Flexing their ever expanding powers to limit freedom movement, on April 9th Park Police and Secret Service agents strung up yellow "Police Line" tape on the H, 15th, and 17th street sides of Lafayette Park, and ordered everyone, except police agents, to leave.

"It was bizarre." Ellen Thomas said. "Police were going through the Park, waving their arms and shouting, 'Out of the Park! Out of the Park!,' and people were just moving without question ... like lemmings."

This paramilitary closure operation was either an under or over reaction to a suspicious backpack left by some tourist, probably awestruck by the grandeur of the Presidential Palace, on the grass directly to the north of Concepcion's signs.

To the vigilers -- all in perilous proximity to the backpack, but who did not appreciate the disruption of their attempts to associate with and communicate to the public -- it appeared to be a gross over reaction.

Of course, from the perspective of hypervigilant police agents, no threat is too insignificant to curtail their power to push people around on the flimsiest of excuses. Indeed, one lemming were heard to say, "It's sad that it's come to this, but it's necessary."

Possibly the lemming was correct, but the question seems to be: "Is this really 'necessary,' or this just a knee jerk reaction to fear?" And this is anything but a novel question.


At a press conference on May 17, 1996 U.S. Senator Rod Grams observed,

"It's time to reopen Pennsylvania Avenue, for our visitors, our business community, our commuters, our residents -- for every American who celebrates freedom and believes that giving in to fear is not an acceptable response in a democracy .... There are barricades to the left of us, barricades to the right of us, and yet directly in the middle sits what is supposed to be one of this nation's most enduring symbols of freedom. Surrounded by concrete, and ringed by armed guards, dogs, and patrol vehicles, a roadway that once resonated with freedom now reeks of fear,"

At that time Grams introduced legislation in the Senate calling on President Clinton to order the Treasury Department to develop a plan, in conjunction with the Secret Service and the District of Columbia, for Pennsylvania Avenue's permanent reopening, to reverse what Sen. Grams describes as "a decision that has replaced openness with apprehension. In the capital city of a nation built 'of the people, by the people, and for the people,' there can be no room for fear, roadblocks, or barricades."

Unquestionably, history shows, fear won out, Pennsylvania Avenue has remained closed and police paranoia has progressed to a point where agents can now chase everybody out of the park just because some star struck tourist forgot his or her backpack.

Still, particularly in light of police actions, skeptics are bound to ask, "to what extent are fear filled 'law enforcement' officials permitted to expand fantasies to a point where they are justified in arbitrarily closing a public park for an hour and a half, before they should be required to explain their actions?" Based on a few factual observations, questions like this might not be as frivolous as fear-filled lemmings might first apprehend.


For example, why -- if there were serious concerns of an explosive devise which provided substantial enough security concerns to evacuate the entire Park -- would such a large number of government agents just stand around for an hour and a half as if there was some serious concern about explosives? If they're really afraid of a bomb, are these guys heroes, or just stupid?

For another skeptical question, let's assume you've got a serious suspected possible explosive, but you've also got bomb sniffing dogs, the one pictured on the right was on the scene;


Also available, are high-tech suspicious package removing robots, with their own specially designed, taxpayer provided robot ride, and addition to a bunch of bomb removal vehicles. These pictures are from previous occasions, in this case this high tech equipment was not called in.

Was it an under reaction for the police not to use their dogs, robots, or bomb disposal vehicles to scrutinize the object, rather than just stand around looking at it?



Thus, if one were really concerned about the danger of an explosion, one must ask, why would one just stand around like a bunch of dummies, for an hour and a half, without utilizing any of these expensive bomb retardant devices?

Moreover, one might ask, "If there were actually a threat of devastation by explosive detonation, why evacuate the Park, while unnecessarily placing an entire fleet of taxpayer financed law enforcement vehicles in the line of fire?"

 Rudy's Perception