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Thread: DC & Northern VA - police state?

  1. #1
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    I was in Washington DC with my son's Boy Scout group last Friday.

    We parked in the parking garage at Arlington, walked around the cemetary a bit, then crossed the bridge into DC. We only got from the bridge to the Washington Monument, to the White House, and points in between.

    I was struck by somethings - the number of police/security around in DC AND the cemetary,the numberof "temporary" sloppy looking fences around the reflecting pool, Vietnam Memorial, etc. etc., the fence and the ratty-looking concrete barriers around the circle behind the White House,and the unwelcoming nature of the White House -in general how poorly-tended things looked in the portion of DC we got to.

    At the White House, our group had no more than just arrived (the boys were peering through the fence, monkeying around and taking pictures), when a uniformed Secret Service guy asked us all to move on. The narrow sidewalk there and the unwelcome treatment just sealed my impression.

    We walked back into VA and on the road to Arlington were five (YES 5!) police cruisers sitting there, 4 officerswere out of their car jawing, one of whom had a thigh holster and tactical uniform. I guess they were there to keep the ghosts in line. It took us a while to get back to our cars in the garage, and when we came out, two of the police cars had their hoods up.

    We then went to the Iwo Jima memorial, which appeared to be a bit better maintained.

    In total, I was not at all impressed, but rather was disgusted at the sorry state of things (atmosphere and appearance) where we visited. It just reinforced my impression that the political class is far removed from the rest of the citizenry.

    I just wished I could have open carried there!!

    Comments?

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    I understand your frustration... I was looking for something in your story regarding OC but was let down when there was nothing.

    The fences are more for night time visitors. DC had problems with muggers and robbers walking thru the area and the fence is a way to limit where people go.

    Keep in mind that there are several police agencies there. DC, Metro Authority, Park, Capitol, FBI, Homeland Security, and USSS. I am not sure what ones you saw there that day.

    Those agencies have little to do and will be seen all over the area. They are a show of force so that the terrorists know that they will meet heavy resistance if they tried anything in DC.



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    just reinforced my impression that the political class is far removed from the rest of the citizenry.
    Well, you have to understand, they're more important than you. They run the country and need all this security and stuff. You're just an ordinary joe. You should be proud of the way the secret service acts so rude to your boy scouts. That's how you Keep America Safe.

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    Regular Member fairfax1's Avatar
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    According to the DC Police website, there are over 60 law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction in DC. And yes, they all can and will write you a parking ticket before you can blink

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    fairfax1 wrote:
    According to the DC Police website, there are over 60 law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction in DC. And yes, they all can and will write you a parking ticket before you can blink
    Definitely a case of too many chiefs and not enough indians. I was in the District yesterday to place flowers on the graves of some of my wife's ancestors and I was struck by the disparity of force that was displayed between the areas described by BB62 and poorer area of D.C. where Glenwood Cemetery is. Lots of liquor stores and homeless sheltersand people beggingat intersections (one guy had a home-made sign --"Why lie. I want beer.") but no visible D.C. Metro Police presence or any of the other 60 agencies that have jurisdiction. We then drove back to the business and tourist district to get to Arlington and it was pretty much as BB62 described.

    I really miss my gun when I go to D.C. :?

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    Regular Member possumboy's Avatar
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    I understand your frustration... I was looking for something in your story regarding OC but was let down when there was nothing.

    The fences are more for night time visitors. DC had problems with muggers and robbers walking thru the area and the fence is a way to limit where people go.

    Those agencies have little to do and will be seen all over the area. They are a show of force so that the terrorists know that they will meet heavy resistance if they tried anything in DC.

    Umm. Most of the fences in DC are to establish a perimeter that vehicles cannot go around the memorials. This is to prevent a car bomb getting close to them.

    This was enacted causing lots of fences, and require some agencies to move because they were not "set back" from the street enough. Most agencies that were required to move were no in DC but MD and VA.



