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Flawed security at the White House?

By Aldanatech ·
According to ABC, just hours after a man set himself on fire outside the White House, another man has jumped the six-foot high fence onto the White House grounds around 5 p.m.

It happened around 5 p.m. Monday, the man scaled the six-foot high fence. When he landed on the other side, the uniformed Secret Service pounced. There's no word on what this man wanted - or what another man had in mind when he torched himself outside the White House on newly re-opened Pennsylvania Avenue.

Witnesses say the Secret Service put the flames out in about a minute, using a fire extinguisher. D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Alan Etter says the man is 52 and suffered serious burns to his head, back, arms and face. But he was conscious when medics took him to Washington Hospital Center. Etter also says there was evidence of an ignitable liquid at the scene.

Tourists from Florida with a video camera caught the incident on tape, which they turned the tape over to the Secret Service.

Does this mean that security at the White House still has room for improvement? And if so, to what extent?

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What it means

by maxwell edison In reply to Flawed security at the Wh ...

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Some time ago, I forgot exactly when, Pennsylvania Avenue was closed to traffic for several blocks, from the 1500 through the 1700 blocks, I believe (The White House is at 1600). It was then closed, for security reasons, to even pedestrian traffic.

President Bush recently decided to reopen that section of Pennsylvania to pedestrian traffic so people could at least walk by the White House. (Just a few days ago, actually.)

So instead of security starting a block away, it now starts at the fence. Is that the right thing to do? Well, who knows?

But you asked the question, "Does this mean that security at the White House still has room for improvement? And if so, to what extent?"

How would you answer it? Would you start White House security at the front door? At the fence? At the end of the block? At the end of two blocks? A quarter-mile? One mile? Ten miles? What do you think is appropriate?

Personally, I like it at the fence. If someone wants to flame himself on the sidewalk, no harm done to the president. If someone were to pull out an automatic rifle and start firing at the building, could he get a shot off before one of the dozens of Secret Service agents could "neutralize" him? (That's actually happened before, and a couple of bullets hit the building.)

Hey, more security equals less freedom. More freedom equals less security. Where's the balance? I would be willing to accept a "little" bit of risk to avoid denying a "little' more freedom. In the very least, a person should be able to at least see the White House. (In an extreme emergency, however, I'd be in favor of widening the corridor a bit.)

Did you know that up until Teddy Roosevelt (I believe it was TR), a person could have walked up to the front door of the White House, knocked on the door, and ask to see the President? Of course, in Teddy Roosevelt's case, he might have had to step over goat poop, or something, to get to the door.

Did you know that John Quincy Adams (our 6th) used to walk down to the Potomac to "skinny-dip"? Yea, he really did. (And someone once swiped his clothes.)

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The real issue

by CorTech In reply to What it means

re:
"Hey, more security equals less freedom. More freedom equals less security. Where's the balance? I would be willing to accept a "little" bit of risk to avoid denying a "little' more freedom."

And that's the line that's hard to determine. Freedom vs. Security
We're all willing to accept some risk for freedom, and some restrictions for security. But how much? Where do we draw the line? How blurry is that line? I wouldn't want to be the person making those decisions.

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You're right

by maxwell edison In reply to The real issue

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It is a difficult thing to determine.

And regardless of how an individual might define the line - the balance - I believe we can at least be comfortable in knowing that our system allows for moving the line from time to time, one way or the other, depending on the circumstances.

Personally, I believe the biggest threat to our freedom does not lie with a security corridor around the White House or the inconvenience at airports or even the patriot act, as some might suggest. I believe the biggest threat to individual freedom is in the U.S. tax code and/or the myriad of U.S. "social programs".

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Adequate security

by DC_GUY In reply to Flawed security at the Wh ...

They don't really want the White House to look like a fortress. That's not the American way. The President is inside, behind a hardened exterior including bullet-proof glass and plenty of guards who can't easily be seen from the sidewalk. He's in no danger. If he goes outside for an Easter egg hunt or something like that, you can bet that the security presence gets a lot bigger.

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I agree with DC_Guy

by TomSal In reply to Adequate security

To me the issue is a non-issue really.. Security starts at the fence now, and that's perfectly fine.

And trust me between the 24/7 cameras and secret service personnel, if someone with a gun tried to storm the whitehouse thier chances of even coming within 20 yards of the door are slim to none, and if they were actually shooting at the white house and the secret service...they'd be a lifeless lump of warm flesh on the white house lawn.

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By the way - your presumption

by maxwell edison In reply to Flawed security at the Wh ...

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Your question presumes that security at the White House in not adequate. I wonder why you made such a presumption? After all, the guy that jumped the fence was, as you say, pounced upon by many agents, and probably before he even hit the ground.

