If I were in charge of the Presidential Inaugural, I would move it to New York, where they are equipped to handle large crowds and emergencies of all sorts. The plane landing in the Hudson yesterday is merely one good example. Boats, divers, police and fire fighters all worked quickly to handle what could have been a total disaster. If that had happened in the Potomac (which some time ago it did) instead of the Hudson, there would first have to be a decision about in whose jurisdiction it took place. Was it Park Police, Potomac Police, Virginia Police or the Airport Authority who would be in charge?
Just look back at what happened when a farmer drove his tractor on to the mall in DC a few years ago. The Park Police, or was it the DC police, or who knows, working in harmony or otherwise, decided not to act for fear of the severe consequences. What they thought of as consequences were never explained. So instead, the guy sat there for four days tying up traffic in and out of the District and causing utter chaos not far from dozens of important Government buildings. Clearly, inconveniencing people outside of the District is not on the list of law enforcement priorities – as exampled by the half assed security measures they are taking to make certain the Inaugural is ‘secure.’ Things like closing all the bridges and making metro stops inaccessible at certain times. Not just somewhat, but really stupid decisions , like not allowing people to transfer at Metro Center (THE transfer point in DC). Instead of actually securing the venues where the President is going to be, these yahoos (or are they googles?) are spending countless resources securing areas that don’t need to be secured and trying to enforce ridiculous security rules – how exactly will they prevent people from transferring at Metro Center – which is no where near anything and it’s underground.
It is as if there had never been another Inaugural, there had never been a large protest or Million (man, mother, peace), gathering. While it’s true that this President needs to be secured a bit more than others, we all know that if someone wants to disrupt the ceremonies they will already have moved bombs, guns, tear gas, whatever into place. Closing the bridges (which are not actually closed because buses, taxis, ‘authorized vehicles’ (and authorized by whom?), bicycles, and people on foot can use them), only makes sense if you want to keep the commuters at home. All they have done is discourage people who live in the area and the disabled, from participating. Oh, and they have made the balls inconvenient for the rich people who live in the suburbs. The dreaded suburbs, which unlike so many other cities are about 10 minutes away from the White House – in traffic.
Yep, if I were the Director of Security (which I once was), I would move the whole damn thing to NY. The NY suburbs (Queens and Brooklyn are actually part of the city), are far enough away that there would be no issue about driving. Sure, people come from N.J. Long Island, and Connecticut to go to a show but not without a ticket to something. For this Inaugural, if you don’t have a ticket, you can go to the Mall but they’re going to close the Mall at some undisclosed time when they reach an undisclosed number of people. Security demands that nothing be disclosed, so if you forge your way to city center you may still get turned away, but where do you go? You can’t get on the Metro—it’s exit only. You won’t get on a bus, they are only picking up and delivering—not returning until after the ceremonies. What do you do, go stand on a bridge closed to anything but an authorized vehicle? It will be mighty cold up there – if you can fight the throngs of other people who have also been turned away.
Barack Obama (which still comes up as a spelling error on my Microsoft Word – shame on them – where is the “Obama” upgrade?), wanted this to be a Peoples’ Inaugural. And people are coming from all over the country to celebrate. But when they get here I’m not sure what they will find other than iron gates, masses of fellow celebrants who can’t go anywhere they choose, and cement barriers. Here’s the good news. I always said I can build a crowd of 100,000, but I never want to be in the middle of it. Take that and multiply it by 4 million. That’s how glad I am they are closing the bridges to Va. And, even if I wanted to, I won’t be able to get there. We’re just sayin’….Iris