Police Security Needed When Members of Congress Meet Public, Say 60 Percent of Americans

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Image: www.phoenix.gov/police

About 60 percent of Americans believe police presence should be mandatory when members of Congress hold Town Hall-type events, a new poll shows.

The poll, commissioned by The Hill, a Washington D.C. newspaper, also found that 91 percent of Americans want to keep seeing meet-and-greets with members of Congress like the one Gabrielle Giffords was at on January 8 in Tucson.

The total lack of police or any other kind of security at Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" event was clearly a contributing factor in the tragedy, according to experts we've spoken to in the past week. Yesterday, Douglas Police Chief Alberto Melis told us that when he learned Giffords was holding an event at a Safeway in 2009, he deployed several police officers without waiting to be asked.  

Video of the mass shooting reportedly shows Loughner pacing near Giffords just before he opened fire. From today's Washington Post article:

In one video, the gunman, whom police believe is Loughner, emerges from the store's south entrance, then loops around a table set up outside for Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" event with constituents. He is "hurriedly walking," Kastigar said, then approaches Giffords head on.

We asked Thomas Mangan, spokesman for the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau this morning if he agreed the description of Loughner's movements outside the grocery store would  have attracted police attention. Yes, Mangan says.

Even some of the witnesses at the scene remember noticing Loughner in his black hoodie before the shooting, Mangan points out. A cop, had one been on hand, would be even more likely to think something was weird about Loughner. A cop might have noticed a bulge under Loughner's clothing from the Glock with the extended clip, or "certain gestures" people hiding guns tend to make, like tapping the concealed weapon, he says.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio today announced that he'd offer security for public officials. But the fact is, he and other top cops almost certainly would have provided security before the January 8 shooting, if they'd been asked.

As Melis' decision in 2009 shows, some don't have to be asked.

Giffords' office didn't request security for the January 8 event, and officials with the Pima County Sheriff's Office, who had jurisdiction where the shooting occurred, claim they had no idea Giffords had planned the event.


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John Smith
John Smith

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Armed & Obese - part two
Armed & Obese - part two

Continued...Mr. Tommy Collins. Thank you for speaking. What you said is in the same principle as what I am about to say.And in spite of my years as drug addict and outlaw, I do have respect for the police. Well, most of them anyway.Wal-Mart... 10:28 AM. Monday, January 17.The corpulent gun slinger, with his cart full of confections , is now waddling toward the checkout. All of sudden someone cries, "Help, he's got a gun". The corpulent one, barely hears the call over his headphones, but looks to the front and sees a young Chicano draw a semi-automatic handgun from his side. He, in turn, drops his donut, whips out his own semi-auto 9 and fires a single shot, mortally wounding this young Chicano, who is in reality a store detective violating store policy and common sense by "packing" on the job.Meanwhile, two bandits making their way out the door hear the first shot fired, assume its at them, and they then shoot the armored car guard who they had just robbed of the money bag. The cop on scene calls a "2-11 in progress" and he, too, heads for the door. The robbers jump in their stolen getaway car and break for the 15th Ave exit.A responding police car comes around the corner, and in their attempt to flee, the robbers blast out of the exit and into the broadside of min-van, killing the three occupants, and themselves.This didn't happen of course. But it is an entirely plausible possibility when you have the moron public shopping with high powered weapons. I don't know the cowboy with the 9, but his appearance stated that he had never devoted time or energy to the disciplines of physical fitness. The only combat he's ever seen was the battle royal he once waged with a 5 pound breakfast burrito. This also suggests a limited social experience and no doubt he is afraid to commit a crime, so he has no felonies on record. I don't know what this clown intended to prove by bringing a gun on an AM Wal-Mart trip, but he proved himself a lame, a fool and a too easy target. In East Los Angeles, my old hood, gangsters are dedicated to the cause and what they lack in skill and intelligence they make up for with shear brutality. A fat-boy (he looked about 25) in an East Los Angeles store wearing a gun on his big ass would have a couple of folks waiting to welcome his return to the family car. He would be a few pounds lighter now in the absense of his side-arm, and for good measure, the gangsters would probably take his car as well.Idiots, assholes, and fat boys with guns only make themselves a target for anyone wanting to go to the dope house. A clean "9" with a full clip would get you an 8 ball and $20.00 at any dope house in Phoenix, no problem. And while you're standing back at "Wally World", bleeding, carless and looking stupid like that. Your little gun and your Mommy's SUV are being donated to a worthy cause.., Phoenix's poor and drug addicted.Be armed... or be safe. The choice is yours.Steve Tracy, Phx.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

The Flaccid Fool apparently has offered his 'armed' posse members, in uniform, to provide 'security' for these events. Ummmm.... as a retired professional law enforcement officer that seriously concerns me, unless those very posse members have attended and passed a certified dignitary protection course, and have demonstrated their physical ability to actually do something should one or more suspects be present at such an event as the recent one hosted by Rep. Giffords. With all due respect to the fine members of the MCSO posses, I see this as just one more grandstanding attempt ny the Old Goat.

