With Inauguration festivities fast approaching, news about the vast amounts of security that will be needed to protect the Nation’s Capitol is increasing amid some grumbling from the public. Security and crowd control are really an impossible task for the Metropolitan Police Department, United States Secret Service and all the other police departments that are supporting this historic event. Law enforcement must plan for the worst, and hope and pray for the best.
While the increased security will inevitably cause delays and restrict movement in the National Mall, the public should take a few minutes to reflect on past events before they start complaining. Looking back to 9/11 and even as far back as Oklahoma City, the need for security is evident, as is the potentially devastating effects of not having the necessary safeguards in place. Certainly, security measures can cause delays and inconveniences, but they are implemented to keep people safe. The layers of security that I imagine will be used at the Inauguration celebrations are just as much intended to protect the average citizen wanting to participate in this historic event as they are to protect the motorcade. We cannot afford to have one person hurt, and I would ask those complaining if an injury to them or their loved ones is worth it just to get across the 14th St Bridge faster?
The great thing about our Nation is that it has been designed and built as a trusting, free and open society. Sadly, there are those who have tried to take that freedom from us by using it against us. An event injuring numbers of people in the crowd on the National Mall would get nearly as much coverage as event involving the motorcade itself. We cannot let these individuals get the press coverage they seek as a way to generate support from their followers back home. Hurting innocent Americans who are watching history be made is just as good to these individuals as hurting someone who holds an important position.
Our brothers and sisters in blue will not have a holiday during the Inauguration – they will be out in the cold (working long hours) trying to keep our citizens and our way of life safe. Leaving yourself a little extra time to get to the Mall or wherever in the city you will be celebrating is all that law enforcement is asking. These are essentially the same practices we follow whenever there is snow, and we do not gripe at Mother Nature (at least, not too much). I worked during the last Inaugural, standing with the men and women of Federal Protection Services and all the other law enforcement agencies along Pennsylvania Avenue. I would ask that everyone dresses warmly, stays hydrated and works together as the great nation we are to have a safe and historic Inauguration. Our nation is built on the successes in our history, and we have always learned from our failures. We cannot display any weakness that would allow another horrific event on American soil to happen – especially not in our Nation’s Capitol. My wishes of “be safe” go out to each officer, agent and citizen. And to the public, I ask you to remember that this is just one day of inconvenience, and it is far less than the devastation and inconvenience of something going wrong.