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I walked over to the SE corner of the Capitol Grounds today to lend my support to the Progressive Caucus's call for single payer health care. I got as far as the Library of Congress where I - and everyone else out for the same reason - was stopped.

Why? I was informed brusquely by a police officer that there was a 'suspicious package'

I then walked north on 1st street, trying to decide what to do. There didn't seem to be much sense in sticking around, but then, who knows what was about to happen. So I decided to go to the Library of Congress and search for a plaque that I somehow had the idea was there (to show where Lincoln used to live) at which point I was told by another brusque police officer that this, too was closed off. And told to go back towards where all the police officers were handling the 'suspicious package' "So, you want me to go back CLOSER to the possible bomb?" I asked. He nodded. "That doesn't even begin to make any sense!"

I ended up waiting around until a) the police dispersed and b) it was clear there weren't going to be any progressive caucus members holding any press conferences. I looked at my watch as I walked away: 2:30 PM.

Suspicious indeed.

A final thought: It seemed to me that all the police officers were angling for a beer with the president by escalating a perfectly harmless scenario into a full-blown shouting match. It's weird when you find yourself constantly telling cops 'calm down!' Isn't that their job? Their nervousness would have been understandable were there bombs exploding around DC every couple of days, but suspicious packages get found and turn out to be someone's forgotten lunch every day.

Originally posted to mecki on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 11:56 AM PDT.

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