Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Governor’s Mansion: Where Was Security?

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) claims a security detail was present at the Texas Governor’s Mansion prior to the mysterious blaze that destroyed the 152-year-old building, yet refuses to disclose how many DPS officers were on the grounds. It is known that one DPS officer called the fire department after discovering the fire. However, this was only after numerous passersby had already called. Alonzo Perez, the first to call, reports that he saw no DPS officers at the mansion long after he called 911. Furthermore, he says it took the fire department at least 10 minutes to respond to the call. (LINK)

Bear in mind this is an area of town where the DPS presence is normally so thick you could close your eyes, throw a rock in any direction, and be reasonably certain of hitting a trooper on the head. I’m not suggesting you try this. I’m only trying to make the point that it is very strange for there to be no DPS presence at the Governor’s Mansion. Apparently, there were no DPS troopers across the street at the Capitol either, because if there had been surely one of them would have noticed and called 911. But they didn't. Passersby called 911. Yes, it is very strange, particularly when you consider that both the Capitol and Governor's Mansion have been designated potential terrorist targets.

And where was the Austin Fire Department? Burger King? What exactly was the point of all those post-9/11 emergency drills if the best the fire department can do is come sauntering onto the scene ten minutes after fire has consumed a major landmark?

Well, at least the surveillance cameras were working that night. They didn’t prevent the arson from occurring. Surveillance cameras never do, despite the claims of Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo that if we blanket the entire city with cameras it will end crime for all time. No, surveillance cameras are useless in crime prevention. But they do seem to help solve crimes, and that is what we are being told to expect in this case. State Fire Marshal Paul Maldonado has indicated that surveillance video shows “someone near” the mansion before the fire. Maldonado does not say who was near the mansion, but presumably it was not the DPS. At any rate, he assures us the crime will be solved. (LINK) And I'm sure it will. After all, the BATF is involved in the investigation, and if you can't trust the BATF who can you trust?