Whatever you believe happened in Dallas 50 years ago, this much most of us can agree on. Dallas police and the Secret Service failed to protect the President of the United States, and that failure led directly to his assassination.
So you’re thinking, We’ve certainly learned our lessons since JFK. We’re not going to ever again let POTUS get into a situation where buildings on a motorcade route haven’t been swept, where throngs of people with close access haven’t been thoroughly vetted.
OK, so we screwed up that one time in 1981 when we let John Hinckley Jr. get too close to Ronald Reagan, but that’s one blip in 50 years.
It was a perfect storm waiting to happen. President Obama and scores of world leaders descended on South Africa for services held for the late president and civil-rights hero Nelson Mandela, who died on Dec. 5.
The time frame between Mandela’s death and the Dec. 10 memorial service was painfully short for the Secret Service and other units responsible for maintaining the safety and well-being of their own national leaders.
Into that perfect storm walked a man named Thamsanqa Jantjie, who at first came to our attention for his gibberish masked as sign language broadcast worldwide. How insulting, members of the deaf community cried out, that we let this man speak nonsense to the world at such a solemn occasion.
That turned out to be by far the least of our worries.
Because then we learned that this man standing beside our president and other world leaders speaking gibberish with his hands was charged with murder in 2003, and only avoided prosecution because he was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial.
Dallas police circa 1963, inept though they were, allowing not one, but two political assassinations in a matter of days, would be scratching their heads at this one.
According to The Guardian, Jantjie was involved in a mob that confronted two men caught with a stolen television, beat them and set fire to tires that had been placed around their necks.
This man was a couple of foot away from President Obama and other world leaders, and he has said in the days since that he had hallucinations and saw angels entering the stadium during the ceremony.
A man deemed mentally unfit to stand trial for murder-by-mob, under the spell of hallucinations, seeing angels, was thisclose to our president.
We’re all damn, dumb lucky that this idiot didn’t have a gun or knife, that the angels in his hallucinations didn’t tell him to act out in some way.
Damn, dumb luck is no way to run security for an event with our president and other world leaders.