Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Bush's Head on a Stick: Now THAT'S Art!

Prosser, WA:A teen's art class notebook drew the attention of the Secret Service. The 15 year old's drawings depicted Bush as Satan with a missile launcher and the caption "End the war -- on terrorism" and a mufti-clad gunman with Bush's oversized head on the end of a stick. Apparently, the boneheaded administrators with their ridiculous zero-tolerance mindsets, reported the child's drawings to the Secret Service, who followed up with an interview of the youth.

Now it is perfectly understandable that the Secret Service take threats to the President's life seriously. In this time of war and terrorism, it is certainly understandable that the Secret Service be on high alert and react to lower probability threats that they might not at other times. A 15 year old child drawing anti-war pictures for an art class in Prosser, Washington being a credible threat to the President, however, seems to stretch credulity. I have said far more threatening things about the Preznit on this blog, and I certainly fit the pattern (194k PDF threat assessment guide) for a person of interest far better than this kid, yet no visits here. One has to wonder what the thought process of the USSS Field Office Director could have been to engender such an seeming over-reaction.

The Secret Service runs a study task group for school threat assessment. The study only gathers and analyzes data to define profiles of school shooters in an effort to separate the many 'false positive' behaviors of adolescent youth (generally teenage boys) and the sorts of behavioral and communicative patterns which presage a genuine threat. School officials intimate that the safety of the school was thier motive in contacting authorities. But why the SS and not the local or State police?

The Secret Service does not do field visits for these sorts of threats. Only as a part of its protected persons operations does it follow up with interviews of suspected threats. Someone must have actually thought this kid posed a credible threat to the President.

When the Secret Service's official release on the incident comes out 30 days from yesterday, you have to wonder what their excuse will be. One would presume that the release will not include an admission that the Secret Service's idea of a legitimate POTUS threat subject now includes 15 year old kids from Prosser wielding #2 pencils and bad attitudes.

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