History

The Spirit of 1976

The thing that's gotten crazier in America is the way people react to craziness.

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Miriam Carey, RIP

Writing in The Nation, Rick Perlstein contrasts Miriam Carey, the unarmed woman who was shot by police this week after an altercation at the White House gate, with Chester Plummer, the man shot when he scaled the president's fence in 1976. Carey has received much more attention than Plummer did, not just from the press but from the police, about a hundred of whom descended on her apartment to search it after Carey died. "What the hell?" Perlstein writes. "She's dead. She suffered from mad delusions. She had a 1-year-old child in tow. What did they think they were going to find, evidence of credible plans for a coup d'état?"

It's another sign, Perlstein suggests, of "our culture of fear, and how much more frantically we respond to scary stuff than we did in decades past."

Ah, you say, but times have changed. Clearly they have, but not necessarily in the ways you thought. The thing that's gotten crazier in America is the way people react to craziness:

There's terrorism now, they say. But there was terrorism then, nearly every month—eighty-nine bombings attributed by the FBI to terrorism in 1975, culminating in that awful LaGuardia bomb; and a veritable wave in the winter and spring 1976, much of it around the trial of Patty Hearst: of an FBI office in Berkeley, Standard Oil of California headquarters in San Francisco. Americans didn't freak out, or shut down, or exhibit symptoms of PTSD. They had a massive outdoor national 200th birthday party.

My bulletproof vest is chafing me.

There's the threat of presidential assassinations, they say. Of course there is: then, too. In September of 1975 President Ford weathered two attempts on his life in two weeks—the first from a madwoman who claimed her International Tribunal now marked 3,000 people for execution, "if they didn't stop harming the environment and projecting distorted sex images into the media"—though their wives would be "hacked to death" first. Prior to the second one, Ford had taken off his bulletproof vest because he found it too confining. How did he respond to the attempts? He chose to go out in public more. On the second day of Ronald Reagan's campaign to replace him, that November, a 20-year-old from Pompano Beach who had already threatened the lives of the president and the vice-president pulled out what turned to be a toy .45 caliber pistol and was wrestled to the ground by three Secret Service agents.

The following spring the Associated Press reported that the FBI and Secret Service were investigating the testimony of an undercover informant that a "commando-style assassination team" from the San Francisco Bay area was planning attempts on candidate Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford's lives at the Republican convention in Kansas City, "designed to throw the convention into complete chaos." The Chicago Tribune's report contributed the detail, "From the intelligence we have been able to gather, the terror groups want to move their emphasis from bombings to other violent acts in the urban guerrilla handbook, like assassinations and kidnappings." And yet the two party conventions came and went without any particular extra security.

Dammit: My '70s nostalgia is kicking in again.

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  1. http://iranian.com/posts/view/post/21969

    Yes, I understand the source. But I agree with the sentiment. Way to go for these pigs to shoot an unarmed mother.

    1. Reminds me of “Yellow Belly” on SCTV.

  2. Miriam Carey, the unarmed woman who was shot by police this week after an altercation at the White House gate

    Really Walker? That’s how you’re describing the events?

    I think you might be leaving out a couple of important details.

    What a joke this place is.

    1. Really Walker? That’s how you’re describing the events?

      If there’s an inaccuracy in there, let me know and I’ll correct it.

      I think you might be leaving out a couple of important details.

      Readers who want more details can follow the link from “shot by police.”

      1. LOL. I’m sure you’d be just as sanguine about a news org referring to this story as Fullerton cops having an altercation with a loiterer, and providing a link (that goes to another page with a skewed story, itself providing only a link for those who want the actual facts).

      2. Don’t feed the troll Jesse.

        1. Operation Echo Chamber is moving along nicely.

          1. Is that what you call the thing holding your neck down?

          2. Don’t let that door stand in your way, piss-boy.

            1. What a joke this place bitch Tulpa is.

    2. What about that statement is counter-factual?

      She didn’t “ram the White House gate” as has been repeated ad nauseum in sensationalist news accounts.

      1. No, she just rammed the barriers in front of the White House checkpoint, hit a cop with her car, tore off down PA Avenue, then rammed a Secret Service car and hit six more people near the Capitol.

        Altercation doesn’t really do it justice, does it?

