If you love taking your shoes off at the airport, you're going to enjoy the new era in anti-terrorism—post-Paris attacks and after the massacre in San Bernardino this week, it's occurred to the LAPD and other law enforcers that terrorists could be interested in attacking places besides airports, tall buildings, and Disneyland. According to an LA Times story published shortly after the Paris attacks, "Authorities are now broadening their view of seemingly ordinary locations where the masses gather. Bus and railway stations, malls, event venues — they are now perceived to be on par with the Rose Bowl and Dodger Stadium when it comes to risk assessment." Now, following San Bernardino, TMZ of all places reports the LAPD is paying "special attention" to Cedars-Sinai and the neighboring Beverly Center, and Lake Hollywood near the Hollywood Sign (as if the cranky neighbors up there aren't nasty enough to outsiders).
The LAPD is also taking extra care at Justin Bieber concerts, movie theaters, and public transit hubs. But a "terrorism expert"/senior advisor to the president of Rand Corporation, *which provides defense research for the US military and the kinds of companies that stand to make a lot of money off of the fearmongering that leads to escalations in law enforcement, asks "Can we protect all the soft targets in L.A.?" and concludes "No, realistically." He says the key is making the public comfortable with snitching, while also convincing them not to just freak out about every person who seems like they could be Muslim.
That's the kind of advice that LAPD officers apparently hate to hear; TMZ says "LAPD cops have been told not to single out Muslims in their hunt for terrorists," which one cop says is "a huge problem for us." Apparently they're only allowed to harass people who appear Middle Eastern if they're doing something "that arouses real suspicion," which is "a huge concern" for officers on the notoriously racist force.
Meanwhile, in Congress, Senate Republicans—flush with NRA cash—voted yesterday against closing a loophole that allows people on terror watch lists to buy guns and explosives.
· L.A. ON HIGH ALERT Cops Warned ... DON'T MESS WITH MIDDLE EASTERNERS [TMZ]
· After Paris, LAPD sees terror risk shifting across the city [LAT]
· U.S. Senate debates gun control after California shooting, but no action taken [Reuters]