Yesterday’s publication of the home addresses of senior members of the police and the details of many businesses that support the Republican National Convention by one of the anti-RNC groups reinforces the threat of actions away from the Convention location and permitted protest routes by anarchist and extreme left wing protest groups.
It’s not easy being the police department responsible for hosting a National Special Security Event (NSSE). The fundamental requirement for a police department hosting an NSSE is to understand the threat so the response is proportionate and effective. Anarchists and Extreme Left Wing groups are not synonymous with protesters, but in the effort to combat the former, law-abiding protesters are often dragged into the fray. Signals from Tampa in advance of the Republican National Convention suggest the planned police response does not understand the threat.
Over the past several years, we have continued to be confronted as a nation by individuals (both sane and insane) acting out for a variety of reasons via mass shootings. From the law enforcement perspective, identifying and preventing these kinds of attacks is extremely difficult. Prevention of attacks conducted by “Lone Wolves” or international terrorists has been at the top of our government’s agenda for many years. So why can’t we prevent the kinds of events we have experienced in recent months and years? There are a number of reasons for this
The Aspen Institute’s Security Forum, held at the end of July, proved why it has become, in only three years, a “must-attend” event for those of us working in the homeland and national security space. The four-day program was packed with insight from leading thinkers and past and present policy makers and influencers on the subject of national and homeland security. There was not a single bad panel, but three sessions stood out in my mind as being a slight cut above the rest.
After the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado that claimed the lives of 12 people and injured dozens more, the public debate is shifting to the tactics that could prevent such a terrible event from happening again. The use of metal detectors is becoming a central issue, but is this the best approach for stopping potential threats in public places?
Early this morning, at a showing of the new Batman movie, a gunman burst through an emergency exit door and into a theater in Aurora, Colorado. James Eagan Holmes, 24, shot at the ceiling, threw two gas canisters (likely tear gas) and then began firing on the audience. He killed 12 people and wounded 59 others, many of whom were rushed to area hospitals. The public debate will soon turn to how this could have been thwarted, but the reality is that events like these cannot always be prevented.
On Monday, Federal authorities released the names of four fugitives tied to the death of Agent Brian Terry and the failed operation “Fast and Furious.” Charged with the murder of Agent Terry and the assault of several other officers at the scene, these men have evaded U.S. and Mexican authorities for 18 months. The timing of this decision strikes me as odd; politics are masquerading as policy.
Protesting – an activity long-dismissed as something belonging to (to quote some of the less complementary phrases) “the tree-hugging, sandal wearing hippy types” – is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, and with that resurgence is a dramatic increase in effectiveness. Protesting is cool again. Direct actions are not only cool, they’re seen by many young people as something that is not only legitimate, it’s required. Taken together, the conclusion can only be that there is likely to be an increase in direct action this summer.
The crowd gathered on the lawn adjacent to the old Federal Courthouse in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where Judge Isaac C. Parker once presided. It was a beautiful, but warm, Saturday morning, likely akin to ones in the late 1800s when Judge Parker’s sentences to convicted outlaws of the “wild west” were carried out on the nearby gallows. This last Saturday in May 2012 was set aside to commemorate the life, legacy and remarkable public service of one of the finest US Marshals ever to wear a badge – Deputy US Marshal Bass Reeves.
After two decades of pouring resources and technology into patrolling the U.S. border with Mexico, there are encouraging signs that Congress is about to start asking the right question: what exactly have we bought for all that money? But the administration is continuing to drag its heels. A May 8 hearing of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on border and maritime security was intended to provide some answers to the critical question of how to assess progress along the border.