By CRAIG MILLAR
RALEIGH, NC — The RPD on Sunday deployed a SWAT team of snipers and demolition experts to counter a troubling trend in the capital city. The team is currently assembled nearby and surrounding the Hillsborough St.-based Alexander Family Y to eliminate what’s being widely called the biggest threat to Raleigh’s security, stability, and reputation for tranquility.
“This trend of near-homicidal behavior has to stop,” police spokesman G. Coe said at a press conference to brief reporters of Operation BMW For Sale. “For too long, drivers on Hillsborough Street have blatantly ignored the gigantic, radioactive yellow sign with a walking stick figure on it like it means nothing.” He added, “For gosh sakes, people, this friggin’ sign is bigger than a Smart Car. It’s hard to miss.”
For several years, according to Coe, RPD has tried in vain every tactic short of deploying snipers in an effort to get motorists to let pedestrians “just cross the damn street.”
“We tried not to let it reach this level,” he said. “We’ve set up stings, we’ve ticketed, we’ve employed plainclothes guys to risk their very lives walking in front of these jackweeds…I’m sorry it’s come to this, but Viper Six [Mayor Nancy McFarlane] has made it clear that this is priority one.”
The operation, which is expected to last no more than six months, involves roughly twelve snipers arranged in a semicircular fashion around the Y. According to Coe, a first-time violator who drives past a pedestrian “in the act of, or about to be in the act of,” crossing Hillsborough Street, will have at least two tires shot out. A second-time pedestrian ignorer, or “ped-ig,” will be dealt a lethal headshot, assuming wind and other factors, including bystander safety, do not preclude such an action.
Asked how it would be determined whether a ped-ig was a first-or multiple-event violator, Coe directed attention to a program designed for the Raleigh Police Department specifically to read license-plate information and feed it in real time to the snipers’ headsets, designed by Google Analytics at a cost of $27 million. “[Councilman] Gaylord was all about this program,” said Coe. “Without his and the council’s backing, GROPEBALLS [Google/Raleigh Oversees Pedestrians by Employing BALListic Systems] would’ve never happened.”
Raleigh’s embrace of Little Data and its waning tolerance for pedestrian ignorers mirrors other similar cities’. Portland, Oregon, has had massive success in a recent crackdown on those who would run down their cohabitants. Its program involves micro ballistic missiles that disintegrate vehicles on contact. Austin’s police department, in concert with the Texas Air National Guard, utilizes satellite-based assault lasers. And Wichita has seen respect for pedestrians skyrocket ever since Project Trapdoor was launched in 2011, in which giant trapdoors in the streets open up if motorists fail to yield. This project, at a cost of $5.6 billion, has forced the city to make some tough budget choices.
A sniper on the Hillsborough Street team made available to reporters a glimpse at the day in the life of his and his team’s work. The sniper, who for security reasons will be identified only as Scott A. Kemper, showed off the lethality of the weaponry he is charged with employing. “This is my M24,” he said, holding an elephantine rifle on the roof of The Velvet Cloak. “The detachable telescope allows me to sight in on the target, which is usually some bonehead texting on his cell phone.” The M24, popular among police departments nationwide, uses a 7.62mm round, a large bullet that crumples as it passes through soft tissue like a human cerebellum.
“That round is the NATO standard, but I’d prefer a .50 caliber. However, this does a pretty good job of smoking the a**hole who won’t stop for someone clearly trying to cross the street.” Mr. Kemper then eliminated an E320 driver, a man piloting an El Camino, and two cyclists. “The [bicycle riders] think that now they’ve got their own lane, they’re immune to the law,” he said, smoking between shots. “Sorry, but to me you’re just another pedestrian-hating terrorist.”
Still, problems remain. In the course of the reporters’ visit to the site, four people waiting for a CAT bus were winged, and the attendance at the Alexander Y dropped to almost zero, as did most traffic on the street after just a few hours. “Is it a perfect solution? No. Do we live in a perfect world? Of course not,” said Coe, the police spokesman. “Gang activity has increased in areas where we’ve pulled off officers to protect pedestrians. Murders have seen a bit of an uptick. But overall, if meth production doesn’t increase any more than it already has, I’d say this project has been more than worth the cost.”
He concluded the press conference by saying, “Plus, if no one’s out driving on Hillsborough Street, no one’s getting run over.”