Connor Simpson is a former staff writer for The Wire. His work has appeared in Business Insider and City Lab.
There was more gas than usual on the New York City subway system Tuesday morning, if that's even possible.
There was more gas than usual on the New York City subway system Tuesday morning, if that's even possible, because the police department was running a precautionary test for potential chemical or biological terrorist attacks. The test gas was "odorless," so if the guy beside you on the train tried to blame the NYPD for the smell, then he was lying.
Around 8 a.m., specially placed boxes released the harmless, odorless tracer gas perfluorocarbons into the subway tunnels. The goal is to trace how a chemical or gas attack would spread through the subway system so the police department is better prepared should if an attack like that ever occurs. The idea is to help police know where to go and how to respond to help people as quickly as possible and contain any attack.
It's a worst-case-scenario kind of exercise, but also a necessary one. "It's planning for the worst and hoping we don't ever have to use it," NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told WNYC. "When you are able to map a hazardous material in the air, it gives first responders information they need." It's in the earnest interest of preparation. But some cynical citizens of Gotham didn't risk taking the chance with the suspect subway test:
umm I do not trust the "odorless, harmless gas" the NYPD is releasing into the subway today for testing... #walkingtoworktoday— megchristensen (@megchristensen) July 9, 2013
Others figured the "harmless, odorless" gas would just smell like a regular subway ride:
Repeating joke about the harmless, odorless gas in the subway being urine-scented so nobody will notice it.— Jacob Harris (@harrisj) July 9, 2013
And, of course, there were fart jokes:
@rosannascotto I hate to admit it, but I've been known to release HARMLESS gasses while riding subway too.. sometimes it just happens. :oD— guillermo flores (@Ambassador_G) July 9, 2013
Housekeeping note, at 8am I'll be releasing an odorless, harmless gas into Twitter corridors to test dataflow. Breathe deep and carry on.— Chuck Olsen (@Chuckumentary) July 9, 2013
New Yorkers are so immature. Stay safe out there, kids.
This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.