Protecting the President

Via Breda we have this controversy that seems to be based on the fact that certain people on the right seem to be rather shocked that the Secret Service protects the President with guns, and tends to roll with an impressive amount of firepower.   The accusation here seems to be that the Secret Service guy muzzled the crowd, and we even have a very grainy photo as proof.  I’m not sure I agree with Breda that this is different than the Counter Assault Team.  In fact, I tend to believe that’s what people in the crowd saw.  This kind of firepower isn’t new either.  Look at this video from the 1981 assassination attempt against President Reagan:


The Secret Service agent who suddenly springs fourth an Uzi submachine gun is one of the iconic images of the Reagan assassination attempt.  I don’t think this is a good example of Obama’s administration being out of control.  In fact, I think it’s a bit hysterical.  Just because it comes from people on the right doesn’t make it any less so.

I want the Secret Service to do a good job of protecting Obama, and everyone who values their gun rights should feel the same way.   The Gun Control Act of 1968 was largely spurned by the assassination of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.  New Jersey’s draconian licensing laws date back to 1966, only two years after the assassination of President Kennedy.  Massachusetts passed licensing and registration for long guns in the wake of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.  The Brady Act arose out of the assassination attempt on President Reagan.

Assassinations are a major impetus for federal gun control.  If the Secret Service is running heavily armed with President Obama, I don’t have a problem.  If they were indeed muzzling a crowd, that’s another matter, but I don’t think anyone has provided any proof that was the case.  What seems more likely is we’re seeing accusations from someone on the right who is hysterical about guns (we all know they exist) or someone just looking for a reason, any reason, to make Obama look bad, and has decided to manufacture a controversy where none really exists.  There are certainly examples out there one can use to make President Hope and Change look bad, but I doubt this is one of them.

13 thoughts on “Protecting the President”

  1. First, see this picture:

    i am almost certain that they drive around like this regularly…

    secondly, i once participated in a ceremony for the first Bush… i was a boyscout holding a flag on the side of the state when he spoke at epcot…

    there were sniper teams visible on several roofs and visibly armed guards surrounding both the president and the limo the whole time except for when he was on stage speaking…

    to me, this is normal, not a major issue

  2. The photo is very grainy, but to me it looks like someone with a rifle hanging out over the hatch, but pointed down toward the ground, rather than aimed into the crowd. I doubt it’s standard protocol for Secret Service to sweep a crowd with a loaded rifle in the absence of an active threat.

  3. Sebastian, Thanks for that post. I find it an interesting point that front-page assassination attempts are what results in federal gun control laws. I hope none of the real fanatical lefties think of that.

  4. I too want Obama protected by as much firepower as possible. God forbid we’d have President Biden. I’m also all for letting Obama fail on his own, which he’s doing well ahead of schedule. At this rate, he’ll be impeached before his third year in office. If he were assassinated, he’d just become another martyr for the Socialist agenda and his incompetence will be forgotten.

    JFK (who was a damn sight better than BHO) was a terribly incompetent president when it came to foreign relations and put the whole country at risk by believing that we could negotiate peace with Khrushchev and the Soviets, but because he was shot by a Commie, suddenly he was the greatest POTUS of all time.Totally unqualified praise is lavished on Kennedy and his progeny based solely on the fact that he was assassinated. And let’s not even talk about all the idiotic left-wing conspiracy theories that have cropped up around it.

  5. I live in a suburb of DC and get to witness the secret service in action all the time. In fact, I once accidently road my bike through a secure zone and ended up cycling very close to President Clinton’s motorcade… kinda funny in retrospect. But I’ve seen the black SUVs driving around plenty of times, and I’ve been behind them in traffic to witness the agent looking straight back at me. And I’ve never seen them point a firearm out of the window.

    I have no problem with the president being protected with heavy firepower. I do wish he’d give us those same rights. But if the agents were pointing guns at the crowd, then that was wrong. Pointing a firearm at somebody is a violation of gun safety rules. It isn’t allowed at gun ranges. And if you do it out on the streets your gonna get your ass thrown in jail.

    Those photos are two blurry to make out what is going on, in my opinion.

  6. I can’t think of a bigger recent target than Obama would be. I have every confidence that Aryan Nation or others are contemplating something, giving that the targets for their particular bile is now occupying the Oval Office. So, I imagine the Secret Service might be a bit more edgy. I know I would be.

    Heck, maybe it’s safer if BHO is overseas. In any case, I certainly prefer the current to President Biden. Grainy pictures and rantings of someone who thought they saw something on a particular day don’t really add up to any sort of statistical curve leading to some nefarious conclusion.

  7. Most capitol hill police and secret service rifles (well, firearms) are pointed down most times.

    I’ve seen them in the suburbans with them pointed up on rare occaison – mostly as a function of space (they want them available to bring to action, if the trucks crowded if could get tight bringing a gun up and out of the window). That said, I’ve NEVER seen a secret service agent with his finger on the trigger, and so am not too concerned with a ND occurring (considering one hasn’t yet – and these guys are armed for war at all times is pretty telling).

    As far as this “controversy,” some people have too much time on their hands and/or are trying to drive page hits (which I can fully understand).

  8. Sebastian, I think you’ve got a reasonable take on this. I was in DC a lot in the Clinton years and saw his motorcade, and never saw an M4 in the back of the suburban, but the big dude glaring out the back (most likely with one in close reach) was there.

    I’m pretty sure Bush had (at least the big gorilla in the back of the suburban) m4’s in his motorcade. I think it’s a function of living in a post-9/11 world.

    I get pretty irritated with DHS/etc labeling people with views on the right potential domestic terrorists, but as far as the secret service goes, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they had information on a specific threat- I’m guessing they don’t publicize them.

    Plus, like Matt Groom said, I want Obama protected as well as possible. Not only because he is the President, but also to keep the words “President Biden” from ever being uttered.

  9. It’s a non-issue. How do you think the Secret Service snipers examine the crowd? Their rifle scopes are attached to a rifle, aren’t they?

  10. I never noticed the African-American secret service agent with his revolver upward at 0:14 scream, “You MOTHAF^#ER!”

    That’s an event I’d just as soon not witness.

  11. From

    The photo of the event shows the individual in question – the African American agent with the revolver – had his finger extended over the trigger guard, and not on the trigger.

    Considering what he was going through, that’s quite a testament to their training.

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