The weapon was not fully sticking out the window in a pointed position towards any of us. It was how ever raised up and the person holding it had right hand in trigger position it was in the direction of our group. It was indeed an assault rifle and the man in the car was dressed full swat. I covered television news so I have seen these SWAT members before. I was the first in our group to see it so I want to make sure this is clear. It still was an amazing sight and scarey too! Thanks, MaryI'm picking the least inflammatory and most expert view. It is nonetheless deeply troubling on several levels.
First: that Bush and his advisors either do not understand the psychological impact of this sort of presidential behavior - or they do, and it's a calculated display of menace.
Second; and perhaps beside the point above: that the Secret Service deems this level of security to be appropriate, given the chances of an assault upon the nation's leadership.
Come to think of it, were I in charge of the Secret Service and had the job of guarding this President, I doubt I'd be comfortable with him anywhere outside of a facility as secure as Cheyenne Mountain.
However, my visceral reaction is quite different, and it's not based on any fuzzy-minded liberalism. It's based in my NRA training and my martial arts discipline - and that to make a deadly threat is an invitation to deadly force. It is a psychological assault, and at the same time, by not immediately pulling trigger, it leaves open the opportunity for the insulted to "return fire first."
I point out also that the open window defeats the main point of having an armored vehicle in the first place.
The best way to protect the president is also the best way to protect against terrorism - to avoid policies that create large numbers of surviving enemies.
"Friends come and go, but enemies accumulate." This is one of those inconvenient facts of life that we in the Reality Based Community take for granted. The more people that you cause to hate your guts for cause, the more likely it is that some combination of profit, madness and opportunity will come together to generate an attempt on your life. This is as true of nations as it is of persons.
But nations are far more difficult to kill. That makes the symbolic targets all that more attractive - and it makes those who must stand behind or work within those symbolic targets just a little jumpier.
I am by no means suggesting that targeting the President would be a good idea with a predictably good outcome. It is not, and the only predictable outcome would be random nightmare with possible scattered patches of fallout.
But I'm something of a security paranoid and one of my personal secrets to life is not being next to people who insist on being loud, rude, stupid and offensive.
tag: dangerous president, intelligence, presidential security detail, secret service, threat assessment, Renaissance Club, May 9, 2006, weapons pointed, protesters, intimidation, protest