The woman who was shot, after a harrowing chase, was nuts. Post-Partum depression makes a person nuts. In searching through her past you find that she recently lost her job as a dental assistant because she was too rough. That is horrible when, if you are a coward like me, you need laughing gas to get your teeth cleaned. Agreed, she tried to crash the White House gates. You can’t crash through those barriers even if you have a tank. But she tried. Just the fact that she tried should give us pause or give us someone to root for. The White House, often referred to as the People’s House, hasn’t been the People’s anytime except when Jerry Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton were in charge of White House touring policy. Although it’s unlikely, maybe she wanted to talk to the President? That wasn’t going to happen. He was too busy dealing with a Congress that has shut down the government. Perhaps that was what was upsetting to her. Based on her erratic behavior, she was confused and wanting to escape.
Some of you may think that’s absolutely ridiculous. She was surrounded by police, it would have been impossible for her to escape the mighty clutches of the Capital Police, (the biggest bunch of bullies you can ever encounter.) It is true however, that when you are in a panic you don’t realize what you are doing. You could feel a story coming, Right?
In 1963, my parents left on their yearly vacation to the Catskill Mountains with their friends. They usually went to the Fallsview Hotel in Ellenville N.Y. That year, instead of my grandmother coming to stay with us, my parents decided that I was old enough to stay alone, and even take care of my baby brother. They were incorrect. I was a kid who could not be trusted because I would always find a way to do something that I was not allowed to do. It was thrilling to be on my own and I wanted to share the joy with as many friends as possible. My parents decided to let my Uncle Phil drive, which meant their tangerine Dodge was left behind in the garage.
First I called my friend Judy Botfeld, who lived in Dover N.J. (about a half hour away) and invite her over. Judy was a bit older and had a driver’s license. She agreed to come but she had to take a bus because her parents car was unavailable. Next we called my friend Beth Anne Cohen, who lived about an hour away in Newburgh, N.Y. (Where we live now). I told Beth that Judy and a few friends were going to take my parents car and drive up to see her. And so we set off on our adventure.
We had to be careful not to run into any of my aunts or cousins who lived in Newburgh, because we were not supposed to be there and certainly not with that car and a driver they didn’t know. It was a wonderful day. We went out to eat. Went shopping. Hung out at Beth’s house. And tracked down cute boys. Things that girls like to do. Late in the afternoon we realized we needed to get back to Boonton and Judy had to catch another bus back to Dover. We knew we needed to do that before the sun went down.
We were laughing and singing as we rounded the corner to put the car back in the garage. And as merrily we road along, I saw my cousins and my aunts out on the lawn frantically waving their arms. “Caught like a Rat in a Trap.” I yelled for Judy to turn the car around! I was sitting right next to her so it shook her up more than I could have imagined. She did not turn around. That was too complicated but she started to back up. Fast!
Anyway, the stories are not comparable but the reactions and the panic are so similar. Miriam was a mixed up woman riding around with a child in the back seat. Why didn’t the police simply shoot her tires to halt the vehicles? Why, seeing that there was a kid in the backseat did they need to look for a direct hit? She was unarmed and she was frightened. They closed off and locked down the White House and the Capital. By the time they shot her no one in any of those buildings was in harms way. I guess if you have Tactical weapons you will find a way to use them. And they did. One dead, baby is fine, I’m sure another lunatic will avail themselves to well armed, furloughed, police of some kind. I simply can’t wait for the next episode. We’re just sayin’.. Iris