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Friday, February 22, 2008

US Secret Service Halts Weapons Screening at Obama Rally in Dallas? Is This Story for Real?

[via Pam's House Blend]
Security details at Barack Obama's rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.

The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.

Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department's homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order -- apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service -- was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena's vacant seats before Obama came on.

"Sure," said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a "friendly crowd."

The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.

Dallas? Are you kidding me? Dallas? Given the reports of endless ugly threats and hate messages vomited at the Obama campaign from the maw of the right wing "culture of life" this is literally unbelievable. The 17,000 people seemed friendly, did they? I want clarification on this, immediately -- and complete National outrage if it is as bad as it sounds to ensure that nothing like this happens again.


Greg in Portland said...

It seems to be all over the news but all the links I found were either blogs or newspapers indicating the source was the Fort-Worth Star Telegram. So it's a single sourced story right now. I have no idea how reliable that paper is. Sadly I tend to think it will be found to be true.

I really hope if it is true that Obama's people didn't encourage this in some way so they could post big attendance numbers to "keep the momentum going". Texas is still Texas, as crazy today as it was in 1963. If I were Obama I'd be behind something that can stop a .50 cal rifle round or in a popemobile ALL the time myself. And I would have the bomb sniffing dogs there all the time too, not just metal detectors looking for guns. Preventing a black president is probably important enough to the lunatic right that there are a few who would consider joining the 72 virgins club to get rid of him.

seth said...

I share wholeheartedly the concern and outrage expressed here but have to ask, what exactly is the “72 virgins club?” I’m pretty sure it’s a reference to something you saw in The Siege, or maybe on 24, in which case you’re contributing to the Orientalist swill that rises to the top in film and television.

The “lunatic right” with its vested interest in making sure a black man isn’t elected, is the same lunatic right that depends on you, me, and everyone else in America swallowing wholesale its limp mythology about suicide bombing and terrorism in general. The job of convincing the average American that “we” are obliged to intervene in the world because of terrorism becomes a cakewalk when we absorb and are absorbed by this myth in at least two ways.

1. We remove from our view the political content of suicide bombings as seen by the bombers themselves. In one motion we make it impossible for us to understand what is actually taking place, and we turn the bomber into the material of our generalization and mythmaking. Political relevance is hidden altogether or reduced to the status of eccentricity, sexual or otherwise. People aren’t seen as blowing themselves up for political ends, like resisting occupation, but rather because they want to have sex slaves, or something equally eccentric, irrational, and preposterous. This at once eliminates the human status and agency of the bomber, and on our end of the myth makes us complicit by getting us to immediately dismiss the notion that political relevance is extant, much less worthy of being understood.

2. We normalize the eccentricity and irrationality that we projected onto the bombers when we depoliticized them. Since they only seem to be interested in terror and virgins, it follows that somestate or another will have to constantly be duking it out with “them.” That’s the way it is. We should get used to it.

As a general rule, people don’t blow themselves up to get laid. There are undoubtedly instances of that being the case, but I think it’s safe to say that for the most part, the suicide bombings we hear about are motivated by changeable political realities. Perpetuating language that hides those realities screws everyone.

(Besides, his particular myth isn’t even one of the better ones. I mean, seriously, the thought of having to deal with 72 virgins? Where’s the fun in that? It might be more plausible as a motivator if there were 72 different and exciting skill sets, or something along those lines.)

De Thezier said...

greg in portland said:

Preventing a black president is probably important enough to the lunatic right that there are a few who would consider joining the 72 virgins club to get rid of him.

In his January 2008 AlterNet article, First Black President?, Rory O'Connor wrote:

"It would be stunningly ironic if the buttoned-up, Ivy League, Law Review Barry Obama -- son of a white girl from Kansas, raised mostly in multiculti Hawaii by his white grandparents, once reviled in certain African-American circles as "not black enough" -- was first marginalized and ultimately undone by his own previously marginal blackness."

I would add that it would be tragedy if a "bi-racial" man like Obama was ultimately assassinated either before or after he is elected President of the United States because of his so-called "blackness"... :(

De Thezier said...

seth said:

We remove from our view the political content of suicide bombings as seen by the bombers themselves. In one motion we make it impossible for us to understand what is actually taking place, and we turn the bomber into the material of our generalization and mythmaking.

Excellent post!

For those interested, you should see the film Paradise now

The trailer is availble here:

You can also read a review of the film on the AlterNet:

The Psyche of Suicide Bombers
By Hala Shah, Beliefnet.
Posted November 4, 2005.

Greg in Portland said...

I certainly don't think we are "obliged to intervene because of terrorism" or any such thing. I regard the whole project of the American empire with utter contempt. Political factors (resistance to occupation) certainly are the main drivers of groups like the various factions in Iraq but I suspect that most of the actual bombers are people who've basically been subjected to some sort of brainwashing technology that has them thinking more of the next life than this one. There's a fairly standard set of things to do to people to get them into a receptive state. To ignore the power of religious ideas is as foolish as ignoring the political factors. Right wing groups here can employ the same techniques to create people like this and frankly there are many people here who've done their own brainwashing job and are more than willing to die for a "noble" cause like assassinating Obama even acting without group support. Ever seen the video of the guy in Colorado who built his own tank (the townpeople called it the killdozer) with a modified bulldozer? The improvised concrete armor was all one piece and he had to lower it onto the bulldozer with a crane. There were no escape hatches. He knew he wasn't coming out alive. These people are resourceful, clever and crazy as shithouse rats.

Now proceed to tell me I'm being insensitive to rats that live in shithouses or whatever. And no I've never watched 24 or the Siege, whatever that is.

Dale Carrico said...

I was happy to see Seth's comment, because he made a number of worthwhile points that aren't made nearly often enough -- not to mention, it's just a pleasure to find intelligent people of a dem-left cast of mind outnumbering the facile libertopians and kooky Robot Cultists in the Moot for a change -- but I am not sure that I agree that Greg's comment would necessarily demand Seth's as a response.

I doubt Seth would deny the function of True Belief in exacerbating outrageous violence in fundamentalist social formations (in all their many judeochrislamic incarnations, among many others still, including, one must insist certain variations of priestly reductionist scientisms in an eliminationist mood), just as I doubt Greg would hesitate to endorse the point and the force of the point that racist and orientalizing accounts of such violence often function to demonize vulnerable victims of violence while justifying nativist violences exactly as awful as the ones they presumably decry.

Walk. Chew gum. Same time.