It's the summer of the bag check: Civil liberties groups are still trying to determine the legality of bag checks, but the NY Post reports that many people are happy to show the police what's in their bags. One person even, "All these people were opening bags before the cops even asked. It defeats the purpose of a random search. Would a terrorist do that?" No, but what's funny is that neither would most New Yorkers, as Gothamist feels opening one's bag unnecessarily also meets the purpose of someone swooping in and taking your wallet, iPod, or cellphone, but we suppose the police would be right there. Maybe the police can search the people who don't have the tired, "I just want to get to work and can't believe I'm already sweating through my work shirt" expressions on their faces! And our Mayor on the matter:

"It's a policy designed to strike a balance that protects our civil liberties, that isn't too intrusive, and that keeps anybody who might think of threatening us off balance and off guard. The times demand stepped up vigilance - and we're going to provide it in a fair and sensible way. It may take you a little longer to get where you're going, but we're going to make sure that you get there safely."

Other things to keep subway riders off balance and off guard: Signal problems, police investigations ahead, and track fires. Naturally, a website, No Subway Searches, has been created to make sure commuters know their rights - complete with downloadable bill of subway rider rights (at, least, given the MTA's rules of the ride). And Al Sharpton wants to meet with Police Commissioner Kelly about "random" checks - Gothamist would love for that meeting to be televised.

The NY Times has an editorial saying that the searches should be random and go on for longer than a few weeks, that "Finding a way to treat people fairly and still pursue any real threat is a particularly difficult and important task in a city as diverse as New York," and that the federal goverment should pay for the NYPD's overtime. And Slate looks at whether or not these searches are legal. Gothamist wonders what will happen when the NYPD starts demanding to check our shoes... there's a goldmine to be made in "Portable, disposable footmats."