Saturday, February 23, 2008

Packin' Heat At City Hall

Shortly after Mayor Mark Mallory took office, he ordered the removal of the metal detectors guarding City Hall's front entrance, arguing for more public access to the building where the people's business is conducted. Now, Kevin Osborne reports that the metal detectors are coming back, and being joined by three armed security guards.

There seems to be a juxtaposition between what our city leaders say and what they do. We're constantly told how safe downtown is (and by and large, I think that message is correct). But Mayor Mallory is afraid to venture out into the city without a police escort (his bodyguard/security detail/whatever was even seen with Mallory at Senator Clinton's Skyline appearance--apparently, the mayor was worried that the presidential candidate's Secret Service contingent might not be up to handling an armed threat on its own). And now we learn that our elected leaders and City employees don't feel safe working in City Hall unless constituents coming to see them pass through a metal detector.

Is a weapon check at the entrance to every government building simply a cost of living in the twenty-first century that isn't even worthy of discussion or comment anymore? Or should we demand better than kneejerk responses from our leaders?

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