Inviting as it may be, I'm not joining the piling-on party. When it comes to securing the safety of the state's highest elected official, you err on the side of caution. No, Krayeske should not have been arrested, and yes, the charges should be dropped. But please don't suggest that the guy should not have been detained for a while, at least until the point police were assured he had no bad intentions. Certainly, they had a right to inspect the nylon bag he carried while running along the parade route to make certain there was nothing more dangerous than a digital camera.
I don't think Krayeske was considered a "threat" in the physical sense, but someone who may be inclined to try to publicly embarrass the governor on her big day.
His incident got a mention in Tuesday's New York Times. Just imagine the news coverage if someone really did slip by security and harm the 60-year-old grandma in her first elected term.
The headline: "Where Was Rell's Security?" (Simpson)
Security and safety are gods in America today--and they have been for a long time, even since before 9/11. We want safer cars, safer schools, safer food, safer air, safer everything, and we're willing to make monstrous concessions in order to get them. This is another.
What Stan is suggesting seems so reasonable. Yes, detain him. Search him. He could have been a threat. He might have embarrassed or hurt the governor. The security of the state's chief executive is paramount. He was a known activist, he didn't like the governor. His bag should have been searched, at the very least. It would have been okay to hold him until the police were "reassured."
We can rationalize this, and smother it with the numbing and comforting "what ifs" that Simpson provides, but a cold truth remains: Ken Krayeske was arrested because he said the wrong things to the wrong people, and in the wrong way.
Hartford Det. Jeff Antuna wrote in his report that Krayeske drew his attention by rapidly riding up to the parade route near Bushnell Park, dumping his bike and running to a position in front of Rell.
"I immediately recognized the accused as Kenneth Krayeske from the photograph provided by the state police," Antuna wrote. (Pazniokas)
The state police had his photo because of verbal confrontations between himself and the governor's staff, regarding his candidate's exclusion from the gubernatorial debates. This, in Simpson's words, "unsettled" the state police, and so they provided his photograph to Hartford's police, and the chain of events was set in motion.
A man was arrested and detained for hours because of what he said and what he wrote. He was made known to police because his tone of voice "unsettled" the state police. He never threatened the governor.
This is not okay.
People can rationalize just about anything, from strangers rifling through a woman's purse at the entrance to a ball game to "free speech zones" for protesters at political events to the arrest and detention of innocent men if they believe it will make things safer. If you find that fog clouding your judgement, if you start to think that giving up a little freedom for security now and then is fine, if you begin to forget that our entire country is one great big free speech zone, remember what happened to Ken.
Then imagine it happening to you.
Pazniokas, Mark. "Activist Arrested At Inauguration Parade." Hartford Courant 6 January, 2007.
Simpson, Stan. "Protecting Rell Serves Public, Too." Hartford Courant 10 January, 2007.