"When then-Vice President Cheney visited a Colorado mall in 2006, Secret Service agent Dan Doyle overheard Steven Howards say that he was 'going to ask [the vice president] how many kids he's killed today.' Howards then got in line to meet Cheney and, when he reached the vice president, told him that his 'policies in Iraq are disgusting.' As Cheney moved along, Howards touched him on the shoulder, prompting the supervising Secret Service agent, Gus Reichle, to accost and arrest Howards for assault."
Let's be clear - telling someone you're disgusted with them doesn't mean you're going to kill them. It means... you're disgusted with them. The Secret Service's mandate only covers protecting their charges from bodily harm, not unflattering opinion. And if you think touching someone on the shoulder constitutes assault, go take a walk through Southeast sometime. They'll teach ya "assault" over there real quick.
This was a pretty clear case of the trend (pointed out before) in this country of people with power being really insecure. Even if Howards appeared genuinely threatening - not just uncomfortably non-deferent - there's a dozen different ways to size up such a threat before arresting. An arrest ain't something simple, like a stern talking to. It's a long, complicated, and for the arrestee very expensive process. The only excuse, other than Reichle being an over-reactive coward, is intimidation.
Which clearly didn't work since Howards chose to sue their asses.
|John Roberts to the rescue!|
Which actually makes them quite representative of the collective American consciousness. Try this - ask a coworker or even a random person on the street if someone who's been arrested must have been doing something wrong. If the answer surprises you, you haven't been paying attention.