Terror scares and a Giants collapse

December 20, 2010 2:01:39 PM PST
If the rest of the holiday season continues like today, we're all in for headaches.

It's great that the people who are supposed to protect us are trying to do that. But today - the first day of a two-week holiday period - reminded me of the rush of terror scares in the past year, parboiled into a few hours.

With the spectre of new terror threats here and abroad, the "see-something, say-something" is in full throttle. And while it's great people are observant and at-the-ready, the logistics of evacuating airports and closing streets can be difficult.

This morning at Newark Airport, some security people noticed that a smidge of radiation was coming from a package containing a computer monitor. Fact: Computer screens emit a tiny bit of radiation.

The first response was to clear Terminal A at the airport, and block everyone's access. You can imagine the reaction from holiday travelers.

Then there was a bag containing a package in the back of a legally parked car on Fifth Ave., outside the Met on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Hard to imagine that, on Dec. 20, there would be a shopping bag in the back of a car on the busiest shopping street in the country, but clearly caution prevailed, because police closed the street while they decided what to do. Again, you can imagine the reaction.

There were also other "terror scares" reported that resulted in streets closed and peeps' lives disrupted. I know what security experts are saying: You can't be too careful these days, and the one that we don't check out will prove to be deadly. And there's more than an element of truth to that. But we are also sometimes a bit too cautious. Where's the middle ground? Not sure there really truly is one. You're either cautious, or not.

But that's why you're seeing all the craziness of evacuating airport terminals and closing the streets. We're covering it, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we'll have the latest on the fine levied by the New York State Ethics Commission against outgoing Gov. David Paterson. The fine totals $62,125 for soliciting and accepting five tickets to the first game of the 2009 World Series at Yankee Stadium. The team often gives free seats to peeps like the Governor, but the Commission raises a crucial point: The Yankees have several issues before state government, and that creates a conflict of interest for Mr. Paterson.

And Scott Clark is talking to our local coaching gurus tonight at 11, in the "Coaches Corner." They'll discuss the Jets' stunning victory over the Steelers and the Giants catastrophic collapse in the fourth quarter against the Eagles. The Giants' loss may be one of the worst defeats in team history: They were winning by 21 points with less than 8 minutes left in the game, and they lost. I was there with my son - our one-game-a-year football experience. My 15-year-old son is an avid Giants fan and, unlike his dad, is emotionally invested, to the tune of 100%. In fact at one point, the suggestion was made that, with such a blowout, maybe we should leave early to avoid the crowd.

You'd have thunk I suggested robbing a bank. End of discussion. When, with just 14 seconds left in the game, the Eagles took a punt return and ran into the end zone, the clock had run out and so too had the spirit of the Giants fan. The train trip back was like riding with thousands of people in a depression clinic. Grown men and women, acting like the U.S. had lost the war. I think my son was partly angry because I wasn't as upset as he was. I could have faked it - and been a better dad, I suppose - because I certainly remember how down I felt when I was his age and my team would lose. Alas, the examples set by the other fathers on the train - "Fire the coach," "this just sucks" - isn't exactly my style.

One other sidebar to this Giants epic loss. The punter who reportedly was told by the head coach to kick the ball out of bounds, but instead kicked it to DeSean Jackson, who returned it for a walk-off game-winning touchdown, has been getting lots of grief. If you believe the sports columnists, he's a goner. Anger is so strong against this guy - and how can you not feel sorry for him? - that a reporter with the same name as the punter, Matt Dodge, has been getting hateful messages from fans who think the reporter is the punter. Ouch. We're trying to talk to the reporter tonight, and Scott Clark will have the latest on the games, and all the night's sports, tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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