Catasauqua Press

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

EDITOR’S VIEW

Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by The Press in Opinion

Maybe the Secret Service should watch ‘The Wild, Wild West’

During the late ’60s, and now in reruns, the television series “The Wild, Wild West” featured two Secret Service agents, James West, played by Robert Conrad, and Artemus Gordon, played by Ross Martin.

In 1999, the futuristic western, set in the late 1860s and ’70s, was made into a movie featuring Will Smith as West and Kevin Kline as Gordon.

Through the use of Jules Verne-sque gadgets and weapons, the duo were tasked with protecting the 18th president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, and saving the country from the evildoers of all stripes.

Unfortunately, television is not reality and, apparently, there are few, if any, Secret Service agents today with the caliber of West and Gordon protecting the U.S. president.

According to published reports, there have been three security breaches at the White House within the last several days:

On March 10, Jonathan Tuan-Anh Tran, 26, of Milpitas, Calif., allegedly spent more than 15 minutes on White House grounds while carrying a backpack with two cans of pepper spray, a letter to President Donald Trump, who was in the White House at the time, and a copy of one of the president’s books.

Luckily, for the president, for the White House staff and for the country, there was no bomb in the backpack.

On March 18, William Bryant Rawlinson, 58, of Silver Spring, Md., allegedly jumped the bike rack in front of the executive residence before being caught by Secret Service agents.

Later that night, just after 11 p.m., Sean Patrick Keoughan, 29, of Roanoke, Va., allegedly drove up to the 15th Street checkpoint in a stolen car and told Secret Service agents he had a bomb in the car.

If these intrusions are not enough evidence of today’s lack of competence of the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and the men and women chosen to protect the president of the United States, on March 16, a Secret Service laptop, containing floor plans to Trump Tower, was stolen from an official government car parked in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Many years ago, during a vacation in Washington, D.C., I witnessed the reaction of an alert (and well-hidden) Secret Service agent to what I thought was a minor infraction of security.

Standing with my face pressed against the black, metal fence surrounding the White House grounds, I reached through the fence to grab a leaf from a nearby tree to take home as a souvenir.

Suddenly, an agent in full tactical gear, holding a really big gun, stepped out from behind a tree and stood there staring at me.

Well, if he was going to shoot me, so be it, but I was not going to let go of my leaf.

I slowly pulled back my arm, leaf in hand, and backed away from the fence.

Where are West and Gordon when we need them?

Where is the agent who, sequestered behind a tree just yards from the White House fence, was immediately prepared to challenge a potential intruder?

There had better be immediate and serious improvements to the security surrounding the leader of the free world or this country will face threats from evildoers never imagined on “The Wild, Wild West.”

Deb Palmieri

editor

Parkland Press

Northwestern Press