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BART Keeps Cell Service Despite Protests 196

Okian Warrior writes "After taking heat from the ACLU and being hacked by Anonymous for shutting down cellphone service to four stations last week, BART kept cell service on during Monday's protests. Officials at Bay Area Rapid Transit decided Monday that cutting cellphone service to thwart another planned protest would cause more trouble than the protests themselves. Instead, four stations were temporarily closed, creating a chaotic rush-hour commute."
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BART Keeps Cell Service Despite Protests

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  • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @03:54PM (#37110922)
    What a bunch of babies... dealing with protests by first cutting off people's ability to communicate, then when people get annoyed by THAT, they just shut stations completely? Then again this is an organization that looks out for its own and is not comfortable being questioned.. so not too surprising.
  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @03:58PM (#37111006)

    dealing with protests by first cutting off people's ability to communicate, then when people get annoyed by THAT, they just shut stations completely?

    Eh, I can't blame them for closing stations, considering that the stations they closed had protestors on the tracks, blocking trains from leaving. Which was a pretty stupid way to protest anyway since you're just going to piss off the other commuters, people who could have been on your side. Now all they'll remember is how those stupid protestors screwed made them late for work or late getting home (bearing in mind that they were already disrupting service).

  • Shut it all off! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:00PM (#37111032)
    If I has been in charge of BART this weekend (and I was up in the Bay Area during this) I would have shut the whole courtesy BART cell phone repeater system down and told the EFF and the ACLU to take a flying f'ing leap into the bay. There is NOTHING in the Constitution about freedom of speech that says that you have to assist demonstrators in shutting down your system. BART exists to move people efficiently in a city with too many cars, too much pollution, and never enough parking. The demonstrators are a bunch of loonies who want to be part of an Anonymous based action and have no right to even be on BART's private property for that purpose. If BART directors actually had a spine that wasn't broken down by too much bending down to Political Correctness they wouldn't have these issues. This is something to be sorted out in the courts, not on the streets - unless you really want to become Egypt. Personally, I don't.
  • by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:00PM (#37111038)

    Cutting off cell service? Why? Because people never protested or rioted before the existence of cell phones?

    Can someone explain the logic?

  • by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:03PM (#37111082)

    And if anyone had a heart attack on a train this weekend, and no one was able to call for assistance, you would have been charged with criminal negligence and sent to prison.

  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:08PM (#37111144)

    And if anyone had a heart attack on a train this weekend, and no one was able to call for assistance, you would have been charged with criminal negligence and sent to prison.

    A Red Herring fallacy [] if there ever was one.

  • by jdunn14 ( 455930 ) <[jdunn] [at] []> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:11PM (#37111188) Homepage


    The BART cell phone repeater system has only been in place for a few years as a courtesy to riders. There are still emergency phones in stations (along with employees who have access to land lines) and the train conductors have the ability to call for assistance as well. People have built systems for calling for help in emergencies for decades before cell phones existed.

  • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:21PM (#37111358) Homepage
    But how far can this logic take us? Let's just shut off water and electricity to the properties of people we don't like. Nothing in the constitution that says they have a right to be able to purchase those services. IMO at some point, conveniences become widespread enough that we start to rely on them, and the providers of that service can then exact control over us by restricting or controlling this service, which previous to our reliance might not have mattered so much.
  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:40PM (#37111604) Homepage

    Did you not read the headline of the story you linked? "Bart shooting video shows thrown knife, but not threat man posed."

    BART police arrive on the platform in response to a call of a man being too drunk to stand. Within 30 seconds of arriving on the platform, they had shot the man to death -- apparently, for being drunk and mouthing off to police.

    Apparently the man was belligerent, apparently he had a weapon, and he threw the weapon at them. What did the officers think he was -- a circus knife-thrower? Was he planning to pin the officers to the wall with knives, maybe? He was apparently too drunk to walk straight, so maybe he was planning to do that with his hand over one eye?

    But hold on -- according to the story you linked, the man wasn't considered a threat because he threw a knife at police. He threw a bottle. I'd hardly call that a threat to the officers' lives. They say the bottle cut them. Well, show me the hospital report or boo fucking hoo.

    But let's say he did throw a knife. Is that when you decide you have no recourse but to shoot a guy -- after he's thrown away his weapon? If he'd just tossed it down on the ground, presumably they would have still screamed "he's got a knife!!" and shot him?

    But no -- the truth is, according to the very story you linked, the suspect didn't even throw the knife until after the officer shot him. If a belligerent police officer came out of nowhere and started shooting at you -- remember, police had arrived on the platform less than 30 seconds ago -- might not you also try to to defend yourself?

    How did any of this happen? Did the officer not have time to say "halt"? Or "drop your weapon"? The drunk man, who was reported as being too drunk to stand and too drunk to walk straight, was such a threat to the officers' lives that even though they were armed and wearing body armor, as soon as they him, they realized they had just 24 seconds to shoot him dead?

    And perhaps the most pertinent question: Why did they choose their firearms instead of their tasers? When Johannes Mehserle murdered Oscar Grant by shooting him in the back while Grant was face down on the ground and handcuffed, Mehserle's excuse was that he mistook his firearm for his taser. Many, many law enforcement experts came forward to say that this was highly unlikely, as officers are required to keep their taser and their handgun on opposite sides of their bodies. Mistaking the two would be tantamount to mistaking your own left hand for your right. Now this other officer chooses to draw his handgun and use lethal force on an inebriated suspect, while his taser sits in his holster, unused. That's an interesting coincidence, don't you think?

    I've always thought it was interesting, too, that BART police officers seem to carry 2-3 extra magazines on their belts when patrolling trains. Just how many shots do they expect to have to get off on an occupied train or inside a subway platform, anyway? 45?

    Might it not be that BART police training encourages officers to use their firearms as the first line of defense? And that BART needs to answer to this pattern of behavior by its police force? But that it chooses not to answer, because its police force is not answerable to any city's mayor or city council, and in fact is answerable to no organization but BART itself? And therefore the public's only real recourse is civic unrest?

    I'm just floating the possibility out there.

  • by JordanL ( 886154 ) <> on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @04:47PM (#37111694) Homepage
    And this is why protesting the US never made it past the "I want to be heard!" stage in the 70s. Active protesters in the US don't even see their goal as changing anything, they see their goal as protesting.

    Protesting doesn't actually accomplish anything productive. It is a means to an end. That end never comes if you don't effectively convey your actual message to people in a way that asks them to consider if they agree.

    In other words, I am not saying you are wrong, I am saying you are missing the point. If your goal is to protest, then by all means, your logic is sound. If your goal is to change something, your logic may be sound or unsound. It is entirely up to the people receiving the message if your logic is sound. If you are comfortable leaving it up to them, then fine. But keep in mind that it you, the protester, who has the message that is trying to be disseminated. You are the one with the passion and the information. You must accept that it is then your responsibility to communicate that in a way that others can effectively receive.

    Protesting for the sake of protesting hasn't been effective at any kind of institutional or long-term change for decades. Why people continue to think it is productive is beyond me. If you are truly passionate about your message, actually go out on a limb and put in real effort. Any idiot with a sign can protest, but not any protester can be a Gandhi. You have to choose to commit yourself to your goal to do that, and speaking frankly, most protesters (like most people in general) are not willing to invest that much of themselves in committing to something that doesn't directly benefit them.
  • by newcastlejon ( 1483695 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2011 @05:05PM (#37111928)

    " What is the primary purpose of BART? " To serve the peoples transportation need; which includes cell phones and data connection.


    One of these things is not like the others.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." -- Will Rogers