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King: A (not-so-)arresting protest

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

A crowd of demonstrators converges on U.S. government property closed to the public. The protesters know that they are prohibited from entering the property. Nonetheless, they push through the metal barricades, chanting, “Tear down these walls.”

That incident occurred Sunday at the National World War II Memorial on the Mall.

Not confining their protest to the memorial, some of the demonstrators then picked up the government’s metal barricades and carried them a few blocks to the White House, where the barricades were deposited outside the gates.

Video from the scene broadcast on television showed police officers struggling to keep the protesters away from the White House fence. No arrests were made.

Now, let’s see if I have this straight: If people decide they don’t like that facilities have been closed by the shutdown of the federal government, they are now empowered to take wire cutters to the locks, push aside barriers and go on their merry way without fear of arrest?

What’s to stop people from scaling fences at the National Zoo or breaking down the doors of the National Air and Space Museum? Don’t like the idea of public tours of the Capitol being suspended? Tear down those congressional walls.

Federal food inspectors aren’t working. Why not just go on into the labs so you can inspect some of that red meat and poultry?

No sweat. Just as Sunday’s protesters, led by Texas Republican bad boy Sen. Ted Cruz and America’s former everything, Sarah Palin, were given immunity from arrest, perhaps so will all others of their stripe who take it upon themselves to open closed federal facilities.

What’s a federal shutdown order between the politically privileged and the pliant protectors of public facilities?

Apparently nothing.

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