Armed And Obese
Armed And Obese

I was once told by someone more familiar with the subject that a federal law written in 1789 regarding the use of firearms remains unchanged to this day. It reads in part: Any agent representing federal or colonial law, or any citizen of the American colonies may use at their discretion deadly force against ANY FLEEING felon. In other words, if you are aware of a committed felony crime, such as murder, cattle rustling, or saying "shit" in front of the ladies, then you are allowed to use any force necessary to stop the escaping offender, including, apparently, shooting him in the back. For obvious reasons this law is no longer even acknowledged by any law enforcement... well, except for maybe Arizona.On it's 99th anniversary, AZ. is still the wild, wild west, what with a narcissistic Napoleon who passes for our sheriff; an award winning county constable who has the curious talents of chasing desert phantoms and shooting himself in the back; and a barrage of inept federal border guards, some of them on the take, while $40 billion a year in Methamphetamine alone finds it's way into the U.S. in commercial tractor trailers owned by certain big companies who pay an extra tariff for an expedited border crossing, thanks to a little known codicil of the N.A.F.T.A. agreement as signed by Bill Clinton."Hey dude, your rig weighs 80,200 pounds. What's up with that ?""Oh, not to worry, officer. Truck weighs 30,000 and 50,000 pounds of G.M. car parts. The extra 200 pounds is going to get mysteriously lost soon as stop in for fuel in Phoenix.""OK, go ahead."The government - especially federal - can't ever do a goddamned thing it claims it can. And things have changed a little since the Second Amendment was written. The previously mentioned gun law is 232 years old, when cell phones, security cameras, and fancy cops in fast cars weren't reality.I shouldn't be surprised at what I saw at Wal-Mart last Monday AM. I stopped in at the deli for some lunch time repast at the Wal-Mart at 19th and Bethany. It is 10:20 AM. There is a PPD car out front, the cops inside on a shoplift call, and the money car is there too, to collect the vast weekend receipts of the store.Entering Wal-Mart moments behind me was the most preposterous fat guy I'd seen ever. Not because he carried 90 pounds of superfluous girth, but because of what else he carried. Waddling toward the pastry section, this fat guy, dressed in unflattering tan khaki T-shirt & shorts, was listening to his walkman, and donut bound, was oblivious to his background.Mounted to the right side of generous hips was a 9mm semi-auto gun, the exact same kind employed by a recent mass murderer, though chubby had only the standard 10 shot clip instead of the 31 shot clip, so popular in parking lots.Cont...

Ray Stern
Ray Stern

I enjoyed the story Steve, but it was about as plausible as a Roberto Rodriguez movie. Plus, I didn't like how you painted the "young Chicano" store detective as a complete idiot and rule-breaker who's apparently never seen a hick with a gun in Arizona before. Totally unbelievable. Then, your donut-eating hick manages to kill said Chicano with one shot. Bullshit. The kid would have jumped out of the way while shooting his own gun, and I doubt the obese gun nut is that good of a shot. The kid also had his eyes on the bandits the whole time, and when he sees they're about to shoot to armored car driver, he plugs them, too.

And as to the comment below from Loose Cannon: Why so risk-averse? Do you go outside?

Ray

Loosecannonsbluesband
Loosecannonsbluesband

I have to agree with you. Carrying a firearm will up the risk of danger to the user. Live dangerously, pack heat.

Armed & Obese, pt. III
Armed & Obese, pt. III

Ray,Your colleague, Mr. Lemons, has outed you as a defender of the Second Amendment, and that's fine. Don't take too much from my story. The Chicano was a store detective in soft clothes whose attention was focused on the robbers exiting the building. Donut dude, who was not paying attention to anything, was on the detective's blind side, and as the Chicano drew his gun (which just having on him violates Wal-Mart policy), donut dude misinterprets the action as a threat against the money car guard, and he shoots him, which in turn confuses the robbers, who do shoot the guard as they run out the door.The entire BS story was meant to illustrate not only the danger of allowing untrained citizens to pack artillery into a store but also to remind one and all that humans are, by their very nature, prejudiced and predisposed to making judgment calls in any situation without knowing what's the reality of that situation.I am a drug addict, sir, I have much experience moving in the types of environment that you would consciously avoid. The gangsters of East Los Angeles are not to be fucked with or discounted in the least. An armed fat man strolling about the area would be regarded as an affront and a target that is not to be ignored. I assure you that donut dude would have been confronted with the most untenable of situatuons on his way back to his car had this been E.L.A.Steve Tracy

Ray Stern
Ray Stern

I still say the young Chicano store detective would end up shooting both the irresponsible, fat gun nut AND the armed robbers -- but, it's your story.

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