Machiavelli ( Chapter XXIV of the Discourses ):
Fortresses are Generally More Injurious than Useful
Whenever … republics are afraid lest their subjects should revolt, it results mainly from … the belief that they can best be controlled by force…
one of the things that induce the belief that they can be controlled by force is the possession of fortresses with which to menace them; and thus the ill treatment that engenders hatred in the subjects arises in great measure from the fact that the prince or republic hold the fortresses, which (if this be true) are therefore by far more injurious than useful.
For all the measures of force and violence that you employ to hold a people amount to nothing, except these two: either you must keep a good army always ready to take the field, as the Romans did; or you must scatter, disorganize, and destroy the people so completely that they can in no way injure you; for, were you merely to improverish them, “the spoliated still have their arms”; if you disarm them, “their fury will serve them instead of arms”; if you kill the chiefs and continue to oppress the others, new chiefs will spring up like the heads of the Hydra.
Does the White House Have a Secret Laser Defense?
Since 2005, any unauthorized or unidentified aircraft approaching the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in Washington DC has been targeted by the laser beams of the Visual Warning System. This shines an alternating red and green laser beam, "designed to provide a clear warning." This is a Class 1 laser which will not dazzle or blind. The VWS is described as being "part of the overall layered defense of our nation’s capitol." Since any potential threat aircraft is clearly being tracked by a laser, it would only take the flick of a switch to engage the sort of protective dazzler described above.
there is a missile battery-type apparatus on the roof of one of the nearby office buildings … It’s visible from points slightly south of the WH itself. It was put up there after September 11, 2001.
The White House is more than the first family's home. To the Secret Service: it's a fortress.
The iron fence is the first line of defense. Guard stations control the entrances, while bullet-resistant windows protect the occupants…
inside the fences are what agents calls "perimeters of protection." Alarms are positioned beneath the ground and infrared sensors above the ground to detect intruders.
Circulating around the lawns and gardens, often hidden, are groups of armed agents formed into emergency response teams. Their job is to rush forward, not wait for intruders to reach their zone. The Secret Service won't say how many agents there are. They carry semiautomatic pistols, shotguns and machine guns.
On the White House roof, teams of snipers keep watch. The Secret Service says they are the best in the world and must qualify every month hitting targets accurately at 1,000 yards.
The agents train in the Maryland suburbs, where a few weeks ago, they defended against a simulated rocket attack on the Inauguration…
There are 1,200 uniformed Secret Service agents posted around the clock at the White House … [ and ] …. 2,800 plainclothes agents.
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