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    Regular Member Shovelhead's Avatar
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    The snow fences were put up around the mall area before the Fouth of July celebration to designate security areas that were accessed by going though check-points.

    In some areas. they also keep pedestrians from crossing the busy streets anywhere they choose, tying up traffic in the process. (This used to be a HUGE problem in that area)

    The "Jersey Walls" on 17th street are there to keep traffic out of the construction zone where they're replacing the sidewalk and installing bollards to keep someone from driving a vehicle onto the White House grounds.

    As for the increased police presence, I'll wager WashingtonDC Metro area is probably a little higher on the terrorist's hit list than your hometown.

    At least Virginia is a "Gold State" when it comes to recognizing its citizens right to self protection.


    Assault Weapon (N) Any firearm whose design disturbs the sleep of progressive politicians..

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    Regular Member possumboy's Avatar
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    Shovelhead wrote:
    The snow fences were put up around the mall area before the Fouth of July celebration to designate security areas that were accessed by going though check-points.

    In some areas. they also keep pedestrians from crossing the busy streets anywhere they choose, tying up traffic in the process. (This used to be a HUGE problem in that area)

    The "Jersey Walls" on 17th street are there to keep traffic out of the construction zone where they're replacing the sidewalk and installing bollards to keep someone from driving a vehicle onto the White House grounds.

    As for the increased police presence, I'll wager WashingtonDC Metro area is probably a little higher on the terrorist's hit list than your hometown.

    At least Virginia is a "Gold State" when it comes to recognizing its citizens right to self protection.

    That is their excuse for everything they do, we have to keep you safe from terriorist.

    Since 9/11...
    Since VT...

    Your rights mean nothing so someone can "feel" safe. Even if you are not any safer.

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    These were the "nice" areas that the public and our travelling guests frequent. Should you have travelled to the less desirable neighborhoods, you would not have seen this show of farce - uh, force. Not even the PD will go into those areas.

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    possumboy wrote:
    Umm. Most of the fences in DC are to establish a perimeter that vehicles cannot go around the memorials. This is to prevent a car bomb getting close to them.

    This was enacted causing lots of fences, and require some agencies to move because they were not "set back" from the street enough. Most agencies that were required to move were no in DC but MD and VA.

    If you say so...I recall hearing on the news about putting up the fence to limit foot traffic at night due to people getting robbed. Been a long time since I have been there but a flimsy fence will not stop a car.

    Are there solid barriers too?

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    Regular Member possumboy's Avatar
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    LEO 229 wrote:
    If you say so...I recall hearing on the news about putting up the fence to limit foot traffic at night due to people getting robbed. Been a long time since I have been there but a flimsy fence will not stop a car.

    Are there solid barriers too?
    We are probably talking about different parts of the city.

    White House, Washington Monument, and a few others have "Jersery" barriers up to prevent terrorism.

    A few places have the fences up, more to herd the people around that actually providing any real safety.

    I'm walking by a lot of these places weekly and some daily (well, not on weekends). Just telling you what I see, not what I have read or heard anywhere.

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    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments.

    The fences I was referring to are of the temporary type - brown wood slats with horizontal wires holding things together. Like a wooden snow fence I presume.

    They are UGLY - and of course they were still up more than a week after July 4...

    The concrete barriers have rusted connectors, are not laid out smoothly, and in general say "armed camp". It's fine with me to have concrete barriers, but the condition and layout of them is unwelcoming and ugly.

    Like I said, the whole visit there just reinforced my impressions.

    Anyone like to take a stab at why there were so many LEOs at Arlington?


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    Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, security has been pretty much on a high level for the entire Metro area. That is just a fact of live now that we have people who want to continue to attempt to attack us.Arlington has a number of high profileagencies and or targets, so ofcourse law enforcement is pretty visible these days.As someone who visits Federal Agencies and DOD installations on aregular basis, I like the security even if it doesseem like a PETA at times. I can't defend the fencing that was still up from Independence day.

