Thursday, April 14, 2005

United States Declares War On Tourism

Wasn't that a funny incident the other day? You know, the Aussie, of Chinese descent, going to the Capitol Building and asking, most politely I believe, to see President Bush. On being told that he wouldn't get an audience with the President he said that he would wait.

And wait he did. With his two suitcases. Quite patiently. Quite disconcertingly for the security guys who thought that he might be a suicide bomber. A SWAT team tackled him to the ground, long after evacuating the area. They then blew up his suitcases and found only clothes and parts for a CD player.

Apparently they wanted to charge him with "endangering the public". With what was he endangering the public? Maybe he was on a mission for the Free Trade Agreement. I must say, his manners were impeccable.

Now, isn't the world a safer place?


gleek said...

it's amazing that you got any information on that at all. here, i remember looking at the pictures on CNN of the secret service guys carrying that man off and leaving the suitcases behind. i was waiting for a news story that covered what happened next but... nothing. the american media has an awesome way of quashing any negative publicity. the guy just wanted to see the president! since when is THAT illegal?! ugh, this place is really starting to scare me.

Hammy said...

Oh, yeah. Big news over here. I guess the press has a little bit more freedom in what they report.

I can't imagine Dubya wanting any negative press about his administration. Humility is not a word he would have a grasp upon.

Hammy said...

We even got to see him tackled on the TV. Coverage was pretty good. I would love to have seen him pull off a few kung fu moves though and give the SWAT team some chop suey.

gleek said...

kung fu would have been funny.. but america is scary right now. wouldn't want to provoke jumpy SWAT members carrying guns. if you looked at them the wrong way, they could shoot you.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe said...

Okay, let me begin this with a disclaimer. I am far from a supporter of President Bush. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, allow me to make my pooint.

Are you saying that if I were to go to Australia and show up at Parliment House holding two suitcases and asking to speak with John Howard, I'd be immediately escorted to him?

Now before you answer, imagine that the events of 9/11 had occured in Sydney and Canberra as opposed to New York City and Washington, DC. -- and that Canberra was a thriving metropolis rather than a city that's out in the middle of nowhere.

Now further suppose that Australia was at war (let's leave the debate about the lack of justification for the war aside for a moment), and that the Hon John Howard MP was receiving let's say roughly 100 death threats every day. Do you think they'd let me see him then? Would they let me stand outside of Parliment with my suitcases possibly endagering your politicians and other innocent bystanders?

Lastly, let's assume that the police were a little jumpy based on the above, but they showed some restraint. Rather than harming me, they asked what was in the suitcase - as the SWAT team members did to the individual in the stor - and that I replied "You'll have to open it to find out." What would have happened then? My guess is that I'd be reading an essay from you about the stupid American who endangered the lives of so many innocent Aussies.

Sometimes, its just a matter of perspective, Hammy.

On a final note, you should be aware that the President operates out of the White House, not the Capital building. What he did was akin to someone going to Canberra and standing outside of the Senate or House of Representatives rather than the Prime Minister and Cabinet's offices.

Hammy said...


I was very surprised that the SWAT team didn't just shoot the guy. If this had happened in Melbourne, taking into account terrorism etc, then perhaps they would have. Victorian police are well known for shooting first and asking questions later. I must commend the SWAT team for their restraint and managing to capture the man without injury.

John Howard doesn't have to worry too much about death threats. Long ago he launched a gun buy-back and there aren't nearly as many weapons on the streets. Well, not guns anyway.

You're right - if you turned up at Parliament House and asked to see John Howard you wouldn't be escorted straight away to see him. Not unless you were a famous Australian cricketer or rugby player. You need to take your own 4WD and drive through the front door as one chap did a few years back. Even then you would need to go to the new Parliament House as old Parliament House is still standing.

You are correct about the White House being Dubya's workplace but I imagine he spends a bit of time at the Capitol Building addressing Congress also. Perhaps this guy should have gone to Camp David where the President seems to spend most of his time.

Perspective is a funny thing. I like to look at a situation and find the funny side of it. I'm not one to be taken too seriously. I must say though, you are well informed about our government, moreso than most Aussies.