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Security for who? January 14, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thought this in Slate was pretty solid:

D.C., especially around the Capitol, contains some of the most overtly armored public spaces in the world. There are little reminders and big ones: signs, barriers, checkpoints, and probably a whole host of weaponry and invisible countermeasures that you don’t see. What you feel the most are those security negs: the bike-rack-style barriers and the forever-closed streets and the bollards. Meanwhile, you encounter the people involved with securing spaces. Most of them are fine and some are jerkswho seem totake glee in barking out orders at hapless passersby. Eventually you come to accept the whole setup as necessary, even if you grumble about it while climbing Capitol Hill. You think to yourself, Sure, this is a pain in the ass, but there’s a good reason for it. Like, what if something happens?

But as we now know:

It turns out that Fortress D.C.—the capital city’s permanent, ever-expanding post-9/11 security-scape—is a myth. It’s a myth that residents have put up with because, in some ways, we want it to be true. It made us feel safer and it made us feel important, if only by proxy. (We also put up with it because we couldn’t say no.) And it gave some higher purpose to getting yelled at for unknowingly walking too close to a building or leaving your Swiss Army knife on your keychain when you walk through a metal detector. The scrutiny was frequently more intense for people of color.

In some respects all such precautions – short of absolute fortress like conditions, are built on myths. They’re far from impermeable to determined attackers. They require relatively stable and pacific polities. And absent at least some of those conditions they are more fragile, more cosmetic, than might be expected. I noted the other day that there have been calls to review the Oireachtas and the precautions taken there. My own sense is that those are about as robust as could be – again short of total lock-downs. And no democratic parliament will function in a total lock-down. Moreover there’s no proximate threat of the sort seen in D.C. this last week.

But as the piece notes there’s a broader concern in Washington D.C. which I’m not sure is often experienced, say, in Dublin – though I can think of one exception when a certain dignitary visited. Simply put the measures taken are so localised that really the only interference in day to day activity outside the buildings themselves is the occasional motorcade coming to and from them. By contrast from the account above and others life in Washington D.C. seems to be more subject to security measures of one sort or another. This display of, flawed, power says much about the realities and myths of the state there. It will be telling if there are changes now on foot of what happened and what those changes actually will be…


1. CL - January 14, 2021

” Throngs of armed, camouflage fatigue-clad members of the National Guard ringed the Capitol and lined its halls on Wednesday, weapons, helmets and backpacks stacked seemingly in every corner of the complex. The heavily militarized presence provided a jarring and sobering backdrop to the House chamber as a majority of lawmakers moved to impeach a sitting American president for inciting an insurrection on the nation’s Capitol.”

” we are now facing the consequence of unchecked right-wing extremism being nurtured over the past several years. …
There are a lot of informed, smart people out there saying that this was spontaneous. That’s delusional…..
Armed extremist groups had for a long time been calling for this storm. This is the language that they use. Their time has come. It’s now or never. Trump has led them to believe that their way of life is fundamentally at risk here, and unless they act now to save it, it’s the end of the country as they know it….
there are credible attempts to coordinate violent protests at each of the state capitals….

” It is tempting to see the violence in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as the death rattle of a disintegrating political order—the Trump administration and its most cultish devotees’ final spasmodic grasp for power. In truth, it is the shape of things to come….
The thousands who participated in the riot on Wednesday, the tens of thousands more who cheered them on through livestreams and obscure social media platforms, and the millions who support such action respect the legitimacy of democratic processes only to the extent that their preferred results come to pass….
Multiple videos recorded at various points throughout the day showed police officers abandoning barricades, seeming to allow demonstrators into the federal buildings unopposed….
Historically, anti-state actors on the right have carried more weight under Democratic administrations—no matter how moderate….
The potential path to state power presented by the Trump administration has been closed, so the fascist right will pursue its political goals through other means….
Rest assured that this will be Trump’s parting message: that he has been betrayed, and that the time will come to avenge that betrayal. It won’t be long before his supporters take matters into their own hands once more”


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