Inauguration day for Barack Obama looms ever closer. Our first black president will be sworn into the highest office in the land. Entering with one of the highest approval ratings of an entering president, Obama will face a recession teetering on the edge of a depression, an aggressive Russia, one ally at war and another two inches closer and the struggle of living up to huge expectations. That the 21st of January 2009 will be historic almost goes without saying. But will a devastating black mark mar this red letter day?
Security coverage of the inauguration will be tight. Perhaps tight is an understatement, as would be any analogy to Fort Knox. Likening the security to that of the British Armageddon Letter at the bottom of the Atlantic would be the most appropriate.
Skilled snipers supposedly able to shoot a teacup at over four miles, roughly 13,000 national guard units ,officers from over 100 different law enforcement agencies from states neighboring DC, and of course the Secret Service will be on site. There will be enough officers to stand one every ten feet on the National Mall. The official area of the National Mall from 1st to 14th is 6.36 million square feet. I’ve read attendance estimates from two to four million. Try to wrap your head around all that. I take no responsibility for your mind blowing. Back to the civilians in a moment.
Barack Obama will ride to and from the ceremony in a shiny new Cadillac. This Cadillac comes equipped with a few snazzy extras including armor and bullet-resistant glass. SWAT teams armed to the teeth will be heading and following the motorcade. Fighters will patrol the skies. Despite a foil neo-Nazi assassination plot in October of 08 and Al-Qaeda recently blaming Obama for the Gaza war, secret service has received no serious threats and are confident in President Obama’s safety.
Civilians in attendance will be the most at risk, especially those in locations where no tickets are required. This area will most certainly be a logistical nightmare. Despite the large number of law enforcement in the area it will be impossible to completely police these areas. Officials have said that they will search everyone
entering these areas. What they will consider contraband they have yet to announce. Now matter how extensive the searches it is difficult to believe they will be one hundred percent.
“How do you search all of these people?” asked one retired Secret Service agent
, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of security work. “If a suicide bomber or two or three got loose in that crowd, God only knows what would happen. It would be disastrous.”
I shudder to even think of that sort of scenario or something similar to what recently happened in Mumbai, which the feds warned local DC businesses to be prepared for. Again, the Feds have stated they have received no serious threats at this time. However we do have these encouraging words from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism: “That’s the central problem with [counter terrorism]. We’re not that good at predicting [attacks].”
What about the more likely occurrence of a domestic prankster? An ill placed smoke bomb or firecracker could cause a massive stampede. The amount of injured and killed would be as staggering as any terrorist attack. Look at the chaos this past Christmas over TVs on sale. TVs! Think if there was even the hint of an actual emergency.
While we are watching history unfold on the 21st, remember the months and months of planning that has gone into securing the inauguration. Remember the intricate law enforcement net placed over our Nation’s capital. Remember the millions of men, women, and children in attendance. Pray, think happy thoughts, do an inauguration dance, whatever it takes to get this thing off without any serious issues. This election was all about hope, so let’s hope it goes off without a hitch.