    I can understand why an out of town visitor might come to the conclusion you did, but I think if you lived here you would have a much better understanding of why it must be this way. I don't feel my rights have been violated in anyway because of the ramped up security. As I said I visit many of these protected buildings, and have to accept the security features, since I am there on business and I respect the rules as a visitor.

    There are a number of incidents every year where someone attempts to jump the WH fence and or throw stuff onto the grounds of it, and that is why your son and his friends were asked to move along.

    Once outside of Arlington Cemetery, you should have OCed in Arlington. Of course we all know that is not allowed in DC.





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    You want to see the fun part of DC, you have to get away from the Touristy monument parts... of course, you might want your own secret service detail if you go there... I will never forget takingmy collegegirlfriend to the Greyhound bus station... it is a little behind the Capitol building and you can feel the transition from the DC of Monuments, Presidents, and Congress to the DC of the poor... it is literally like going into a 3rd world country... We stopped at the McDonald's real quick and of about 20 people inside, half had a missing limb, serious injury, or serious birth defect.... It was like being in a movie...

    In the pre-9/11 world, the obstructions to keep car bombs away from buildings were more aesthetically pleasing... like oversized planters and pillars that matched the design of the buildings...

    The homeless problem is not as bad as it was in the 80's and 90's, but it is still significant... My church youth group used to go to the Elipse and feed the homeless... and for those of you unfamiliar with the layout... the Elipse is the large circular (or eliptical) park area directly across the street from the White House... It was kind of ironic that 100's of homeless people were living in sight of the windows of the President's home...

    I don't understand why Congress still allows DC to have it's own government... The fact that Marion Barry still holds office on the City Council speaks volumes of the stupidity of the general population of the city... If DC is supposed to be a Capital and showcase city, Congress needs to take over and appoint a comittee of Congressional members to serve as the city council with the Chair serving as Mayor...

    Now take the first big step and get rid of that 3 decade old debacle of firearms legislation...

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    possumboy wrote:
    Shovelhead wrote:
    The snow fences were put up around the mall area before the Fouth of July celebration to designate security areas that were accessed by going though check-points.

    In some areas. they also keep pedestrians from crossing the busy streets anywhere they choose, tying up traffic in the process. (This used to be a HUGE problem in that area)

    The "Jersey Walls" on 17th street are there to keep traffic out of the construction zone where they're replacing the sidewalk and installing bollards to keep someone from driving a vehicle onto the White House grounds.

    As for the increased police presence, I'll wager WashingtonDC Metro area is probably a little higher on the terrorist's hit list than your hometown.

    At least Virginia is a "Gold State" when it comes to recognizing its citizens right to self protection.

    That is their excuse for everything they do, we have to keep you safe from terriorist.

    Since 9/11...
    Since VT...

    Your rights mean nothing so someone can "feel" safe. Even if you are not any safer.
    What specific rights have you had to give up since the increased security after 9/11????



    Just curious.....

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    Regular Member possumboy's Avatar
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    CaptainCharles wrote:
    possumboy wrote:
    Shovelhead wrote:
    The snow fences were put up around the mall area before the Fouth of July celebration to designate security areas that were accessed by going though check-points.

    In some areas. they also keep pedestrians from crossing the busy streets anywhere they choose, tying up traffic in the process. (This used to be a HUGE problem in that area)

    The "Jersey Walls" on 17th street are there to keep traffic out of the construction zone where they're replacing the sidewalk and installing bollards to keep someone from driving a vehicle onto the White House grounds.

    As for the increased police presence, I'll wager WashingtonDC Metro area is probably a little higher on the terrorist's hit list than your hometown.

    At least Virginia is a "Gold State" when it comes to recognizing its citizens right to self protection.

    That is their excuse for everything they do, we have to keep you safe from terriorist.

    Since 9/11...
    Since VT...

    Your rights mean nothing so someone can "feel" safe. Even if you are not any safer.
    What specific rights have you had to give up since the increased security after 9/11????



    Just curious.....

    Lets see, the ability to enter and exit public land without being asked to be searched, and denied access at some events because of refusal to be searched.

