UPDATE AND DISCLAIMER: In response to several nasty comments on the critical tone of this post: it is to criticize the work of the United States Secret Service in principle, even though they are “doing their job”.
Read carefully: I said I LIKE Obama.
I could not believe what I heard when I watched today’s press conference of the Czech Police with respect to U.S. President Barack Obama’s weekend (April 4-5) visit.
People who live along the route of Obama’s planned airport-to-hotel motorcade ride were told to stay indoors and leave their windows closed. The commissioner of the Czech Police provided a simple-folk Cletus-esque explanation along the lines of “if Obama’s snipers see you make strange movements in your window, you might be shot”. He really did suggest this…
I like Obama and I understand precautions must be made. And I understand that the U.S. Secret Service has had a you-fucked-up hard time since the Kennedy assassination. I understand all of the above but what the FUCK is this?
A law enforcement officer from another country may fire at a Czech (most definitely) citizen who is in his/her own residence under the rule “first shoot, then ask questions”? During a high-speed ride it must be tough for the agents to assess the situation. But an ordinary Czech citizen should NOT be afraid of a U.S. armed agent making a mistake.
UPDATE: Imagine an elderly, yet 6ft tall man who is almost deaf, has no family and reads only gardening magazines and porn. He has no idea that the police have advised against using balconies – and he might end up being shot by an agent who is trained to make decisions in under one second just because the circumstances under which the Secret Service people protect their president are incompatible with Czech lifestyle and habits…
Any use of a firearm by a Czech police officer is subject to lengthy Internal Affairs investigation and those who mess up – tragically, that is – always face a trial and imprisonment.
And now we are told that some people won’t be able to use their own apartment the way they want to… and if they do, they might end up with a bullet in their head.
By the way, a Czech citizen who kills an American president will most likely serve 12-15 years in prison with the possibility to be released on parole after 4-10 years. Life sentence is possible, but not automatic.
UPDATE 2: The Marines unloaded Marine One in Prague today. There. Wherever Obama has to get, he can fly. And everybody’s happy.
UPDATE 3: Some readers suggested that this argumentation is insensitive, to say the least. The thing is that both a guest and a host shall stick to some rules. Bloggers everywhere have noticed Michelle Obama breaking the British royal protocol. Likewise, Czechs who do not elect their president(s) can not be expected to accept the fact that they can not open their window if a foreign politician visits their country. Whenever American politicians visit culturally different countries (like Arab nations) I am pretty sure they adopt measures to make sure they do not offend their HOSTS. Same things here…