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Who created climate of fear on transit?

If transit security in the nation's capital had not been heightened over the past decade, then I, along with every other rider, would be outraged. In fact, I'm confident that Metro and various law enforcement agencies took many reasonable steps to protect us.

As Meyers illustrates, the consequences of terror attacks on travelers are horrific, and failure to pay attention would be folly. At the same time, travelers make choices every day based on what they consider reasonable. As a longtime rider, I recognize the terrible potential of an attack on Metro, but if I thought I was going to get blown up, I wouldn't get on the train.

Every traveler - every citizen of this republic - has a right to ask whether it's reasonable to have an armed representative of the government randomly stop travelers engaged in nothing more sinister than trying to catch a train and ask to examine their property.

So far, Metro's leaders have not offered a convincing explanation of why this particular measure, carried out by a handful of police at a few stations among the 86, is a reasonable exchange of our privacy for the possibility of protection.

Metro did not discuss this with its riders, the people most directly affected, before setting up the police checkpoints in December.

The public will get its first chance to engage in such a discussion at a special meeting of the Metro Riders' Advisory Council called for 6:30 p.m. Monday on the lobby level of Metro headquarters, 600 Fifth St. NW, in the District. The council has invited the transit police to explain the policy.

Dr. Gridlock also appears Thursday in Local Living. Comments and questions are welcome and may be used in a column, along with the writer's name and home community. Write to Dr. Gridlock at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. By e-mail: drgridlock@washpost.com. His blog: washingtonpost.com/drgridlock. On Twitter: drgridlock.


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