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In the Land of the Free, We Fight "Terrorists"

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Old September 14th 03, 09:25 PM
Jerome Bibuld
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Default In the Land of the Free, We Fight "Terrorists"

Dear Relatives, Friends and Associates in the World of Chess:

Heil Dubya!

When I was in the sixth grade, I had a teacher, Mrs. Wilson, who used to tell
us how wonderful it was to live in the United States. her favorite reason was
that, while people had to carry identification at all times in other countries,
we could walk the streets with no identification at all and, as long as we were
peaceful, we were safe from governmental interference. Oh, well, tempus fugit.

Infringement of Human Rights and False Arrest in Grand Central Station

On Wednesday morning, 10 September, I went to New York, as I do almost every
Wednesday, to coach S. S., a dear friend, in chess. This is one of the small
pleasures of my life, particularly because my friend is 97 years old and keeps
alive in me the hope that I shall be as vital as she, if and when I reach my
98th year.

I planned to stop in Mount Vernon, on my way back, to visit another friend, so
I purchased three tickets at the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) station
in White Plains, where I live: one from White Plains to Grand Central Terminal;
one from Grand Central Terminal to Mount Vernon; and one from Mount Vernon to
White Plains. The charges were $4.00 for the first ticket, $3.50 for the
second ticket and $1.00 for the third ticket. (I am 75 years old, so pay
reduced fares, as a “senior citizen�.)

As often is the case, I enjoyed myself so much at the home of S. S. that I left
it much later than originally intended. I called my Mount Vernon friend, who
found a late visit inconvenient, so we cancelled our appointment and arranged
another date and time to meet. As the saying goes, “No problem.�

When I arrived at Grand Central Station, of course, I went to the ticket office
to exchange my two tickets (GCT to MV and MV to W, as they were designated on
the tickets) for a single ride to White Plains – and a fifty cent refund.
There, the clerk asked me for identification.

“Why?� I asked. “Where is it written?�

I don’t remember the exact response, but I do remember that my questions were
not answered. Instead, I was ordered to provide identification, if I wanted to
exchange my two tickets for one ticket and a fifty cent refund. Those were the
regulations, I was told, and they didn’t have to show me where it was

I refused to provide the ordered identification.

The clerk told me to move on, if I wouldn’t show identification. I refused
to do this, too, so we were at a brief impasse. This didn’t last long,
because the clerk left her window to get a supervisor, who, when he arrived,
supported the clerk’s position that identification was required, because
those were the regulations: no identification, no exchange of tickets and no
refund. (He also ignored the question about “where was it written.�)

I refused again, so the supervisor repeated the injunction of the clerk: move
on. When I stood my ground at the ticket window, he summoned the MTA police.
I am of average size (five feet nine inches and 185 pounds), so only four
members of the force showed up. They wore badge numbers 2273, 2337, 2461 and

They tried to “reason" with me. Essentially, their points were that it
wasn’t worth my trouble to refuse to show identification over a fifty cent
refund; that, were I to be arrested, it would be a terrible inconvenience for
me and that I would be put in jail, probably overnight, with felons and other
miscreants. (The former was their word, but I supply the latter.) Why not be
a good boy (None of them was old enough to be, normally, my child; I believe
all could have been my grandchildren.), show the identification and go home to
White Plains. I think they did achieve one goal; they got me away from the
ticket window.

After a brief discussion, we went our separate ways and I returned to the
ticket window where the quiet scene of five to ten minutes earlier was
repeated. This time, when the MTA police were called, only two showed up.
Apparently, they had met the enemy and decided that it was not imposing enough
for four officers. This time, there was little discussion. I was arrested and
brought to the MTA police station. It was an uncomfortable – but not
frightening -- experience. What I disliked most was being handcuffed behind my
back, with cuffs that were rather too tight (and left an impression on my skin,
which I noticed when they were removed).

In the police station, I was searched and had everything removed from my
pockets. My money was removed from its wallet and, after being counted, was
stuffed into my shirt pocket. Everything else was kept by the MTA police. I
believe the arresting officer intended to keep all my medications, but I
appealed to the sergeant on duty, who allowed me to have my nitroglycerine. I
was told to remove my shoes, which they kept, and locked up. Despite having my
identification, the arresting officer asked me several questions, to identify
me, such as name, address and date of birth. The poor man was most annoyed.
Here, he was, stuck arresting a 75-year-old eccentric, when, as he told me, he
was needed for more important duties, like “the war on terrorists�. (“You
are taking us away from serious things, like 9-11� and other such words of
opprobrium, which I tuned out, after the first sentence,)

The sergeant who allowed me to keep my nitroglycerine, seemed to want to get
rid of this nuisance, so he asked me if I would go home quietly – not return
to the ticket window – if I received a ticket to White Plains and fifty
cents. I told him, “Of course. That’s what I wanted from the
beginning.� He told me he would see what he could do. About a half hour or
a little more later, he returned with the ticket to White Plains, the fifty
cents and a summons to answer a charge of “DISCON� at 314 W 54 St, Summons
Part AR 6, on 15 October 2003. I plan to plead, “Not guilty�, of course.
I also plan to sue the MTA for infringement of my human rights and for false
arrest. (If anyone knows a lawyer who is willing to take these cases on a pro
bono basis, I would appreciate a contact.)

(“Dammittohell!� in my favorite exclamation of Nils’s Uncle Chris. The
15th of October is a Wednesday and I shall miss my date with S. S.)

Heute Uhmuhrikkka, Afghanistan und Irak. Morgen die ganze Welt!

Uhmuhrikkka, Uhmuhrikkka uber Alles!

(Was 11 September 2001 Kristaloncht or the date of the Reichstag fire?)

Fraternally (or lovingly, as the case may be),

Jerome Bibuld (or the Old Man)
gens una sumus

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