Hint of a national nightmare

Posted: Thursday, February 08, 2001

The following editorial appeared in today's Miami Herald:

Any bulletin that includes the words gunman, White House and the president invariably sends a jolt across the nation as if we'd collectively suffered a flashback nightmare.

In his second month in office, 20 years ago, Ronald Reagan narrowly escaped death at the hands of a deranged shooter.

Twice in Bill Clinton's first term gunmen fired at the White House (and a suicide pilot crashed on the lawn). And a majority of Americans still painfully recall Nov. 22, 1963, when Camelot was murdered along with JFK.

We glimpsed these national nightmares Wednesday when news came that an armed Indiana man was wounded after confronting Secret Service. President Bush, thankfully, was never in danger.

But the incident serves as a reminder that vigilance in protecting the president can never be eased, even within the White House. To those who argue that Pennsylvania Avenue should be reopened to all vehicles, thus relaxing protections, let this be a reminder.

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