On a separate note, what purpose was served by grounding innocent pilots? Either an intruder was a Bad Guy, or he was a Good Guy who didn't think to look for a TFR. If a Bad Guy, then waiting to contact him after he lands seems a bit lame (and late)! And if a Good Guy, then grounding him after he lands simply alienates Good Guys and their friends and families. Seriously - if the Secret Service isn't proposing to actually shoot people down for entering TFRs (and clearly, and quite sensibly, they are not), what are these things for?
"In the Land of the Free, fighting terrorism is a tough job. May common sense prevail, and may we remain free to fly, the ultimate expression of freedom. Just be sure to check for those TFRs first."
I wish that were enough. But we all know deep inside, that is not truth informed by history, or supported by a flier's gut sense. "Common" sense will certainly not prevail, if we simply remain "Good Germans" playing along in our "Secure Homeland"- meekly ceding our freedoms case by humiliating case. We've learned nothing in the aviation community about standing up together, while a creeping tyranny puts up daily trial-balloons for ever-more-arbitrary aerial lockdowns.
After the next sensational national crisis and knee-jerk ratcheting-down of our freedoms, things will certainly not get any easier for those of us who cherish freedom. Those of us who (audaciously these days) expect good faith from this government, Constitutionally pledged to the service and protection of the people (not the elite) will never defend our freedom without demanding it in open and defiant solidarity. If we accept these trends quietly, then we will have no one to blame but ourselves, for these curtains we pretend not to notice drawing steadily closed across these spacious skies.
While making comparisons to "Good Germans" may be a bit much, I do think it's unreasonable of the Vice President to demand a no-fly zone over himself and then take his vacations in the Hamptons, a heavily-populated, high-air-traffic area.
Much the same can be said about the President shutting down air traffic in Hawaii for a week at Christmas season each year.
It's just plain inconsiderate. Rude.
And yet, there has been almost no objection to making the citizens accept disruption so that elected officials don't need to. Rather, it's all the other way around, as if the "public servants" were the masters, and the populace the subjects.
Of course, people who don't want to be subjects may be "free to leave". But a less-extreme point is that if these gentlemen are so afraid, and so unwilling to change their vacation spots for their years in office, they are free to resign. I'm sure there would be lots of equally-qualified applicants for their jobs, people with the consideration to at least take their vacations in existing secure areas (Washington DC, for example, or perhaps Disneyland).
Separately, as a matter of security, it seems bizarre to me that the Secret Service insists on putting a target circle on the internet, centered on the President. Sure, with determination someone could probably figure out where he is, but why make it so easy?
I've got issues with the climate of fear in general since 9/11, and with the way some in our country try to usurp power, or take freedoms from responsible citizens using the "national security" canard. Having said that, I can also see how a TFR over a high-level official or a crowd of event-goers must be enforced. The Secret Service doesn't get a second chance. As a pilot (comm/multi/inst) preparing to re-enter the world of aviation after 15 yrs away doing other things, I'll be interested to learn how FAA handles other airspace incursions, e.g. clipping an airport's Class A/B/C airspace on one's way to a nearby airport. While I'm sure that positional awareness is even more important than when I flew last, not every airspace incursion should be, literally, a federal case.
We assume readily and without democratic education and debate that most every measure taken by our leaders for the fortification of state security is equivalent to the protection of the People and our way of life. The purpose of terrorism is the disruption of societies into over-reaction; over-kill; over-extension; insolvency; internal discord; cognitive disability, all under a readily-inflatable cult of Fear and xenophobia.
No present-day TFR would have prevented 9-11, or any other past act of mass murder, and every thinking USi knows this. Our most inconvenient, suggestive, and precedent-setting security perimeters are mirages of reduced vulnerability. As others have noted, these circles of alternate reality do far less for the protection of anyone or anything than can rationally justify their direct and political costs.
"[Members of the Executive Branch] should. at least take their vacations in existing secure areas (Washington DC, for example, or perhaps Disneyland)."
The most damaging effect in the present IMO is that we are reinforcing the notion that state security is above public review and criticism. As complacent and apathetic participants in the thoughtful, informed, responsible duties of citizenship in democracy, we are extending an open invitation for the subversion of our way of life by the most powerful elites of our time (and potentially of all time).
When we consider politics (the responsibility of all who understand and value democracy) to be exempt or incompatible with respect to any of our endeavors (vocational or recreational) then we exhibit an irresponsible disregard for history and heritage that has always preceded the greatest falls
of great societies. If after a new shock to our childish reliance on our nanny state we accept similar affronts to our lives, liberties, and pursuits of happiness (in Temporary Driving, Gathering, or Communications Restrictions for example) then we should be ashamed as American Aviators to have set the complacent and ignorant precedent of our diminishment as a proud, free and rational society. I don't think that's too much to expect from my country, my countrymen, and myself.
Lastly, and without malice: To be rudely invited to leave this great Republic for speaking my mind is not appreciated. I'm only asking my fellow aviators to take a fresh and broad look at our collective situational awareness in the context of history. We have achieved so much, and preserve our most cherished freedoms and privileges by studiously and attentively avoiding the gravest mistkes of the past. In much the same way that there's no new way to wreck a airplane, there is a clear chain of error in the abdication of control and descent into hard terrain aboard
a democracy. People In Command, People! What's so nutty about that?