Saw something, said something

I called the MARTA police yesterday.

When I got off the train at Civic Center, there was a large shopping bag from World of Coca-Cola sitting on the northbound platform. Hardly unusual, as it’s the closest station to there. But this bag had been placed right against a column at the north end of the platform, and rolled up clothes and a blanket were stacked up around three sides of it. No one was anywhere near it. At least two trains came and went from the platform,  still no one came for it.

The operator sounded a touch skeptical when I called. She asked a couple of times whether the bag had any wires protruding from it, whether it had a strange odor or was ticking. I didn’t see any wires and I passed within a couple of feet of it and didn’t smell anything, but do explosives actually tick any more? Besides, as loud as it gets down there with trains going in and out, that thing could have been playing the 1812 Overture and I wouldn’t have heard it. She said they’d send someone by. I waited a while. I never saw anyone come.

The chances that it was something dangerous are nearly nothing, of course. I almost didn’t call. It’s not as if it was purple and green with question marks all over it, like something from The Joker would leave. A “suspicious package” is only suspicious because someone is suspicious of it.

Maybe a homeless person left it there. But I can’t imagine why. When people own very little, they tend to always keep it with them and usually where they can see it. If they can’t keep it with them, they tend to put it behind or under something, or stuff into a bush or even up in a tree. I can’t imagine a homeless person just leaving their things where they’re sure to be stolen or thrown away. It just didn’t make sense, sitting there so neat and conspicuous.

I really hope that those clothes and that bag weren’t all that someone has in the world and that they weren’t thrown away by the MARTA police – if they ever came.

4 Comments so far

  1. AtlantaR (unregistered) on August 5th, 2010 @ 12:54 am

    In Israel you call the police for every unattended bag anywhere, immediately. Even a random plastic bag on a car in an apartment parking lot. The bomb squad comes out, no fanfare, and generally just throws it away, but the way they look at it, better safe than sorry. It’s not even a big deal there when there’s an unattended package… it’s just what you do.

  2. Tamra (tlt0912) on August 5th, 2010 @ 2:07 am

    I was hesitant to call them, but I figured if it’s nothing then I’d be a little embarrassed and that would be the end of it. Better than feeling massively guilty for not calling if something *had* happened.

    The operator took my name, and the stuff was all gone this morning. Who knows?

  3. abby on August 5th, 2010 @ 9:18 am

    I did the same thing for a backpack sitting outside Publix the other day (though I took the lazy way out and just told the customer service person inside). ALMOST sure it’s nothing, but I’d like to avoid getting maimed or blown up on the off chance that it is something to be concerned about. Or letting other people get maimed or blown up.

  4. Rachael with Atlanta Car Insurance (unregistered) on August 30th, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

    Good! You definitely want to call the police on something like this! Bon=mbs can be ins such strange thisn like laundry detergent! Crazy!!! Something so close to a train station as well.. yeah definitely call! Good job- most people probably just walked right on by…

    Rachael with Lloyd Pro Group Insurance

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