        1. [citations required]

          1. It’s [citation needed], and I’ll let you look at the wikipedia article yourself.

            1. From what I’ve read, and the videos I’ve seen, a woman hit a barricade pulled out in front of her by an agent who mat have been in plain clothes (according to some witnesses) who attempted to get her to stop, she stepped on the gas and as they moved the barrier in front of her, she struck both the barrier and agent… and sped off in a panic.

              Next I see a video of a panicked driver trying to avoid a swarm of cops, both screaming and shooting at her. I can understand her being in a panic as her car was struck with a hail of gunfire…

              The only other cop I have heard was injured in the incident was this guy, so if you had some other insight into it, I was interested in hearing it. henceforth [citations required] [citation needed]…

              1. Pathogen, if you’re giving me the [citation needed] treatment, you need something better than speculation and “videos I’ve seen” for your own claims.

                1. Without source, you were doing the same…

                  1. I’m not the one throwing up [citation needed] in response to widely known facts.

                    1. No, you were asserting “she just rammed the barriers in front of the White House checkpoint, hit a cop with her car, tore off down PA Avenue, then rammed a Secret Service car and hit six more people near the Capitol.” without any source…

                    2. in response to widely known facts.

                      What widely known facts?

                  2. But if it makes you happy, here’s a source, provided by Walker below.

                    “The guys ran to try to stop her, and she wasn’t going to slow down, so they jumped aside,” said B. J. Campbell, a tourist from Portland, Ore., who was standing near the White House. “One of the guys grabbed one of those little metal fence sections and shoved it in front of her, across the driveway. She hit the brakes slightly and tried to get around it on the right, but the guy shoved it in front of her again, to try to keep her in.”

                    Mr. Campbell said the woman “hit the gas, ran over the barricade” and hit the officer, who flipped onto the hood of the car and “rolled off into the gutter.”

                    “After she ran him down, she gunned it, and she just went screaming down Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said. “They were busy calling on their phones, on the radios. It was like poking a hornet nest. There were guys everywhere. I didn’t see anyone with their guns out, but they were sure busy.”

                    1. Fair enough, thanks…

                    2. Good. Now that we’ve settled it I can return to getting my jollies on that site with the girls stuck in mud. Please don’t interrupt me again.

                    3. “.. on that site with the girls stuck in mud…”

                      [citation req…. fuck it, never mind…

            2. After reading the wiki article, you seem to be playing loose with the facts. According to the wiki article:

              Miriam Carey struck one of the White House barriers …

              … she eluded the box in by backing into one of the Secret Service cruisers …

              … and nearly striking half a dozen uniformed Secret Service officers …

              1. Right on dude; she was just giving those barriers and SS cars love taps, was she?

                1. Right on dude; she was just giving those barriers and SS cars love taps, was she?

                  Just quoting your wiki article. When I hear the word “ram”, I get a different picture in my mind than “struck” and “backing into”. Seeing the video, “backing into” is not very accurate, either, but it I wouldn’t call it “ramming”, either. I haven’t seen any video of her hitting the barrier, but there didn’t seem to be noticeable damage to the car that a “ramming” would suggest.

                  I tried to find a cite to your “hit six more people” but couldn’t find anything. If you’re referring to the “nearly striking” reference, then you definitely have your facts wrong on that.

                  1. She threatened the lives of Top Men and their coterie of guardians. Of course she deserved to be executed.

          2. Well…that is what happened. Nothing Tulpa said is wrong, and I do agree that Walker posting that story as ‘unarmed women shot by cops’ was hugely disingenuous.

            I still don’t know that the cops were justified in shooting her. I’ve heard conflicting stories, but one of them had her on foot by the time she was shot. Obviously that would be an unjustified shooting since she was unarmed. I’m not sure if it actually happened that way or if that was just an early report though.

            1. I actually agree about the justifiability of the shooting being questionable; we don’t have enough facts.

              But far too many people are painting this as a poor innocent person being shot by cops. Sorry, you do what she did, you forfeit your life IMHO. It would be nice if the cops could end the threat in a nonviolent way, but in no way mandatory.

              1. Sorry, you do what she did, you forfeit your life IMHO.

                Tulpa as jury, judge & executioner.

              2. Sorry, you do what she did, you forfeit your life IMHO. It would be nice if the cops could end the threat in a nonviolent way, but in no way mandatory.

                Absolutely.

                Why should a military occupying force act like peace officers

                1. Yeah, they’re a fucking occupying force because they tried to stop a crazy person from driving into the White House and Capitol.

