Congressman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, never one to shy away from a grandstanding opportunity, told reporters last month that Doug Hughes — you remember him, the Florida postman who flew his gyrocopter loaded with letters for each of the 535 members of Congress to the Capitol lawn — is “lucky to be alive” and should have been “blown out of the air” when he flew into Washington D.C. airspace.
More recently in interviews with Hughes, it has come to light that he was attempting to make a public statement on the need for campaign finance reform and to address money and corruption in politics. While the method of delivery was hare-brained, it’s hard to say it was one worthy of being shot down and killed over. Chaffetz’s comments represent the reactionary and hyper-security culture of Washington D.C. Arguably much of this cautious mindfulness is needed, but still, a lot of it is overreaction and nothing more than taking hold of a national issue that grabs the attention of the public and basking in its limelight, in this case Jason Chaffetz style.
Perhaps Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said it best in response to the theatrical outrage of Chaffetz to the little gyrocopter that hovered onto the people’s lawn: "We are a democracy. We don't have fences around our airspace, so we've got to find the right balance between living in a free and open society, and security and the protection of federal buildings."