Fortress DC: ‘Your Papers, Please’

 

I have lived and worked in the DC metro area for more than 50 years. I have seen or joined numerous large demonstrations prompted by civil rights, the Vietnam War, abortion, and/or the Tea Party. I recall the 1968 riots after the assassination of MLK and saw the aftermath of the more recent Floyd rioting.

With the exception of the 1968 Riots, I have never seen such a comprehensive response by authorities as is currently underway in anticipation of the Biden inauguration. Never this far in advance for anything. Downtown streets are closed and every Metro train station within a 100-block area is to be closed a full week in advance of the event. Downtown is almost empty and (mostly unmarked) cars with flashing lights are blocking the single lane entrance to the affected roads each with large concrete barriers. There are now actually more police on the street on K Street than civilian pedestrians.

Yesterday, our office needed a service call for the A/C in the computer server room. (We are aberrant–we almost never close and we show up despite weather, riots, fascism, and/or pandemics and the existence of Zoom and Teams.) To arrange that visit, we needed to email a service request in writing so the company could print it out to be shown to the police to prove the tech has a valid reason for entering the cordoned zone. His truck was still banned so he had to park outside the zone and come on foot carrying tools and testing equipment. He was permitted to do that even though he fit the new dangerous profile: a working-class white guy in work boots and jeans–with tools.

The endless government COVID closure and the death of numerous downtown businesses killed off by lockdowns and looters have reduced commuter traffic to a trickle. But yesterday, there was a backup for Virginians crossing Key Bridge and expecting to use the Whitehurst Freeway and K Street to get downtown. They were instead routed northward in a bizarre detour around Washington Circle.

Street barriers at 15th and K behind Gen. McPherson.

Huge white concrete barriers are everywhere. And where there are openings just wide enough for one vehicle, there are police stationed. Pedestrians are now discouraged from going past the VA towards Lafayette Square and the White House from the north.

In April 1968 when I a teenager, my father decided to take me with him to the DC Courthouse at night as the MLK riots were subsiding and the entire DC bar had been mobilized to handle arraignments of the thousands arrested. It was to be a teaching moment in a historical event. My father was a nonstop teacher.

At the place where Pennsylvania Avenue merges into M Street, there were huge X-shaped barriers and barbed wire, military vehicles, and blindingly bright floodlights. We slowly approached the center of the checkpoint with guns pointed at us. An officer approached the vehicle to ask why we were in violation of the curfew. It felt like a movie scene entering or leaving some sector in Berlin in 1970. That event is the only thing I can recall that is comparable in scale and scope to what is being set up now.

The view of “Black Lives Matter Plaza (the 800 and 900 blocks of 16th Street) from K street. This street section is now permanently closed to traffic. The hotel and offices in that 2-block stretch must be thrilled to be part of the statement.

The security measures have been disconcerting and enhance existing fear. DC and the surrounding counties are bluer than most places other than Boston or Portland and the over-the-top pre-emptive measures by police have enhanced the widely held latent fears that hordes of mythological toothless gun owners are coming to restore their deposed führer. The prevailing belief appears to be that the cops would not be doing this if there was not some known massive threat. The MAGA trogs must be even more dangerous than was previously thought. It is a self-reinforcing idea fomented by actual morons in response to a threat posed by largely imaginary morons.

Once Biden is in the White House, why would the threat recede and the measures lessened? The imagined hordes are still out there and even harder to detect for being imaginary. Sheer inertia in government is such that it will not readily restore the freedoms we began to sacrifice in order to fight the War on Terror and then even lost even more to fight COVID.

Proof of loyalties untainted by inciteful (conservative) online activity, proof of lawful purpose, and proof of vaccinations just to get across town sounds like something in a Communist state 50 years ago but it appears to be headed our way. The weird guy in the Viking horns and painted face who sat in Pelosi’s chair is now a kind of Emmanuel Goldstein. And now, our betters will soon tell us that vigilance and loyalty to suppress the anti-party must be absolute.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 54 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I am not surprised to read this. Every time I look at the Yahoo! aggregator, the writers refer to the events of January 6 as an “insurrection.” It is a wild exaggeration designed to control the public’s perception of and reaction to those events.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos: Proof of loyalties untainted by inciteful (conservative) online activity, proof of lawful purpose, and proof of vaccinations just to get across town sounds like something in a Communist state 50 years ago but it appears to be headed our way

    It’s disturbing to think that the arming of DC is just a prelude to much worse activities. I don’t discount any possibility anymore. 

    • #2
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    It will be interesting to see how Antifa infiltrates whatever spectators are allowed for the inauguration. We will, of course, stay away. My guess is that Antifa simply can’t help themselves-they must be on the scene, and they will find a way.

