HOMELAND SECURITY? MY ...
by Juan Quixote
Each and every day for the past three years, I've had the unique pleasure of representing Proposition One's antinuclear vigil, which has been located in front of the White Guys House since June of 1981. (See http://prop1.org.) While I have known vigil founder Thomas for over 21 years, and have been supportive of him and his vigil, I've been full time here in Lafayette Park since 1999.
It has been an interesting experience, talking to various individuals and groups of people from all over the world about the insanity of the concept that nuclear weapons exist to protect our so-called freedom. To me it's not really freedom when someone like George can push a button and wipe out the planet, in a matter of minutes.
While it has been interesting, it has some down sides. I've been spat upon, physically assaulted, and verbally accosted.
But then it reached a new low on May 24, 2002. On May 23rd I was invited to a friend's place in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland. I secured my bicycle with a kryptonite cable lock through the frame and front wheel of the bike, then finally through the two 2x4's firmly supporting the Proposition One sign. (See http://prop1.org/parkcurr.htm for photo of sign.)
This was my first and only time to leave my bike in Lafayette Park all night.
Rudy Stouffer (fellow vigiler), who was manning the signs in my absence, said he nodded off around 1:30 a.m. May 24th and awoke around 6:00 a.m., and noticed my bike was gone. He assumed that I had come back and retrieved my bike sometime during the night.
Upon returning to the Park at 9:00 a.m. May 24th I noticed my bike was no longer attached to the sign. What a lousy feeling that was.
I immediately contacted U.S. Park Police officer Mark S. Varanelli, Badge #195, who was on duty in the park (Beat 145). He made out a Theft Report (# CCN 02-15886). He made some inquiries as to whether another officer might have removed my bike.
The following day Mark Varanelli came back to the Park, where I provided him with the bike's serial number, frame size, and other info. He said he would enter this info on the computer, in case someone (the thief) might register the bike.
Since the perimeter of White House is liberally laced with protective cameras, I asked the Park Police to allow me to view the tapes, or to provide me with a snapshot of anyone besides Rudy Stauffer standing or sitting at the Proposition One signs, between 1 a.m. and 6 am of May 24, 2002. I was told that the Park Police have no cameras trained on Lafayette Park, but I could ask the Secret Service.
I've asked many Secret Service agents, uniformed and uniformed, about the possibility of viewing their video tapes. I'm convinced that they have this criminal act on film. They all just seem to blow it off. Bicycle thievery is just not high on their priority list.
U.S. Park Police (USPP) Sergeant Mike Keenan was contacted by me, and he was amazed that someone could be so brazen and vindictive as to cut my lock off and steal my bike right out from under the noses of the police on duty. Sergeant Keenan provided me with a copy of the theft report on June 29, 2002.
Upon further investigation I was able to determine that USPP officers Airey and Giannino were on duty (Beat 145) from 6:00 pm May 23rd till 6:00 am May 24th. I'm not sure exactly what the Park Police consider being on duty is. I've witnessed many occasions that these officers are sleeping on duty and just not paying attention. Ineptness and dereliction of duty seems to come to my mind.
While I must admit it's not their job to guard my personal property, it is their job to keep crime at bay in Lafayette Park. I think it's quite obvious they failed miserably. I would even go so far as to say that they should have their pay docked for not doing their job.
Let's get real here. This park is seven acres. There are numerous video cameras on the perimeter, countless number of police officers on duty. And between 1:30 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. there's very little activity here. Would it arouse your suspicions if someone were walking down the sidewalk with a bolt cutter in his hand? I guess officers Airey and Giannino didn't think too much about it, I mean hell it wasn't their bike, right? Or maybe Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme had a big party out here and maybe the officers overdosed on doughnuts and passed out. It seems to be a big mystery. This has to be the most scrutinized, monitored, and video-surveyed piece of land in the United States. If not, it should be!
USPP Sergeant Mike Keenan told me he talked to his captain, and his captain was going to talk to a Secret Service captain and possibly view these tapes. It's been awhile now and I' m willing to bet my next message will bet that the tapes were destroyed, "a matter of national security."
Meantime George W. is running around the country talking about Homeland Security. What a scam! Who's profited the most from 9-11?? Our military and the Bush Administration!
I miss my bike. It enabled me to move about town a little quicker. It was a gift from a friend, and I really don't have $700.00 to replace it. Even if I could, would it really be safe?
Heed my warning, Homeland Security my ass, my bike was stolen less than 50 yards from the President's front door. Feel safe in America? I'm here to tell you that the terrorists are on the loose in front of the White Guys House. Maybe it was Bin Laden who stole my bike!
Juan Quixote - firstname.lastname@example.org