But everyone accepted it in patient, resigned good humor -- the times being what they are, and all the things that have happened in the interim, we all understood the necessity for modern security procedures. I remembered wondering how they ever processed the much larger crowd at the Obama rally.
Well, it turns out that in Dallas recently (and apparently elsewhere), the Secret Service found a shortcut. If there's been much news coverage of this, I've missed it, but it's absolutely spooky -- especially in the city where Jack Ruby scored his hit and where who the heck knows what happened on November 22, 1963. As Teresa reports in Making Light:
Here’s the initial story: the Dallas police, who are more conscious of these issues than most municipal police forces, told reporters that the Secret Service ordered them to suspend weapons screening while people were still arriving at an Obama rally this past Thursday.WTF? In Dallas, of all places? With a huge crowd coming to see a high-profile, charismatic candidate who is known to be a magnet for crazies and psychos?
That is to say: in a state with few gun laws and no shortage of racist crazies, and in a city with a high crime rate and a history of political assassination, they had less security for a major campaign appearance than many high schools apply every day to their students. They had less security than I’ve run into at concerts, baseball games, and second-string amusement parks. They had far less security than was in force at comparable campaign events during the previous two elections. They had much, much less security than the torpid Republican National Convention in NYC had on its slowest day, in a year when all they had to do was renominate Bush.Be sure to read Teresa's entire post, which collates a tremendous amount of data and makes it clear this hasn't just happened in Dallas, but at rallies for both Clinton (another magnet for crazies) and Obama..
More pertinently, they didn’t have an atom of the security that’s lavished on a the most minor and unannounced semi-public forays of George W. Bush or Dick Cheney. (Mind you, Bush and Cheney’s personal security protocols verge on the insane.)
It's not as if security for opposition candidates hasn't been in the news -- elsewhere. The level of security Musharraf provided Benazir Bhutto was widely perceived as a contributing factor in her assassination. It's seems incredible to find this laxity in today's America. What would they say if something happened? Oops?