    • #3
  4. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    It will be interesting to see how Antifa infiltrates whatever spectators are allowed for the inauguration. We will, of course, stay away. My guess is that Antifa simply can’t help themselves-they must be on the scene, and they will find a way.

    I am deeply suspicious when it comes to conspiracy theories/alleged red flag operations but Michael Yon’s opinion that Antifa guys were taking lead roles in the Capitol Hill fiasco was persuasive.

    • #4
  5. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Thanks so much for the first-hand report. It is weird that last week, when a million protesters were expected and trouble was in the chatter-verse, that the powers that be chose a very light security level. I wonder how today’s security compares with that of the Temple Mount area.

    • #5
  6. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    Yep. And Biden had 80 million votes. No wonder they need the military to install him. 

    • #6
  7. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Old Bathos: Proof of loyalties untainted by inciteful (conservative) online activity, proof of lawful purpose, and proof of vaccinations just to get across town sounds like something in a Communist state 50 years ago but it appears to be headed our way

    I’m ambivalent with what I am seeing since while there are many ominous negative signs and interpretations that can be associated, I don’t mind seeing a shut down like this at the source of most of our tribulations. 

    • #7
  8. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    And DC was already a bizarre fortress town before all this. How many months or years will go by before the barriers and authorities are removed? After all, it was only supposed to take 15 days to slow the spread….

    • #8
  9. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: Proof of loyalties untainted by inciteful (conservative) online activity, proof of lawful purpose, and proof of vaccinations just to get across town sounds like something in a Communist state 50 years ago but it appears to be headed our way

    I’m ambivalent with what I am seeing since while there are many ominous negative signs and interpretations that can be associated, I don’t mind seeing a shut down like this at the source of most of our tribulations.

    Except that this is not directed at the people who author those tribulations. It is an immanentization of the mindset of people who choose (need) to hate people like you, a development that may be imitated in cities, corporations, and organizations everywhere all using the same premise.

    • #9
  10. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    @oldbathos Do we still have enough loyal Americanism in our federal law enforcement and intelligence components to recognize enemy tactics and operators embedded within our governing infrastructure and to lead in combating this communist led insurrection?

    • #10
  11. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    I used to go to downtown DC about once a month as a kid when visiting relatives. I can remember going to the capitol without having a prostate exam. I can remember being able to drive around the White House. I can remember going into the Cannon and Dirksen buildings without a prostate exam and then being able to ride to the capitol on a subway. Those days are gone.

    • #11
  12. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This is unbelievable. Check out the footage of DC.

    https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/hundreds-of-national-guard-members-from-new-england-headed-to-washington-what-to-know/2280554/

    • #12
  13. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Check out the footage of DC.

    The video of guardsmen sleeping on the floor is from the underground visitor center. All the ambience of an airport lounge during a snowstorm without the cots. And that’s what it’s like without the national guard sleeping in the floor.

    Hang On (View Comment):
    I can remember going into the Cannon and Dirksen buildings without a prostate exam and then being able to ride to the capitol on a subway.

    I remember a small group of us high school kids made appointments to meet with our senators, who tried to get out of the meetings because high school kids. So we chased John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum around the Capitol until they honored their appointments. Bob Dole threw me off of an elevator. Good times.

    • #13
  14. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    It will be interesting to see how Antifa infiltrates whatever spectators are allowed for the inauguration. We will, of course, stay away. My guess is that Antifa simply can’t help themselves-they must be on the scene, and they will find a way.

    My guess is that Antifa/BLM will be welcomed and might even be on whatever “guest list” exists.

    • #14
  15. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Hang On (View Comment):
    I can remember going into the Cannon and Dirksen buildings without a prostate exam and then being able to ride to the capitol on a subway. Those days are gone.

    It’s now a prostrate prostate exam.

    • #15
  16. JamesSalerno Coolidge
    JamesSalerno
    @JamesSalerno

    Bummer. The 640 million Americans that voted for Biden won’t get the chance to see the most charismatic president in history get inaugurated.

    • #16
  17. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    When Obama was inaugurated the first time, I had a thought-dream. That was Barack and Michelle jumping up and down on the bed in the Lincoln bedroom, squealing in joy. We made it! We made it! Wheeeee!!!!

    My thought-dream for J & J? Come, Joe, time for your afternoon nap. Sorry, no press conference until little Joey awakens from his nap.

    • #17
  18. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    MarciN (View Comment):

    This is unbelievable. Check out the footage of DC.

     

    Have you seen Michael Yon’s interview?

    Michael Yon Interview With Joshua Philipp Of Epoch Times

    • #18
  19. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    Somebody thinks there was an actual insurrection, or they want citizens to think there was an insurrection. Or somebody really got in bureaucratic trouble for being so unprepared.

