Monday, April 11, 2005

Stop, Or We'll Blow Up Your Luggage!

On the 18 of August, [], I arrived at the White House with rifle in hand, and was immediately ushered into the executive room. I found the president alone." The missing piece in that quotation is that the year was 1863. Christopher Spencer had walked up to the White House carrying one of his new, 7-round lever-action rifles. Not only did no one panic, but Spencer and Abraham Lincoln went out on the Mall for a little target practice.

How things have changed! Outside the U.S. Capitol today, police tackled a man to the ground, dragged him away by his arms, arrested him, and blew up one of his suitcases. His crime? He didn't want to talk to the Capitol Police! He was standing outside the building with two suitcases, and when asked what he wanted, he told police he wished to see the president, but declined to answer further questions. He told them that if they wanted to know what was in the suitcases, they could look for themselves. No bombs were ultimately found, and the man had to be treated for injuries he received in the incident. Despite the obviously urgent nature of the threat, TV crews had plenty of time to set up and film the whole thing.

How about a little perspective and civility?


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