A man walked into the Capitol Visitor Center, pulled what looked like a gun and pointed it at a security officer. For his trouble, he was shot by at least one officer and taken to the hospital for treatment before his likely-to-be-lengthy stay in jail.
CBS News reported that the man has been identified as Larry Dawson, 66, who has been in trouble with Capitol police before for disrupting a session of Congress.
“We believe that this is an act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before and there is no reason to believe that this is anything more than a criminal act,” [U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew] Verderosa said.
He added, “We believe that the suspect is known to us,” but he could not confirm the name of the person involved.
Verderosa added that the screening process at the Capitol complex “works the way it’s supposed to.” I’m glad of that, because I’d hate to think that Washington, D.C., where it’s practically illegal to even think about guns, should be the safest city on earth.
If Dawson did in fact pull a weapon, he likely violated at least one of several laws in D.C. There’s no open carry, and D.C. police don’t issue concealed carry permits, so the fact he had the weapon, either open or concealed, is criminal. If he bought the gun from anyone other than a licensed gun dealer, that’s another criminal act.
If he bought the pistol from a licensed dealer but didn’t register it with D.C. police, there’s another law broken. If he fell into any of these categories, he’s going to have the book thrown at him for even having a firearm.
- Convicted of a narcotics or dangerous drug offense;
- Convicted of two (2) or more violations of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
- Convicted of an intrafamily offense punishable as a misdemeanor;
- Have been acquitted of any criminal charge by reason of insanity or adjudicated a chronic alcoholic by any court;
- Have been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to any mental hospital or institution;
- Have a history of violent behavior;
- Have been the respondent in an intrafamily proceeding in which a civil protection order or a foreign protection order was issued against the applicant.
So obviously, the screening process has not worked like it’s supposed to, because a violent scoff-law who has it in for Congress made it all the way into the building and to the last security checkpoint on a busy tourist day when the line was filled with innocents who could have been mown down if he had a high capacity magazine and a MAC-10.
As Mark Steyn wrote about apologizing for tomorrow’s atrocity today, dealing with the Brussels bombing, we can apply the same logic to Washington D.C.
In Brussels, the terrorists blew up the area outside the secure zone. Which was entirely predictable. As I wrote six years ago:
The second thought that strikes you is that the ever-longer lines to get into the “secure” area are now the least secure area in America. Why not blow up the security line? You could kill as many people as on an airplane, and inflict more long-term economic damage. But don’t worry. The TSA has plans to expand the “secure” area, so the insecure perimeter will be somewhere else, with even more vulnerable people standing around waiting to get into it.
Clearly we need a secure zone outside the secure zone – maybe, say, outside the concourse. So everyone has to crowd on the sidewalk. And then when they blow that up we can move it back to the perimeter of the airport. And then…
The obvious answer is to build a big (ugly) wall stretching from the Potomac along Independence Ave east to Lincoln Park, north to Union Station, then running along Massachusetts Ave past Dupont Circle and Rock Creek Park. Just cut off every metro station, road, and bridge up to the Lincoln Memorial.
To security people, it will be a beautiful thing, like the Kremlin wall. We could even put tombs in the wall, like the Kremlin Necropolis. It would be an honor to be entombed in it, like Lenin.
And Washingtonians won’t worry about security anymore. If you’ve got a gun, you get shot outside the wall, far away from Congress or the White House.
Even better, let’s just make it a crime to be a criminal inside our national capital city. Anyone entering Washington, D.C. will need “papers”–an official visa. The stone-faced officers at the wall would simply say “your papers, please?” It would make commuting a whole lot easier. If you’re not one of the anointed pre-checked elite, you don’t get in.
Tourists? Sure, apply six months in advance and we’ll let you know. Don’t hold your breath.
The best part of keeping criminals out of the “government zone” in D.C. is that a certain (non-zero, and possibly significant) percentage of congressional staffers, some members of Congress, a bunch of lobbyists, and a gaggle of press corps would be barred from entering the epicenter of the government they so openly mock and bilk.
I am reminded of the comic book world of Judge Dredd. D.C. would become the prototype for Mega-City One, protected by powerful judges who intone “I am the law,” with the penalty for violators being permanent banishment to the Cursed Earth outside.
Sure, it’s dystopian, ugly, and very Soviet, but at least Washingtonians and our political leaders would know they’re safe from barbarians and NRA members.