    I don’t know anything about the right wing terrorists, though I understand the intelligence agencies are saying its a big threat.

     

    • #19
  20. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    I’ve only been to D.C. twice. My memory is vague on when the first time was, and whether it was before 1600 Pennsylvania avenue was closed to vehicle traffic or not. I spent a lot of time on the mall, the first visit, but I didn’t make it to the White House. I did go during the second visit which was probably around 4-5 months before Covid hit, and at the time, they wouldn’t let pedestrians cross the street to the fence from Lafayette Park (I think it was a temporary measure at the time; it might become permanent now).

    My observation, as a non-local, is that these measures only just increase, never decrease. My last visit on the mall I went through the entrance of one of the Smithsonian buildings and had to go through a security scanner/wand. Admittedly, it was pretty lax compared to TSA at an airport.

    Mostly I don’t care. I don’t live there, and D.C. as a tourist destination is a middling attraction. It is an argument for geographically decentralizing a lot of these federal departments. For example, as a former member of the Coast Guard, I question why their headquarters is in Washington.

    From my perspective, Washington around the mall was already somewhat inaccessible with officials already hunkered down.

    It’s just more of the same.

    • #20
  21. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    Just in case people forget who the original violent condoning political leaders happen to be, a graphic comparison:

    • #21
  22. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Regarding the Michael Yon interview – it’s pretty obvious now that Trump inadvertently set the stage for idiots like Antifa to sow more chaos. It’s screamingly easy to wave a flag but be and act like something else. Really have a hard time thinking that Joe and Jane Doe Trump supporters, middle-aged average Americans, would be storming the Capitol and climbing walls and chasing politicians down the hallway.

    There might be a small element of that, but nothing coordinated. The Antifa piece, or other anarchists, seem to have pretty easily exploited the opportunity, with all of it landing on Trump’s head.

    Which he might own, anyway, for having scheduled the protest in the first place, that close to the Capitol. I know he felt like he got robbed, which means the people got robbed, and maybe we did – but it’s setting the stage for something really catastrophic to happen, even if zero Antifa or BLM or Anarchy Joe showed up.

    It’ll take months for a real deconstruction to come out.

    • #22
  23. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    @jamessalerno

    Your reply number 16 is over the top in terms of joking naughtiness. After Jan 20th, just to be clear, all such remarks will be reported to the Ministry of Truth in triplicate.

    • #23
  24. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Gazpacho Grande’ (View Comment):
    Regarding the Michael Yon interview – it’s pretty obvious now that Trump inadvertently set the stage for idiots like Antifa to sow more chaos.

    I don’t recall the date when the President first announced he wanted his supporters to come to DC on January 6 but he gave Antifa and any working with them plenty of time to plan what they did. With the total lack of law-enforcement preparation to confront it and the fact that various sources had informed the proper officials to expect violence, its leaves one with the conclusion of likelihood that there was a conspiracy to get the result we got. Now that calls for an investigation and there is no reason to consider impeachment.

    • #24
  25. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Now that calls for an investigation and there is no reason to consider impeachment.

    Another matter to he handled by Attorney General Merrick Garland? Don’t make me laugh so hard, I just ate!

    • #25
  26. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    Now that calls for an investigation and there is no reason to consider impeachment.

    Another matter to he handled by Attorney General Merrick Garland? Don’t make me laugh so hard, I just ate!

    But it also informs us that we had 10 Republican House Members who jumped the gun on impeachment. Let’s see if any renege when the facts are laid out.

    • #26
  27. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    @bobthompson

    The Dems in Congress had investigators out in the field to determine if on Jan 6th, the current President incited the violence or not. They went forward with their impeachment before the investigators made their report. (If CNN can be believed.)

    I do like the notion of finding out how preparations for the 6th were so minimal, and just who it was that opened the gate to the US Capital building.

     

    • #27
  28. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    That even FOX News and most Republicans seem to have bought the “insurrection” narrative makes me expect Democrats to push extraordinary measures in the name of security for weeks or months. This looks like more theater. 

    • #28
  29. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    Whoever did this, Antifa or MAGA members, it makes little difference to me. Trump was playing with fire, and whether it was his enemies taking advantage of his error or his “friends”, it would not have happened if he had not held a rally, or minus that, had not told his supporters to protest the Congress.

    He also had the authority to ensure that Congress was protected beforehand.

    I don’t think Trump intended for this to happen. But morally he bears a not insignificant responsibility, regardless of the legalities of calling it incitement or insurrection. Politically and culturally he should pay a price.

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Al Sparks (View Comment):
    I don’t think Trump intended for this to happen. But morally he bears a not insignificant responsibility, regardless of the legalities of calling it incitement or insurrection. Politically and culturally he should pay a price.

    I think he has.

    • #30