Earlier this week, reports of a White House intrusion by an Omar Gonzalez surfaced the web. The 42 year old veteran was said to have jumped over the White House fence and invaded the main floor of the nation’s palace. This led to the Secret Service Agency being heavily criticized, with the Director Julia Pierson ultimately stepping down from her post. Amidst this controversy, a portion of the public is increasingly losing faith in the Secret Service, as even the President of this beloved country seems to be vulnerable to attacks from civilians. What propelled Mr. Gonzalez to attempt such an action is beyond me; however the more important question is: HOW was he able to 1)enter the premises so easily, and 2)get that far INTO the premises?
Protection of the White House is a subject that shouldn’t even be touched on, simply due to how obvious its importance is. Firstly, the President is arguably (or almost certainly) the most important man in this country. His safety has to be of the utmost importance. Secondly, the White House serves as the most cherished building in this country; therefore its doors must be heavily guarded at all times. To accomplish these two goals, whatever steps deemed necessary by protective forces must be taken. With that being said, deadly force should be used when necessary, with the intent to hinder progress and not necessarily to kill. Well, when is it necessary in this context? The answer to me is quite simple: whenever an intrusion takes place.
Under the Castle Doctrine, an individual is authorized to resort to the use of force, including deadly force, when he/she feels as though their “humble abode” is being intruded upon. Considering the White House serves as the President’s primary residence, this doctrine applies. Granted the Secret Service acts on behalf of the President in protecting his “castle,” it is up to their discretion to determine what constitutes an intrusion. Sadly, it doesn’t take a genius to determine that a forceful entrance into a premises (forceful due to the manner in which the intruder entered the space, and the resistance offered when initially approached) warrants an intrusion. With that being said, the use of force was permissible in this case. So why wasn’t this the case? How did the security allow Mr. Gonzalez to get as far as he did?
This all points back to the training and leadership received by the staff on duty at the time of the invasion. The Secret Service has had a fair share of controversial incidents, and an incident like this one certainly did not help. Julia Pierson certainly made the right decision by stepping down from her post, as her leadership during her tenure was certainly questionable. Although we are all aware of how difficult of a job she had, it also safe to say that perhaps somebody else could have done a more admirable job. Unfortunately for her, the inability of her subordinates to carry out their job points back to her leadership. With that being said, an overhaul of the Secret Service Agency is much needed, and it starts with the appointment of a worthy proven candidate to lead the team.
Next, clear procedural guidelines must be established as to what happens in situations such as this, as uncertainty leaves important figures such as the President vulnerable to attacks. If these guidelines are already established, (which I’m assuming they are) they need to be reinforced. In order to ensure the safety of the nation and its leaders, this problem must be addressed and addressed quickly before foreign enemies plan to exploit this “vulnerability.” Lastly, citizens of this nation must get rid of the hatred and ill feelings towards the leaders of this country. Although not everyone agrees with the policies put in place by the President and others in position of power, hatred and a desire to eliminate our leaders of their positions through means as drastic as homicide is clearly not the answer. If anything, this will inevitably create chaos. Citizens must patiently rely on democracy to take its course when it comes to replacing the nation’s leaders, and that simply takes time. If these steps are taken, protection of the nation is bound to be strengthened.