    The ability to enter public buildings open to the public with out being search. Having pocket knives and leatherman's cause denial of entry to these buildings.

    Capitol and DC police using that as an excuse to try to ID people walking on public streets.

    One of the big ones. Refusal to allow you to leave without questioning when setting in public parks. Detention based on you setting somewhere for to long talking on a phone or eating lunch.

    The belief by many Capitol and DC officers that 9/11 is an excuse for everything they do.

    Beginning of the list of things since 9/11.

    Satisfy your curiosity?


    EDIT: That was just DC. What about the unwarranted wiretaps, much of the tracking in the Patriot Act?

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    DoubleR wrote:
    These were the "nice" areas that the public and our travelling guests frequent. Should you have travelled to the less desirable neighborhoods, you would not have seen this show of farce - uh, force. **Not even the PD will go into those areas.
    Southeast Quadrant?
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    Regular Member CaptainCharles's Avatar
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    Most of what you listed are conveniences, not rights...........

    They may loosly fall under "unreasonable search and seizure".....But entering a government building that requires you to pass through a metal detector is not unreasonable..........

    Just because we pay taxes, and "own" public buildings, does not give us the "rights" we sometimes think it does.....

    I spend quite a lot of time in DC, in and around the various "public" buildings, and have never been asked for ID while eating lunch etc....



    Again I ask .......What SPECIFIC rights have YOU had to give up?



    Do you have free speech? The right to assemble? Freedom of religion, press? Do you own a gun? Have police kicked in your door and drug you off without cause? Has your phone been wiretapped????





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    When someone chooses to go to the Pentagon, or the WH, or any other Federal building, they are subjected to rules. If you do not agree with those rules, simply avoid going to those buildings. But, the way you put it, "public" buildings make it seem like every building you enter has security in place and that simply is not the case.

    Many of these Federal buildings had security before September 11 but added more in response to the terrorist attacks. Some of the Federal buildings did not have any security before, and added it after. But, I don't see where any of our rights are being violated due to an increase in security at these Federal buildings, or buildings that house Federal agencies.

    Most commercial office buildings do not have any security whatsoever. Sure some might have a front desk person who will ask whom you are visiting in the building, but that is about it. These front desk folks will not search you or demand you hand over items.







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    These additional security measures fall into two different categroies....those that mitigate the anxiety of the public (and even public servants) and then those that mitigate the actual risk. All of these security measures fall into one of those two. Those that fall into the "mitigating anxiety" category need to be removed and more money/energy focused into mitigating the actual risks.

    These additional security measures may not necessarily violate the rights of the American people, but they are certainly pre-incident indicators for the actual event when our rights will be removed, if the American people don't remain cognizant of this fact and act to stave off such violations of the constitution.

    Personally, I avoid DC as much as possible. I cannot fathom going to a place with such a high crime rate and not being permitted to carry my firearm for self-defense.


    EDIT: to correct grammatical errors

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    vrwmiller wrote:
    These additional security measures fall into two different categroies....those that mitigate the anxiety of the public (and even public servants) and then those that mitigate the actual risk. All of these security measures fall into one of those two. Those that fall into the "mitigating anxiety" category need to be removed and more money/energy focused into mitigating the actual risks.

    These additional security measures may not necessarily violate the rights of the American people, but they are certainly pre-incident indicators for the actual event when our rights will be removed, if the American people don't remain cognizant of this fact and act to stave off such violations of the constitution.

    Personally, I avoid DC as much as possible. I cannot fathom going to a place such a high crime rate and not being permitted to carry my firearm for self-defense.
    I would submit that having the go through the screening process at the airport is the same way.

    It is to such an extreme that it seems ridiculous to the common man. Being denied the smallest of items that are harmless to me is absurd. Being allowed to have only a small amount of liquids and gels in your carry on bags is a bit much too and truly pointless. If you could have carried on a deadly item... it can also be in your stored luggage with a timer or remote.

