Mass Transit Will Never Be Safe (Sorry)

Mass transit will never be safe from terrorism, so it's not worth worrying about. You can't keep bombs off trains, buses, and subways and still expect them to function properly. It's best not to even contemplate the following statistics.

A new review of mass transit safety by USA Today concludes that (spoiler) we are all going to die one day, and that "day" may well include you, a subway train, and a mad terrorist bomber. That's just the way life is. One researcher says that security screening a single transit passenger costs $8 to $10, meaning that unless you're okay with paying $12 subway fares, our mass transit system will never really be "safe," in the sense of "100% of passengers have had their genitals fondled before boarding." Still, we can take comfort in the fact that terrorists tend to focus their attention exclusively on the well-protected airline industry.

There were 213 attacks on subways and trains from Jan. 1, 2005, through June 30, 2010, compared with 197 attacks on aircraft and airports.

In the subway and rail attacks, 700 were killed, 3,262 wounded and 3,114 taken hostage. In the aircraft and airport attacks, 238 were killed, 937 were wounded and 281 were taken hostage. The statistics include March suicide bombings that killed 40 people in the Moscow subway system but do not include a 2004 attack in Madrid that killed 191 after 10 bombs exploded on four trains.

I mean... we can take comfort in the fact that terrorists haven't shown much interest in mass transit hubs like New York City.

[USAT. Photo: Tony Biondo]