Were They Trick-or-Treating as Squeaky Fromme?


Yesterday, reports the AP, a couple of House staffers brought Halloween costumes to work that apparently featured a toy gun.

How did the Barney Fifes running the security op at the Capitol respond? As Marvel Comics auteur Stan Lee used to say, read on Macduff:

Start to finish, the incident lasted two hours or less ? but it triggered a massive security response in a time of terrorism worries. Police in battle gear moved into the House's Cannon office building in pursuit of suspects. Across the street, the House was placed into an unscheduled recess for the first time since the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.

[U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terence] Gainer said the staff aides had stopped to chat with security personnel after placing a bag on a security station X-ray belt at the entrance to the office building, then went into their building. Moments later, security officials noticed the image of a gun on a video screen, and triggered an alarm.

Beyond underscoring the lameness of Capitol Hill security, the accounts I've read fail to answer the most important question raised by the story: What the hell was the costume?

NEXT: Nothing to See Here?

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  1. “Moments later, security officials noticed the image of a gun on a video screen”

    I noticed the article said the staffer wouldn?t be charged. I didn?t see anything about the “security” guards in question. Not only did they fail to check the bag as it went through, they couldn?t remember who they had just talked to.

    Isn?t everyone glad that security at all our airports has been federalized to raise the performance standards and qualifications?

  2. I think the real issue here is why on earth was this woman wearing her Halloween costume on the day before Halloween? Was she going to wear the same thing tomorrow or a different costume?

  3. Lots of federal employees in DC are allowed to work on what’s called flex-time, which gives them every other Friday off in exchange for an extra hour of work every Mon – Thur. She may have had today off as a result of her flex-time arrangements

  4. An unintended sidenote. This story shoots holes in Senator Kennedy?s recent campaign to reauthorize his 1980s legislation and permanently ban possession and manufacture of (functioning) plastic guns.

    “Everybody knows” such guns slip easily through scanners. Now we realize it?s PEBCAK.

  5. um,

    James Merritt, “Neb Okla, bless you and the Central Standard Timezone”… um, ohio is in the eastern time zone…

    still, that musta been great seeing that on tv!

    most excellent and happy halloween!


  6. “I think the real issue here is why on earth was this woman wearing her Halloween costume on the day before Halloween?” The real real issues is, why can’t you read? She went out shopping on her lunch hour, shopping for her costume, which she will, I hope, wear tonight.

  7. I cannot tell you how reassured I am to know that the Congress is staffed with youg people so bright as to tote an apparent firearm through a security checkpoint. I trust they bring the same judgment to the advice they give to our tribunes of the people.

  8. I only have one response to Nick Gillespie’s very cool offhand reference to Stan Lee:


  9. As someone who has to get on an airplane in two weeks, I am a bit more worried about airport security. If this is the level of security the government provides for itself, how good is what they are providing to the public.

  10. Congress is staffed with youg people so bright

    Congress is staffed with young bright people? Or just kids who get/got A’s in poli sci classes?

  11. I wonder if they were dressed up as disgruntled postal workers?

  12. Maybe they were Democrats dressed up like NRA members to scare their bosses.

  13. She was dressing up as a character from the TV Show Alias, Sydney Bristow, a secret agent.

  14. Maybe they were dressing up as Annie Oakley like Anne Currie did this morning on the Today Show.

    Any major network anchor who has guts to report the news with a plastic Winchester Rifle slung across her lap in this time of prepetual handwringing has my greatest appreciation.

    And not forgetting Annie Oakley (the only Ohio native who shot the ash off fo a Kaiser’s cigarette… that I know of!), I leave you with one of her quotes:

    “If women and girls would learn to shoot, they would add to their happiness by falling in love with one of the finest outdoor sports.”
    — Annie Oakley

  15. And damn’d be him that first cries, “Hold, enough!”

  16. Neb Okla, bless you and the Central Standard Timezone!

    I just read your message about Ann as Annie at 8:30 AM PST. I snapped on the tube and was greeted with the sight of Ann riding into the Plaza on horseback, holding her Winchester high!

    Can’t wait to see her doing the news with that oh-so-politically incorrect prop.

    Roker and Lauer as Simon and Garfunkel were very funny, too, murdering “Cecilia” as they did. And as I write this, here’s Katie Couric as Mary Poppins, tempting Al and Matt with a spoonful of some white powdery substance that would look pretty damned illegal to me if I worked for the DEA.

    Apparent felonies (and much unintended humor) all around! As Chief Clancy says on the Simpsons, “take ’em away, boys.”

  17. Err … Chief Clancy WIGGUM (for those not on a first name basis with his toonship as I am :-).

  18. Last from me for this morning: I just remembered that Ann C. was Lady Liberty (as in Statue of…) last year. Is she trying to tell us something? Could she perhaps be the secret NBC counterpart to ABC’s John Stossel?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

  19. “You’ve got the wrong number, this is, 9-1-2.” – Chief Wiggum.


    PS So, nobody has figured out what the costume was?

  20. Regarding the owner of the toy gun, Andrew was right. From the Washington Post (

    >>>The weapon seen on the X-ray machine turned out to be a plastic .38-caliber revolver, intended to help one of the women portray “Alias” television character Sydney Bristow at a Halloween party. No charges were filed against the women, who apologized to police.

  21. drf says, “James Merritt, ‘Neb Okla, bless you and the Central Standard Timezone’… um, ohio is in the eastern time zone…”

    James says, “I didn’t know Neb Okla was writing from Ohio. I just assumed Neb stood for Nebraska and Okla for Oklahoma, both on CST. My bad (I guess?!?)”

    Anyway, you can’t take away the memory of Ann C. toting a rifle! Sweet!

  22. EMAIL:
    DATE: 02/27/2004 04:33:25
    ‘Of course’ is cyanide of the mind.

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