It sounds to me like the security that was in place did exactly what it was designed to do. Do you think otherwise? And if so, why? And if so, what security parameters would you establish?

Why don't you test it? Why don't you go to D.C. and see haw far you could get. (I'll send you some cookies while you're in jail.)

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Hold on, you're getting way ahead of yourself

by Aldanatech In reply to By the way - your presump ...

The purpose of this discussion was not to actually criticize the security measures in the White House, it was to determine whether or any improvement should be implemented. If you consider that it is fine as it is then simply say so.

By the way, you're inviting me to test the security of the White House myself. Well I invite you to go to Iraq and help out our troops. While you're at it, you might want to bring every eligible member of your family with you. That way you can all share the benefits and glory of fighting for this administration's ideals.

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You asked and I answered

by maxwell edison In reply to Hold on, you're getting w ...

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In case I wasn't clear, yes, I do believe that security at the White House is adequate. I believe that under today's circumstances, having security begin at the fence is just fine. I like the idea of having pedestrian access to the street in front of the White House so people can walk by and see the building from the street/sidewalk. I see no reason to increase the security measures or widen the security corridor.

There, I answered your question. And all I asked was if you would answer it yourself? Is that an unreasonable request?

As far as my suggestion that you "test" it, I did so for the same reason I asked you to answer your own question - because the premise you set, and the tone of your message, suggested to a reader (me) that you may have thought that it might be inadequate and could be improved. So how would you improve it?

You asked me to consider going to Iraq to help the troops. Well, under different circumstances I would. I'm over 50 years old, so I don't think they'd want an old fart like me. But would I if I were 30 years younger? Absolutely I would. After all, I did indeed join the military when I was 18, and I did so at a time when there were several hundred thousand troops in Vietnam. And I stayed in the service for 6 years. So would I "join" today? Sure I would, but they wouldn't take me.

We've had this discussion before, but unlike you, I believe that the war in Iraq is a huge factor in the overall war on world-wide terrorism. I believe it's bigger than 9-11; I believe it's bigger than Osama bin Laden; I believe it's bigger than Iraq; and I believe the overall war on world-wide terrorism will be going on for 10 to 20 more years. Would I go wherever needed? You bet I would, but as I explained above, they don't need an over-50 old fart.

You call it the "administration's ideals". Well guess what, they're my ideals as well. I don't like the idea of terrorists blowing themselves up on busses full of women and children. I don't like the idea of terrorists killing hundreds of innocent school children. I don't like the idea of terrorists stealing airplanes and crashing them into buildings. I don't like the idea of terrorists killing people on ships and throwing their dead bodies overboard. I don't like the idea of terrorists trying to disrupt a nation's national elections. I don't like the idea of terrorist thugs killing innocent civilians because they want to live in freedom. Those are also my ideals. If you don't share them, you're much more naive' than I thought. And you are so blinded by your partisan sniping that you can't see things as they really are. (Yea, I know, you're an independent thinker, not a partisan Democrat. Yea right, and Yasser Arafat wasn't a terrorist either.)

Another question for you. Why didn't YOU join the military on September 12, 2001? Because that didn't conform to YOUR ideals?

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And now, so do I...

by Aldanatech In reply to You asked and I answered

In my personal opinion, I think the level of security in the White House is appropriate. Yet, like I said, this discussion was set to let everyone express their own point of view. As to your question of why I didn't join the military on Sepetember 12, 2001 was because I shortly came to the conclusion the unlike previews attacks such as Perl Harbor, this war should be faced more with Intelligence, rather than with military might. As a matter a fact, I still believe the war in Iraq is a mistake. Even CIA director George Tenet admitted that it was a mistake back on July of 2003.

Besides, I wouldn't go to war that lacked planning to win the peace. Just today, it was reported on ABC that U.S. deaths in Iraq this month are approaching 100, making it the second-deadliest month since American forces invaded the country in March 2003. I would especially not go if this was happening months after the president declared "mission accomplished".

Source:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=259764&CMP=OTC-RSSFeeds0312

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Silly Platitudes

by maxwell edison In reply to And now, so do I...

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"Win the peace" - can I throw up yet? That's John Kerry's line, so it's not unusual that you continually repeat it. It's a meaningless and silly platitude. It's not possible to "win the peace" as long as there are forces who insist on "waging war". And the best way to "win the peace" is to defeat those who insist on waging war, and then "win the peace" on your terms over a defeated enemy. Whether you admit it or not, various terrorist factions around the world insist in waging war on the U.S., and they've been at it for a long time.

But there are enough brave Americans willing to stand up and defend our country. If you choose not to be one of them, I'm sure it's for the best.

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