Atlantis Alumni

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Bone to Pick w/New York....

Let me offer one or two things up before you start reading: This is laced with some strong language and it is about how much I hate so-called security people in NYC office builings and how they are ineffective, largely useless and are actually trouncing on our rights and rolling back our civil liberties into the stone age. I may or may not succeed in making my point about the above however when you navigate away from my article at least you will know my intentions. It's a rant that has been thought about and considered for almost 7 years.

Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The fourth ammendment is one of my favorite and most cherished ammendments.

I've been holding back on this but I can't anymore. It's just too silly, too ridiculous, too stupid, too wasteful and it takes a giant dump on the Fourth Ammendment.

My job requires that I go to see my customers daily. I enjoy the job and I generally enjoy seeing my customers. I am always invited, I never just show up. My customers are always large companies and typically are in large metropolitan areas like New York City or close by. I can work with just about any customer in the Northeast but I work mostly with customers in NYC.
NYC is a great city as is the State of NY. I can't just say I like New York or the city. My children were born there, I was married there and I have called it home for well over 2 decades. I love the place and I will always love it forever.

What's happened to New York before and since 9/11 is painful to watch. Let me explain:

Before 9/11, security in any building was tight. My picture had been scanned in at the World Trade Center probably 90 times. There were very few, if any buildings you could just stroll up to and walk in. Even public one's required check in first however it was far less than offenive.

Walking into New York City buildings now is like walking into a TSA Stop at an airport except that it is run by individuals far less qualified and far less concerned with your safety. It makes me wonder why I still work in New York.

Walking into any of the buildings in NYC has turned into a stripping of 4th Ammendment rights and is a huge, gigantic statue to the Chicken Little society we have become. Let me speak plainly. New York security people at front desks and as you walk into building are assholes and add about as much safety and security as a well laid jar of your favorite mustard. Ok, not all of them suck, there are at least 3 that aren't total fucking idiots.

Their security actions are inconsistent, incoherent and generally will stop nothing, especially if the attacker happens to be in a fully fueled 727 flying directly at the middle of the building. The people corporations and building management firms have guarding the so-called portals to the "lions of business" in NYC are generally uneducated minimum wage workers.

They don't have the common sense a bouncer has at any ordinary Manhattan club. They are ex-cops earning a couple of extra bucks on pension (that should have stayed retired) or foreigners that speak diddly for English and usually don't have college level reading skills. Most of the security is outsourced, my guess is to the lowest bidder. Some companies x-ray your bags and knowingly nod although they really don't know a goddamn thing about what they are actually looking at. Most companies call upstairs to find the person you are going to see however they almost never get them; the people are never there because they are waiting in the goddamn conference room for your arrival. How about a list of attendees and planned meetings? Is that too much to ask?

Why do I think none of them know what they are doing? Am I an expert? No, but I have a shred of common sense.

I walk into the same company with three different buildings within three blocks of each other and not one of them has the same security procedure. Today some tall mook security guard that had no identification and a blue jacket was standing out in front on the sidewalk of one of these companies and stopped me as I was walking in and asked my business at this company. My response was to tell him I was walking into the building and I don't really give a shit what he does or doesn't want to know. He than started prattling on to one of his cop friends standing near him about the idiot civilians that don't understand real security. I'm supposed to tell my life story to some asshole standing on a NYC street? Fuck him, I was invited here and I'm not even going upstairs, I'm just waiting in the lobby. Not a credential displayed on the loser, he didn't identify himself nor did he help me in my quest to find my customer.

In the same company in an office three blocks down from there I can go stand in the lobby until my head explodes and nobody will care. I have to walk up to the front desk to engage the security staff (and they are typically rude and stupid). They also ask for a different set of credentials, they ask for drivers licenses and state ID's. The highly qualified 20 year old from the Bronx carefully looks at my ID, I am sure she is an expert at identifying forged documents. I am sure she just doesn't display her FBI training or handwriting credentials. I know there are hordes of white, fat, bald guys in $900 suits (like me) clamoring to get into an office in Mid-Town Manhattan with a fake ID. I'm glad the security staff was there to stave off the tide of Islamo Facists and keep all those bad guys at bay.

In that same company in New Jersey I can walk in the lobby and wait around and nobody will care. And if I want to go in I need to have an under-qualified security guy (how do I know they aren't qualified? Well because of how rough they handle my laptop and bag for starters and because they can't speak English.) x-ray my bag and wait for a guy in another location to look at it.

Did I say that I rarely see the same security person twice at the same office or company? Very rare.

Now here's the kicker. If you are an employee or even if you have a badge at ANY one of the companies I have been to (and that would be about a thousand), you can stroll right through with no x-ray, no questions asked. When you hear about violence in a company, is it coming from a visitor or is it coming from someone that is or was inside the company and that knows the procedures, weaknesses and faults?

I swear some of the security people at the front desks are not all there. And I mean there IQ's are well below 100 and I am not embellishing. Some of the procedures I have to go through are completely worthless, they make the people inside feel better but actually serve no purpose. I'm curious, I walked into a very large financial firm last week with a bottle of water yet the TSA says I can't take it on a plane because it might be an explosive. The security in airports is fodder for another article. However if you look at the standards set by the TSA and actual security set up as you walk into a building, they never, ever jibe.

Security is important and is needed. However there are ways to have security that actually makes people secure without stomping on their rights and insulting their intelligence. I've had the benefit of seeing it first hand at some companies that really had to worry about security (such as Tobacco firms) and they did it right. With surveillance, strong command and control structure and infrastructure designed to be flexible enough to not impede business and the fourth ammendment but still ensure the safety of the people inside the building.

If I ask "Well how many bad things have actually been stopped by the rent-a-cops at the front of the building?" Here is what I get to listen to: "Well, it's probably thousands of crimes, we'll just never know because they all have to kept strictly confidential." Fascinating. I feel so much safer. In my experience in very big business the people that hide the metrics are typically the one's that have poor performance. Pretty much every time.

I've asked some of the firms I work with and they've said they need to bow to their security teams and it really depends on the building management. I rarely get a straight answer excpet that they'll get me a building pass so I can stroll through security like an employee.


I've made a few queries and was told (under the table) that the thought by the scumbag outsourced security firms is that this is "private property" and that the Bill of Rights more or less doesn't apply.

My concern is that my rights are violated every time I walk into a building. I was invited by my customers and I walk in as a strict law abiding American with the Bill of Rights behind, beside and in front of me.

I am tired of sacrificing my freedoms in the name of security. Hopefully the moron/rank amatuer security guy on 7th Avenue today will never lose his 4th ammendment rights either, he probably wouldn't know that they were gone anyway.


PS I took the shot at the top of a Tiki I saw in San Diego. I didn't need to go through any security to see it either. It was just out there. Anyone could have taken it but nobody did. Go figure.

PSS I know the 4th Ammendment applies to Government search and seizure. Let's face it; a right to privacy is something every American expects and demands. My privacy shouldn't be decided by the lowest bidder in a real estate security contract.

PSSS One more thing to think about, when we have this vast tract of high quality security folks deciding on who gets in and who doesn't with no oversight and no continuity (at the lowest cost per bid) how long does anyone think it will be before we have corporate entrances for staff, entrances for people that look "ok" and people that are questionable and may not fit in? Who fits that criteria and who decides?

How long before discrimation becomes privatized and outsourced?

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