After Wednesday's release of video showing a 15-year-old girl being beaten up in the bus tunnel at Westlake Center while three security guards stood and

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Another Ripple Effect of the Metro Teen Beating

After Wednesday's release of video showing a 15-year-old girl being beaten up in the bus tunnel at Westlake Center while three security guards stood and watched, the collective public outcry seemed to match what many people were probably yelling at their computer screens: Don't just stand there, do something!

Well, it's only been 48 hours. But so far, a lot has been done.

Metro transit says it's going to change its contract with the company that hired the guards to allow them to do more than "observe and report." Armed sheriff's deputies have taken up posts at all five tunnel stations. And now, Seattle's interim police chief has initiated an internal review of how his officers can better protect those riding public transportation.

It's hardly surprising that such swift and comprehensive response has come in such short order. Videos of teenaged girls getting face-stomped tend to have a mobilizing effect on a populace waiting to be outraged.

But there's good reason to be skeptical of what might come of these efforts. And even better reason to calm down, take a breath and think of what it means to ask for perfection from an imperfect system. Take it away, Seth Kolloen:

Given the massive swath of publicly-accessible real estate under Metro's control, beatings at bus stops are inevitable. So what would you have Metro do? Leave the policing to the ridership? We don't want that job. Hire a cop for every bus stop? We don't want to pay that bill...From last year's snow, to this year's beating, people expect perfection from Metro. Sure, the agency could improve. Communications during the snowstorm were a farce. And calling people "guards" who are trained in little more than walkie-talkie-use is asking for trouble. That said, perfection--which seems to be the standard Metro is held to--comes at a price. Want a fleet of 4x4-equipped tank/buses? A cop at every stop? Then you should be sliding in a Jackson every time you step up to the fare box. Until then, a little slack, maybe?

 
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