                  This place is such a joke.

                  1. hey tried to stop a crazy person from driving into the White House and Capitol.

                    I thought the barriers did that.

              3. Sorry, you do what she did, you forfeit your life IMHO.

                Eat shit, you cowardly little bootlicker. There a number of medical reasons that she could have been confused and not comprehending what was going on around her. Thank zod our brave boys in blue have any number of non-lethal responses that they can use in those situations, like an unarmed woman with a toddler in the back seat, which they should have easily seen when they surrounded the car, and can avoid resorting to shooting them.

                I’ll just note that you support the summary execution of people with mental illness, who put cops in a nominal amounts of danger.

              4. If Squeaky Fromm had tried her stunt today, she would have left the scene in a body bag weighed down by police rounds lodged in her body, and crowds of crime scene technicians would have been gathering up as many of the round that missed as they could locate. Instead she’s serving her sentence in some California prison.

                The article was speaking to that change, not to whether specific details should have led to specific outcomes.

            2. It certainly looks like she was more than just confused and scared. We’ll almost certainly never know now what her motivation was. I hope that we will get more actual facts about what happened at some point, but for now I’m looking at this as weird and fucked up and not necessarily a case of police overreaction (though I am strongly inclined to say that there must have been some way to end it besides killing her and I bet that if it had occurred somewhere besides near the capital they wouldn’t have been quite so hot to shoot).

        2. You would have pulled the trigger on her, wouldn’t you, Tulps?

          1. I guess the right to self-defense has an exception for “unarmed” people trying to run you over with their car.

            Unarmed, in the same sense the 9/11 hijacker pilots were unarmed when they crashed into the towers.

            1. Unarmed, in the same sense the 9/11 hijacker pilots were unarmed when they crashed into the towers.

              My understanding is that she was shot after crashing her car and trying to flee on foot. If she was in fact still driving, I would not call her unarmed.

              1. Reports I’ve seen said she was still in the car, temporarily stuck on a median.

                1. The New York Times said she “managed to get out of the car, and was shot by several officers.”

                  1. Well, there are conflicting reports.

                    Still, hardly a mere “altercation”.

                    1. http://www.vnews.com/news/nati…..to-capitol

                      Up there, 46-year-old tourist Edmund Ofori-Attah was walking toward the Hart building to ask if it was open for tours. With most of Washington’s top attractions shut down, touring an office building sounded better than nothing.

                      Then he saw a black car whiz past. It abruptly turned left, as if to make a U-turn, and lodged itself on a grassy divide.

                      “That’s where it got pinned,” he said. “At that point, we heard five to six rounds of gunfire and my wife and I dropped to the ground. We were hoping not to get in the way of a stray bullet ? we just lay down as low as possible. We even smelled the gunpowder in the air.”

                      The final shots were fired there, on that median. Police said they were not sure how many officers had fired or how many times the woman was shot.

                      Wait till the facts are in, ATFPAPIC, etc.

                    2. Ah, finally after all that protestations, you admit the are conflicting reports. How generous of you.

                      Do you ever actually wait for facts, or is jumping to conclusions your natural habit?

                    3. Ah, finally after all that protestations, you admit the are conflicting reports.

                      There are details that aren’t settled, but what is known for sure makes Jesse’s description a bit skewed.

                  2. Additionally I have a hard time believing she was able to get out of the car and flee on foot with the car surrounded by SS agents. The incompetence of the BO admin never ceases to amaze, but that would be a pretty low bar.

                    1. That witness doesn’t say whether she was in the car or not. Note also that the Times piece does not claim she got far from the car.

                      As for “altercation”: I picked that word because it’s broad enough to cover all the scenarios that folks have been throwing around, from the ones where she was actively trying to hurt people to the ones where she just panicked. The only other phrase I could think of that might have worked, given the need to identify her in a compressed way and then move on to the point of the post, would be “car chase.” And that risks losing the focus on what she had in common with Plummer.

                    2. Are you getting charged by the word or something?

                      Car chase wouldn’t work either, since that doesn’t include the ramming and hitting people.

                    3. You really are a piece of work. You go batshit crazy over a word which could be taken as dry humor, or an admission that not all the facts are in, or any number of things. Not you, though, it’s evidence of how crazy Jesse, reason, and all libertarians are. One can practically hear you spitting in frustrated agony in comment after comment, pounding away one one fresh keyboard after another as you break them.

