Kristi Noem didn’t get to fence in the Governor’s Mansion, but she’s doing something worse: she’s locking own the Capitol. She already shut the grand front door, forcing everyone to come in the rear. Now she’s going to subject every Capitol visitor to a warrantless earchsearch:
“The South Dakota State Capitol is the People’s House,” recites Department of Public Safety Curtis Price. But I don’t frisk and scan everyone who enters my house. And it doesn’t take five minutes to get into my house—that’s the amount of time the new guidance recommends you allow for your participation in security theater.
I’m minorly annoyed to see Governor Noem again violate her promise to fight government bloat. The new search-and-seizure point at the Brown County Courthouse requires three full-time guards who draw $166,000 a year in salary. A serious effort to slow down grouchy people on their way to Princess Noem’s throne room (and perhaps call the Governor to let her know certain people are coming so she can duck out and avoid their visit) will surely cost at least as much.
Republicans say they want less government, but they want a more powerful surveillance state when it suits their fears and whims and overinflated sense of majesty.
I am immensely sad to see this desecration of our Temple of Democracy. The most beautiful and important building in our state does not need armed police searching every entrant any more than it needs legislators or other yahoos sneaking around with pistols in their pants.
The only slightly less dark side of the locking down of our Capitol is that we will now have accountability for legislators and other fraidy-cats who put our security at risk by toting guns in the Capitol. Sharp reporters interested in public safety and chickens could station themselves just outside the checkpoint and document every legislator who sets off the scanner and has to deconceal a gun to get through the door. Of course, if the reporters have other issues to cover in the Capitol, they could just ask DPS to hand over the records of Capitol-carry requests, which must be made at least 24 hours before carrying a gun into the Capitol.
But that’s little comfort as we watch the Ice Princess put armed guards between us and herself and our legislators to unreasonably search and seize citizens entering their own House of Democracy.