May 26, 2006

Gunfire in the Capitol Office Building.

CNN reports.

UPDATE: Apparently, it was jackhammers.


Bruce Hayden said...

The quote I liked was from Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan, who was apparently conducting a House Intelligence Committee hearing at the time.

'Hoekstra interrupted a witness to tell those at the hearing to remain in the room and said doors must be closed.

"It's a little unsettling to get a Blackberry message put in front of you that says there's gunfire in the building," he said'

Don't you love technology?

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I saw that on TV. He was pretty calm, smiling, saying everyone should stay put, which is what they tell you even when it's bad advice.

Goesh said...

Dick Cheney plinking at a tin can in the garage, wanting to save a range fee..? I was going to say high-handed Clarence Thomas but I don't believe he is a shooter.

Tibore said...

"They said they heard gunfire in the Rayburn garage, but this is a huge building, I'm guessing it's a car backfiring or balloons popping," Gene Smith, chief of staff to Rep. Howard Berman, D-California, told The Associated Press. Berman has an office in Rayburn."

Not to be overly Pollyannaish, but I hope this is a false alarm. There are no reports of injuries. And the police seem sort of relaxed about it.

Then again -- and no disrespect to Mr. Smith there -- but he is just guessing.

Meh... wait and see, I guess.

Michael Farris said...

"Dick Cheney plinking at a tin can in the garage, wanting to save a range fee..?"

No, he just saw a friend across the way.

al said...

Cheney's not the cause. He's at the USNA.

There's a blogger inside.

John said...

A radio report had a quote from a construction worker working nearby, who thinks they may have heard his fork lift as it was moving steel beams! Wall-to-wall coverage on the cable news channels with pictures of people standing around.

Can you imagine if they had this coverage for every gunshot heard in every inner-city across America?

Tibore said...


As weird as this sounds, I'm actually sort of heartened by that. It's as if gunfire there is rare enought that 1) Some have mistaken some other noise for it, and 2) It's actually newsworthy since it doesn't seem to happen all that often.

Then again, I don't live there. Am I right about my second point? Anyone know?

John said...

I don't live in DC either, but based on murder rate (which doesn't always mean "gunshots"), I don't think hearing gunshots is uncommon in DC.

It's probably accurate that gunshots or other violent acts are pretty well prevented in secure areas of DC such as governmental buildings, monuments and other tourist areas. Which raises the other question about the reality of the world within the beltway? Combine this reaction and the offense taken by the speaker and others of FBI warrents to search a congressman's office for evidence of a crime and you start to wonder...

The Drill SGT said...

I live almost "inside the beltway".

The Federal office complexes are for the most part, "in a good part of town".

In broad daylight.

Inside a second perimeter of US Capitol Police.

"Gunshots" as opposed to "loud construction noises" would be extremely unlikely and would cause a lockdown.

Interestingly, it puts an additional spin on Ms McKinney and her "racist Police" charge. Maybe those guys have real jobs.

For those who think that the cop at the checkpoint over reacted by challenging end grabbing McKinney when she blew by him without stopping or responding:

Here is the first report from 8 years ago when a man did much the same thing at a checkpoint and proceeded to kill to Capitol Policemen.

Gary Freedman said...

We survived the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. We desperately need help. We are somewhere in the South Pacific. Is anybody out there?

Dave said...

I went to college in DC.

The federal buildings, while themselves heavily protected are nonetheless not in a great area of D.C. (which is to say their neighborhood is neither Foggy Bottom nor Georgetown.)

Gunshots are routine. Not on the grounds of the Capitol, of course, or the Supreme Court, but walk five minutes in any direction (not that anyone in DC has enough energy to walk across the street, elt alone five minutes) and you will find slums.

Whether the proximity to slums accounts for the sound of gunshots, I have no idea.

McKreck said...

Consider this possible headline: "Jackhammers jar jittery ---------"

To fill in the blank, alliterate.

Dave said...


Tibore said...

Well, speaking for myself, I'm glad this was simply a mistake.

There's good to be taken from this: There were no real gunshots. The police apparently reacted well, didn't overreact, didn't underreact either (is "underreact" a word?). No one was hurt. And everyone in the vicinity seems to have stayed calm.

That's all pretty good, in my humble opinion.

Eli Blake said...

Gary Freedman:

Not funny. I'm glad I take a moment to look things up before I jump.

What is also not funny is how ever since 9/11, every time anybody hears a car backfire, they start ducking for cover. Even at the height of the Cold War, when the Russians had thousands of nuclear weapons they could use to obliterate every community in America in less than an hour, nobody was this jumpy. What happened to the confident, happy, forward looking America that I know?

Dave said...

"Even at the height of the Cold War, when the Russians had thousands of nuclear weapons they could use to obliterate every community in America in less than an hour, nobody was this jumpy."

Right. Having kids sit under desks in hopes of surviving a nuclear blast is the height of calm and rational thinking.

McKreck said...

If we are more jumpy now than during the cold war it is because we have actually witnessed a deadly attack on our country and sense that it is possible to be attacked again. That said, I believe we can oblige the members of Congress to correctly distinguish between a jackhammer and a gun shot.

Michael Farris said...

I was a little surprised when I started living in Poland that local stereotypes about Americans aren't that they (we)'re brave, take charge kinds of folks, but rather that they (we) panic at the slightest provocation.
I've yet to be able to convince anybody that that's mistaken (and find more and more evidence that it's right as the years go by).

Tibore said...

Can we really characterize this as "panic" and "jumpy", everyone? It seemed to me that, given the fact that it seemed to be gunfire, the reaction was actually pretty measured. The earlier stories didn't talk about panic at all; in fact, I thought some of the things I saw, like the Gene Smith quote I pulled, seemed rather blasé. Am I missing something?

Jacques Cuze said...

Apparently, it was jackboots.

SippicanCottage said...
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