                      And then to post that the action of a bunch of over-caffeinated cops is probably the fault of the President?

                      “Tulpa” … what a name. What a loser.

                    4. It’s not the first time this has happened. It’s a pattern I see again and again in the new Reason, particularly in cop-related stories. They gloss over the actions of the person who got shot/tased/beaten so as to make whatever the police did look worse.

                    5. “”…so as to make whatever the police did look worse…””

                      [Officer GILMORE pauses while stepping on neck of woman’s Chiuaua]

                      “What He Said!!”

                      [Shoots dog]

                2. Reports I’ve seen said she was still in the car, temporarily stuck on a median.

                  That’s pretty close to unarmed. Define ‘temporarily’. In that, the tow truck hadn’t gotten there because she was high-centered?

                  Thank god all of DC was surrounded by patrol rifles.

        3. No, she just rammed the barriers in front of the White House checkpoint, hit a cop with her car, tore off down PA Avenue, then rammed a Secret Service car and hit six more people near the Capitol.

          In Washington State, that’s called Supreme Court Bobbe Bridge after a few glasses of wine. She did some speeches. Boom, back on the job.

          1. I suspect that anywhere except near the capital district in DC this would have ended differently.

            1. why do you hate Teh Leaders? we must protect the wize ones who make our freedoms more better.

  3. “She suffered from mad delusions.”

    Of course, these “authorities” would never smear the victim’s mental state as a cover story to diminish the victims credibility, and vindicate their actions… that’s delusional… Raiding her apartment was an entirely sensible approach to “making their cover story plausible by fabricating evidence” protect us from terrorists…

    1. “”She suffered from mad delusions”””

      she supported obamacare and believed the sequester was killing babies

      there was a trail of froth leading back to CT

  4. Man, less than 13 years now until the quarter-millennial on July 4, 2026.

  5. The 1970s were, in so many ways, “peak freedom” for the US.

    1. Some ways, maybe, but not many. I’d say the local max on nearly all measures wasn’t hit until at least the 1980s.

  6. ’70s terrorism was mostly domestic left wing

    Now that the left wing has essentially won, and controls almost every aspect of the government (and media), obviously they are going to have a different opinion on it.

    1. Things are so much different now that they’re able to channel their basic terrorist urges into practiced tyranny.

    2. Ah, but this ancient history pales in comparison to the viscious Right Wing Terrorism which progressives defend themselves against daily.

      you know, like Ted Cruz, teh constitution, free association, private property, science, charter schools, etc

  7. I’m starting to think that Dunphy was Tulpa’s sock puppet, or vice versa.

    1. you’re only saying that because you’re founding and core member of the bigorati

      hth

    2. Yep, everyone who dissents from the prevailing view is really one person!

      1. What prevailing view? What Walker wrote was accurate in both the connotative and denotative sense. You’re the one who reads complex layers of negative meaning into one word. You did the same thing when Mitt Romney was covered in these pages too. It’s borderline paranoia.

        1. So I’ll ask you, would you be OK with a news outlet referring to “convicted cop-killer Ryan Frederick” without giving the details? Or in my previous example, referring to what happened to Kelly Thomas as “an altercation with police”.

          1. Do we know the full details of Ms. Carey’s incident with certainty?

            No, we don’t. That was Walker’s point to you.

            1. Until you know what color socks she was wearing, you can’t state that she hit a cop, rammed a barricade, rammed a police car, and the other things that are indisputable.

              And of course, Walker had no trouble sharing the details that she was unarmed and that she was shot by police!

              1. Just understand that Tulpy-poo has no trouble adopting the vernacular of our rulers in order to justify their lethal actions.

                You can’t go messing about with syntax that would threaten the legitimacy of brown-nosing authority.

                1. Looks like no one’s going to answer the question about whether it would be OK to refer to Kelly Thomas’ beating as an “altercation”. Which says a lot about the integrity around here.

      2. Yep, everyone who dissents from the prevailing view is really one person!

        I was using humor to point out that you are increasingly a reflexive defender of cops.

        1. Yeah, well, what do you expect with the knee
          -jerk cop hate which flows from these pages.

          because you know every other news source also instantly questions police conduct. Reason just unecessarily piles on to the tidal wave of police suspicion. its pathetic. how dare they.

