at about 4:45 yesterday afternoon. The train operator got on the intercom and announced that the police would be performing a random security check as part of an ongoing effort to maintain our safety (or something like that). I was expecting some regular old MARTA cops to do a quick walk-through. Not so much. One of the guys was in full riot-gear, minus the car-windshield-on-a-handle thingy. Seriously, the dude had on a helmet, a machine gun slung over his shoulder, a handgun strapped to his leg, body armor, and a look on his face that said “I will kill you with my bare hands and totally not let it ruin my day.” And he was wearing army green. I think that the green uniform was almost more alarming than the machine gun. The other two men looked like Atlanta Police but were decked out in really big bullet-proof vests. Two men boarded the train and walked down the aisle checking all of us out while the other two walked at the same pace along the outside of the train, looking in the widows at the alarmed faces staring back at them. I started thinking about Brian Nichols and how he took MARTA to escape from the courthouse down near Five Points. I admit to have a flair for the dramatic but I don’t think that there have been many times in my life when I seriously thought that I might not make it home. I recalled that I’ve been riding MARTA to school for four days a week for the past 14 months and have yet to see or hear about any kind of random security check.
CCT is my usual “what the hell’s going on with the trains today” point of contact. But since she’s home in VA dealing with some family stuff I needed to come up with a Plan B. This person needed to possess some in-depth knowledge of guns, danger, and why that one dude was wearing green. Dare I say that I actually came up with someone who might know more about these things than CCT. I texted my friend Mike, also known as The Straightest Guy I Know. He was in the Army for six years, two of which were spent in combat in Iraq, he’s a trained sniper, got hurt several times fighting bad guys, and is still pretty funny and an all-around nice guy. He thought that the man in green was likely SWAT. He surmised that it was either a hostage situation or a bomb threat. Just like that, as if he was telling me that he was thinking about grilling some steaks for dinner that night. Yes, there is a reason why people like Mike put themselves in harm’s way for their country while I am afraid of spiders.
So the whole thing only lasted about 3 minutes, unless you count the two officers who stayed on my car with us until we reached North Springs. People started getting freaked out, a few folks called loved ones, and some women across the aisle started talking about the probability of this whole thing actually being random. One of them believed that it was and stated that she had seen some officers with police dogs at Five Points a few days earlier performing random checks. I had to put in my two cents by mentioning that I was a frequent rider and had never seen anything like this before. I think that I was just kind of angry. I felt like MARTA was lying to me. It was as though they were deciding for me if I was emotionally stable enough to handle unpleasant news about my safety and their decision was “no.”
So did anyone else have any similar experiences yesterday? How did the scary men with machine guns make you feel? Safer? Suspicious? Irritated that you weren’t going to make it home before traffic got really bad?