Capitol shutdown highlights manic panic of post-9/11 mentality
The over hyped false alarm of a construction drill that caused a mass
panic over rumors of gunshots in the Rayburn Building on Friday and the way
in which it was reported by the servile media was a means of indoctrinating
Americans to the procedure of martial law lock down of a major city.
Following reports of gunfire in the Rayburn Building, House members were ordered
to stay inside and shut all the doors. Parts of the Capitol complex, including
the Capitol itself, were locked down during the height of the search.
In addition, the Washington
Post reported that schools not just on Capitol Hill but "throughout
the city" were also placed on lock down.
Police went door to door inside the buildings as an FBI SWAT team ordered House
members to put their hands on their heads and frog marched them out of a committee
room and through a metal detector.
Two women reported a man with a gun inside a Rayburn gym as another panicked
and had to be taken to hospital. The gunman turned out to be a plain clothed
police officer and the source of the 'gunfire' was an air hammer or a pneumatic
drill being used in construction work on nearby elevator.
The construction drill created the perfect mandate for another type of drill,
that of authoritarian martial law city shutdown. The opportunity to parade SWAT
teams, sniffer dogs, police with assault weapons and armed FBI tactical units
wearing flak jackets did not go to waste.
Americans were told in no uncertain terms that in times of crisis, the men
in black uniforms enforcing mandatory relocation and quarantines were here to
Fox News were salivating over the non-incident to the same degree that
they rubbed their hands over the Pentagon tape flop. After two and a half hours
of continual coverage and with it becoming blindingly obvious that there was
no shooting incident, Fox told its viewers that they were seeing "our government
work and work the way it is supposed to do," despite the fact that the
lurking enemy to which our omnipotent government was responding was nothing
more than a work tool.
Hounds pointed out, Fox was not going let an opportunity to showcase the
police state go to waste.
"Why did Fox News stick with blanket coverage so long, preempting its
regular coverage? Fox News loves pictures of people in uniforms with guns. Such
images reinforce the perception that Americans live in constant danger and must
keep the growing police state atmosphere in place regardless of the cost in
terms of civil liberties. In other words, "See what could happen, America?
This is why the government needs to spy on you, track your phone calls, and
who knows what else. We're here to protect you."
Fox's Catherine Herridge even went so far as to say that the whole incident
was a learning curve for terrorists to judge police reaction. The pounding fear-driven
specter of terrorists, alarm and panic was carefully interwoven into what otherwise
was a complete non-event.
Following the confirmation that the whole charade was a false alarm, Fox relentlessly
pressed on and bizarrely interlinked the concept of jailing reporters who publish
sensitive information with misinterpreted construction noises.
Regular panics and false alarms plague the House and Senate complex and the frenzy
and trepidation of the scare is always paraded across television networks to full
In May 2004 US News and World Report and others reported that the US election
could be cancelled
in the event of a terror attack on the Capitol Building in Washington. The
magazine said that White House officials were under a "working premise"
that an attack was inevitable and that it was "going to happen." It
was reported that the administration was conducting secret antiterrorism exercises
in preparation for this scenario.
So it follows that on June 10 2004, the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court were
when a small plane entered restricted airspace during the funeral procession
of former President Ronald Reagan.
The terror and consternation was encapsulated by a Washington
Post report on the incident.
Scores of members of Congress and thousands of staffers poured out the doors
as police officers shouted, "This is not a drill!"
"As they fled, some people dropped briefcases and women flung off high heels.
Amy Call, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), said
police told people to "run, get out of the Capitol," because of the
"imminent" approach of an airplane.
Nearby on the Mall, U.S. Park Police and Capitol Police ordered people to flee.
"Do not stop," officers yelled. "Keep moving."
"Ladies and gentlemen, let's move like our lives depend on it. I mean
it!" a D.C. police officer screamed."
Similar alarms occurred again in 2004 and 2005, providing the media with images
of panic-stricken politicians and others running from the Capitol as armed SWAT
teams swarmed around barking orders, invoking memories of people clamoring to
escape the wave of dust on New York City streets as the twin towers collapsed
These scenes have become the archetype for the post-9/11 American security
obsessed mentality and they are being ceaselessly recreated in order to inculcate
Americans with a sense of dread and a prevailing message that in times of emergency,
whether real or manufactured, the government is your boss and you will follow
their every order, no matter how brutal, in order to ensure everyone's safety.