Sunday, February 7, 2010

MARSEC1! MARSEC1!

Back home after 26 days on the road in an amazing trip that took me to Hawaii for two weeks with the family and then on to South Africa and New York City for work.  Retunred on Friday to see all of the Olympic preparations underway in Vancouver.  The airport was becoming zoo-like, with the usual exits blocked off and taxis and things diverted to other places.  Olympic lanes are in place downtown in Vancouver and the cabbies are unhappy because they aren't allowed to use them or pull into them to drop off or pick up passengers.  To do so risks a $120 ticket.  Seems harsh.

On arriving in Horseshoe Bay on Friday evening I was greeted to more security shenanigans.  There is a sign at the ticket booth reporting that the current security level is MARSEC1.  When I asked a security guard what that meant he told me that it stood for "Marine Security Level 1" which, he said, we are always at.  I rolled my eyes.  Is this really necessary?  Why do I now need to be told the name of a made up security level that has apparently remained unchanged since the Second World War ended?  This strikes me as strangely alarmist.  What is to be gained from this?

There seemed to be some incident unfolding at the ferry terminal as well in which an Islander was detained for complaining about the ticket cut off time and then further detained when he took a picture of the security guard who prevented him from boarding the Cap home.  So the theatre escalates.  I saw none of this silliness in either South Africa or the United States, bar the usual "security threat level orange" announcements that have been playing in US airports since September 12, 2001.  I feel neither safer nor less safe than before.  But all of this does feel a hell of a lot more patronizing.

Hopefully after the Games are over we can all go back to being adults again.