Security theater at the Wisconsin Capitol: 482 panic buttons installed

“Security theater” is a term that describes security countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually improve security. – urban dictionary

Usually “security theater” refers to an airport’s slipshod groin-groping and body scanning (makes a bundle for Michael Chertoff).

In the case of Wisconsin’s Capitol building, perhaps a different sort of security theater is behind the recent installation of 482 panic buttons. Maybe Wisconsin’s panicky protections are designed to create an inflated fear of the people who come in the Capitol at lunch time to hold signs and sing songs.*

From the Wisconsin State Journal:
“The Department of Administration confirmed Tuesday that it installed 482 panic buttons in offices around the statehouse, in an effort to provide a level of comfort for staffers who they say have felt harassed by the presence of protesters in the historic building.

The wireless buttons send an alert to Capitol police, who will respond immediately, DOA Spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said. “(Staffers) have basically been told to press it anytime they feel threatened,” she said.”

More info on the matter to be found here.

It all seems so late.

There were no panic buttons available on the evening of March 9, 2011 when Wisconsin’s GOP state senators passed Wisconsin Act 10 and broke the state. Darn if people weren’t mad and WOW but didn’t the WI GOP have to scamper in the rain to a city bus – which they commandeered. I’m not going to even bring up people flowing back into the Capitol in anger.

THERE and THEN they had a need for security and readiness for the unleashing of some kraken!

But now?

Chalk it up to Wisconsin’s new Capitol building police chief who has the same philosophy about citations as I do about potato chips: can’t have just one, must share widely. He’s chosen to send at least two citations at a pop to the homes or workplaces of people charged with alleged crimes of sign holding and “obstructing”.

*Note to journalists: They are often referred to as “protesters” in your articles. I often choose to call them “Wisconsinites”, “citizens”, or “people” now because the right wing considers a “protester” to be a nearly non-human. Seems like the right has little value for constitutionally protected dissent when they’re not the ones doing it.


4 thoughts on “Security theater at the Wisconsin Capitol: 482 panic buttons installed

  1. There have been panic buttons in certain legislators’ offices for some years. The current system was requested while Tubbs was still chief in response to requests from a number of legies last year. Feeling threatened is a matter of perception, however, at least one unbalanced woman from Cross Plains made overt threats. There are wackoes in the world and having prudent security measures in place should not be a big deal. Remember, most of the gun toting nuts are right-wingers. If anybody is likely to benefit, it will probably be Democratic legislators or staff.

  2. “(Staffers) have basically been told to press it anytime they feel threatened,” she said.”

    Maybe Democratic staffers should be pushing these whenever the Republicans rush through a partisan bill?

    Is this an extension of the castle doctrine? LOL!

    And considering “we are broke”, where’d the money come from?

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