Who really saved the White House?
Omar J. Gonzalez, the retired Army vet who ran through the unlocked front door of the White House on September 19, obviously should never have gotten anywhere near the building.
But there’s a part of the story that’s been lost in all the focus on how incompetent the Secret Service was.
This wasn’t the first time Gonzalez had shown up on the radar. He had been stopped by the Virginia State Police for reckless driving last July, at which time the cops searched his Ford Bronco and found not only a map with a line pointing to the White House, but 11 firearms.
The secret service was informed, but as Director Julia Pierson told Congress Tuesday he explained the map was just a sightseeing map.
“And that he had planned to go on camping trips,” said Pierson.
He was just a happy camper.
Which meant there was no legal reason to detain him, and so he was released on bond.
But not before the Virginia State Police had confiscated all 11 of his weapons.
Which is probably why when Gonzalez sprinted into the White House on the 19th, all he had was a knife.
His 11 guns, including two sniper rifles and a sawed off shotgun – are right now sitting in a state police storage locker.
So Congress can go right ahead and flog Secret Service, as Rep Matt Cartwright did, “This was a stunning, outrageous, disgraceful breach.”
… I think we ought to at least take a moment to congratulate the agency that DID do its job: the Virginia State police, who achieved something all too rare these days – they successfully separated a mentally ill person from his arsenal before it was too late.
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