In my last posting, I tried to explain the need for the high amount of security that was implemented for the Inauguration on Tuesday. That posting was largely due to the amount of grumbling in the media and elsewhere that the levels were expensive overkill that would bring the city to its knees in terms of crowds, traffic and general congestion.
I think that those who watched on TV as well as those in attendance will confirm that we had a very historic event that included record crowds – and all still went well. Even for the large number of people in a relatively small space, it came off without a hitch.
Certainly there are those that might consider themselves Monday morning quarterbacks who will say that there was too much security – but I would ask them to define “too much.” Didn’t people get into and out of the city safely? Weren’t there record numbers of people on the Mall and in the city without a terrorist event or even a significant crime? Was it “too much” when no one was hurt or worse?
As Americans, we place no limit on the value of a life. We are a resilient nation that recovers quickly from disasters but is still humble enough to learn from mistakes. We did learn from September 11th (what a new generation of international terrorists is capable of ); we did learned from the death of 168 innocent people in Oklahoma City (what two sadistic domestic criminals are capable of). And we adjusted based upon these lessons learned.
Sadly, we are not as free and open as we once were, and we do a great many things differently that we once did. But most have been for the better. We do not live in the same world that our forefathers fought for. This is now our country to protect, and we must make sure that when we are considered forefathers, that we did all that we could to make life better and safer for those that followed us.
So with that said, I would now ask two important questions. Did we really have too much security? And the most important question, one that is always overlooked unless something goes wrong: To whom do we owe the credit and thanks?
As a person who always has an opinion on things, I would say the answer to question one is, no, we did not have “too much” security. Security was at an appropriate level for the historic nature of the event, and the record-sized crowed.
My answer to the second question would be that the credit and thanks goes to great men and women of both law enforcement and EMS. While we certainly always see them in the news when things go wrong, in my heart the folks in the US Secret Service; Metropolitan Police Department; Capital Police; Park Police; the Virginia and Maryland local police agencies; and the great law enforcement agencies where I am from – the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice – are all unsung heroes. They worked long hours, got blamed for too much security prior to the events and were the focus of the commuter grumblings. Yet, despite it all, they made the day safe and one to remember for all those involved.
So although I am only one person, I cannot send enough thanks to the folks in law enforcement and the military, who protect us and our freedoms, that allow us to grumble about whatever the day presents.