        2. I was using humor to point out that you are increasingly a reflexive defender of cops.

          Which would explain my statement questioning the justifiability of the shooting?

          If anyone’s reflexing here it ain’t me, it’s Reason and some of its groupies.

  8. Nothing about her photo, in contrast to most other women, says “delusional” or “mad woman.” I mean, all it takes is a glance at a Michelle Obama photo to make a person jump a little, cringe then instantly think to themselves “mental illness, psychosis, delusion and madness!”

    1. You’ve got to keep staring at it until the smile becomes maniacal, the eyes dead…

  9. How is it possible that every square inch for a mile around the capitol/whitehouse is not surveilled by cameras 24 hrs/day?

    Shouldnt this entire altercation be on video? All I have seen so far are snippets of poorly shot camera-phone videos by tourists.

    I smell a rat.

    1. How is it possible that every square inch for a mile around the capitol/whitehouse is not surveilled by cameras 24 hrs/day?

      If it were Reason would be up in arms about that too.

      Most of the area in question is grassy open space, so it would be kind of hard to install a camera.

      I smell a rat.

      None of the videos we do have give any reason to dispute the official narrative.

      1. you’re just going to come on here and corpsefuck the thread until you’ve “won”, aren’t you?

        1. “victory” is when people stop feeding the lad’s sense of righteousness. Because when crazy people gets shot, too many questions is unpatriotic and shit.

          FWIW, with a schizophrenic brother, i do expect a story like this someday, where some odd ‘altercation’ results in his (unarmed) death. Because ‘crazy’ is apparently licence to kill these days.

          1. Tell me where the fuck I said people should not ask questions.

            If you bothered to read the thread you’d see I explicitly said I’m not sure of the justifiability of the shooting.

            Walker wasn’t “asking questions”, indeed he was squelching questions by glossing over what happened.

        2. It’s still an active thread. Look at all the comments after mine, including yours in which you can’t even come up with an argument.

          That said, I’d take a dead horse beater over a purveyor of ad hominems any day.

      2. “Most of the area in question is grassy open space, so it would be kind of hard to install a camera.”

        Really? I see light poles all over the place near the WH.

  10. I would guess that the Reagan assassination attempt is responsible for most of the security theater nowadays.

    1. I can see that, although in the larger sense, the “culture of fear” that’s in place now can be attributed more to the effects of mass society and all the various social ills that accompany it. We’re rather quickly migrating from a highly-organized, high-trust nation to a hyper-organized, low-trust nation.

      1. We’ve definitely become a nation of pussies – which infects the cops too and manifests as a willingness to use excessive force at the drop of a pin.

        I blame the media.

  11. Ah, you say, but times have changed. Clearly they have, but not necessarily in the ways you thought.

    I can tell you what happened.

    We now have a generation of parents who were fed a steady diet of 24-hours news channels growing up, which delight on not sparing the slightest detail about every sex offence, every missing child, every salacious murder, every supposed threat to their health, every outlier trend, which they will reinforce through repetition, no matter how incredulous the information is to begin with. Now, every risk is an intolerable risk.

    The only thing you have to fear is HOLY FUCK WHAT IS THAT UNSEEN THING AROUND THE CORNER!? Welcome to Generation Pearl-clutch.

    1. That’s been happening as long as we’ve had mass culture.

      Remember the daycare sex abuse epidemics of the 90s?

      Or the satanic cult heyday of the 80s?

      Or the homosexual recruiting brigades of the 70s?

      Or…. you get the idea. It doesn’t require 24/7 news.

      1. Remember the daycare sex abuse epidemics of the 90s?

        All driven by scumbag DA’s, looking to score political points by ruining people’s lives.

        Or the satanic cult heyday of the 80s?

        Politicians and idiot parents.

        Or the homosexual recruiting brigades of the 70s?

        Did you got caught up in one of their dragnets? I was a teenager in the 70’s and never even heard of that.

        Or…. you get the idea. It doesn’t require 24/7 news.

        You’re conflating hysterical reaction to the boogeyman and political witch hunts with widespread pussification of our culture, and that which sees threats to their little snowflakes everywhere. Do try and keep up.

  12. The obvious difference between now and the 70’s is 24/7 cable news.

  13. Fuck the secret service. The president should be protected only by ceremonial Swiss clowns who are permitted no actual powers.

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