    I see a severe over-reaction to protect the public. My wife and her mother were yanked out of the line at every stop on the way to Florida and questioned. They are Americans but treated like a terrorist.

    But to make the people happy and feel safe.. they take it too far. The other side of the coin... you do not like it... do not fly!! You can always drive to your destination.

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    What is the alternative? Not have any security, and when we have a number of terrorist attacks what will the cry be at that point?

    Do you have rules for your own homes? Do you expect people to follow them when they are your guests? Do you expect to be able to go freely into a facility that houses and or works onNational security issues? Do you think the Government has the responsibility to safe guard those issues andat the same time safe guard the employees and visitors tothose buildings?I think the Government would be doing all of us a larger disservice by not having added security.

    Again this has nothing to do with rights, just common sense that in the face of a motivated enemy, we need to take security pretty dam seriously.

    I met with a lot of Government and private sector employees who do business with the Government, and not once have I been told by anyone they are concerned with the level of security of their building, or it has caused them any level of discomfort. In fact just the opposite. They realize that security is needed because of where they work and what that particular agency means to the overall security of the Nation.

    Is our Federal Government always honest, hell no. However, I do not see this added security as the start of a path where our rights are taken away.

    Just think about it, before the terrorist attacks, many of these buildings did not have the level of security they do know. And I can almost guarantee the level of security would not be at its present state if not for the attacks.

    Granted since I do have a job that involves National Security, I may be looking at it more from that stand point, but even so, as a Citizen I can appreciate the level of security.



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    I am not saying that additional security is unnecessary and that government buildings or state secrets are exempt from being secure. The White House, Capitol Building, CIA building, and all other government buildings/agencies which handle state secrets and are charged with protecting the American people from attack and/or invasion certainly do need security.

    What I am saying is that all security measures that have been put in place need to be thoroughly evaluated to assess the purpose and goal. If the purpose and/or goal of a particular security measure is to ease public anxiety, but does little to actually mitigate the risk, then it's a useless security measure.

    The following statement certainly shows that such measures mitigate public anxiety, but do they mitigate the actual risk?

    I met with a lot of Government and private sector employees who do business with the Government, and not once have I been told by anyone they are concerned with the level of security of their building, or it has caused them any level of discomfort. In fact just the opposite. They realize that security is needed because of where they work and what that particular agency means to the overall security of the Nation

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    Just one comment on Arlington Cemetery - I'm a frequent visitor (I enjoy the solitude in some of the "off-the-beaten-path" corners of the cemetery, plus I have some friends of friends and distant family buried there, and since I live less than 1 mile away, and they live considerably further, I try to drop by now and then).

    And really, the only time I've seen any kind of elevated presence (even when there've been quasi-military police out in force for events such as the inaugural) aside from speeches by the President or Vice President for Veterans' Day has been for something quite reasonable - a funeral.

    Arlington is a functioning cemetery, and most of the funeral processions will be headed by police just like most any funeral procession is nowadays, and a fair number of them will have police in uniform/squad care as members of the procession, there to pay their respects. The two funerals I've actually attended both had uniformed policemen from out of town in their processions.

    Generally, security is actually fairly light by DC standards - a couple hired private security guards (ie not police - unarmed security guards) checking passes before you drive into the cemetery itself, or directing you to the parking deck if you don't havea pass.

    The only armed presence at the cemetary on a random Tuesday are the 3rd US Infantry (ie the "Old Guard", standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

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    I understand and agree assessments need to be made and done on a regular basis. I also know that happens. If you had to go on any military base on September 12, 2001(at least in this area) and do so now, there is no question those assessments happen. The Government is always adjusting and reacting to specific threats and or actual events that happen around the World(like the most recent attacks in England).Of course those changes may not always happen as fast as we would like them to, but they do happen.

    The out of town visitor just is not used to seeing such security measures, like you, me and others are. It is like the traffic in this area, we know it sucks, but we also handle it and put up with it, unlike someone who lives in an area that does not have a large volume of traffic.

    Unfortunately, the security is here to stay.







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