Monday, December 15, 2008

A Shoe, A Shoe, To You and You and You...

To their credit, a majority of Iraqis seem to abhor the incident in which a reporter threw shoes at President Bush during a news conference.

Some of the comments following the article suggest that more Americans should consider learning some basic respect. A majority of the Iraqi comments seemed to center around the proper treatment of guests, even if the guest is an enemy.

Manners: You'd think a wealthy country like America could afford some.

On a side note, Bush must keep in good shape! I don't know if I could have dodged so quickly. I also have to wonder if US reporters could throw shoes as accurately as this guy did. Impressive all around!

UPDATE: Some are questioning the response of the Secret Service, suggesting they showed unusual restraint, and that they were slow getting to the president.

I know for myself the first time I watched the video I wondered what took them so long. But when I watch it again I realized that time dilation took over--in times of excitement things appear to slow down. In reality there were about two seconds between when the first shoe flew and when he was being wrestled to the ground. He got the second throw off while he was being grabbed. One to two seconds after that there were agents pouring through the door behind Bush, and an agent appears out of the crowd, only to be waved off by the President.

In reality, that was a pretty fast response time for a situation where everything was so heavily locked down that they felt comfortable to have all security out of sight:
"Everyone in that room passed through several layers of security," Agent Ed Donovan tells ABC News. Screening included magnetometers, sweeps by K9 dogs and U.S. military bomb squads. Donovan says name identification checks were done on all the journalists to confirm they were representing news organizations.
I am surprised there weren't more agents in the crowd who could interpose themselves between Bush and anyone even more determined to do harm, but it's also hard to know what restrictions they were operating under.

My hat is off, though, to the reporter in the red shirt (Star Trek, anyone?) seated in front of where the assailant launched his shoes from. He responded pretty quickly, too. He turned, assessed the situation, and was then up and in the assailant's face, nearly blocking the second shot. Not bad for a reporter. That he responded at all puts him ahead of most people.

As someone points out, the most interesting thing is what you don't see: guns.

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