Thursday, March 23, 2006

So that's what those were

Twice in the past couple months, I've watched a couple dozen NYPD cars hurtling through the city, sirens and lights in full effect. Both times, I kept an eye on local news outlets to see what the cause had been, but nothing ever manifested itself.

Now, via cityrag (via Gothamist), it appears that these things were regular NYPD drills. Good to know, I suppose, although part of me is skeptical that these shows of force might just be Giulianian prick-waving.

If I sound pissy, it's because I am. During last months episode, I was on the Upper West Side, and while I was walking down Broadway, I could hear a whole lot of sirens in the distance. I also walked past a building that was clearly being guarded by several police officers in black assault-type gear, including helmets. They also carried some serious firepower _ submachine guns and assault rifles. One of the officers with a submachine gun was holding the muzzle in such a way that I would have had to walk in front of it. I stopped and looked at the officer, who continued staring straight ahead. Based on what I assumed were some serious game faces on everyone's face, I weighed the likelihood of getting hassled for what would likely embarrass an officer in front of colleagues, I decided to just keep walking.

Clearly, I was wearing my Bad Idea Jeans. Although the only consequence was that I berated myself for the rest of the day for not asking the officer to handle his weapon in a safer way, even in the midst what I assumed was a legitimate cause for concern. Now that I know it was just a drill, I'm even more pissed. I don't own a gun. I never have. I've never shot one regularly, but I've handled enough of them to know that there's one absolute rule of gun safety, and this guy was violating it.

I should have spoken up. It's one of the few times since Sept. 11 that I've screwed up like that. And unlike oh, say 51 percent or so of the country, I haven't made deference to power and fear a guiding principle. But reading about this again has gotten me all mad at myself again. And made me a little more vigilant about "Security Mom Creep" in my own worldview.

As a final insulting coda, it's interesting to know that these drills, if that's indeed what I experienced, were instituted in the run-up to the Republicans Sept. 11 grave-dance here in 2004.

1 comment:

Flop said...

I'd like to point out that I had previously encountered scenes with the dozens of police cars parked in one area, but I hadn't witnessed the perfectly-ordered streams of police cars on their way to wherever it was before December or January.