As part of the security related to the “nuclear security summit” a stretch of New York Avenue near my house is closed to traffic so that it can be used exclusively for motorcades for very important people. At another stretch of New York Avenue a bit to the west, closer to my office, they sometimes let people and vehicles cross the street but sporadically close the street down so as to let motorcades pass unobstructed. Rather than have a police officer stand in the street and stop traffic in normal traffic-cop fashion, they roll military vehicles out to physically obstruct the road. Whether or not this has saved the lives of any world leaders we’ll never know, but it definitely killed someone:
A bicyclist was stuck and killed by a military truck at the intersection of 12th Street and New York Avenue, just five blocks from the Nuclear Security Summit meetings Monday evening.
Sources say the woman who was killed lived in Northwest DC and she was 68-years-old. [...]
As passer-bys watched Metropolitan Police began their investigation. The D.C. National Guard says the beige military truck was moving forward into position at the intersection and says there was a ground guide, a guardsmen on foot telling pedestrians to stay out of the trucks’ path.
“We will look at the video to make sure the pedestrian didn’t run into the truck as it was moving.”
When I took driver’s ed, I was taught that when you’re moving your car in reverse you’re supposed to take responsibility to make sure you aren’t accidentally running anyone over and killing them. Obviously people not currently encased inside a military vehicle have good reason to try to avoid situating themselves in the path of an uncoming multi-ton vehicle, but ultimate responsibility generally seems to fall on the person piloting the gigantic deadly object. I think there are perhaps some lessons here for the question of the prospects of actually conducting military operations that protect civilian life. The fact that people conducting a security operation on American soil can’t even react to accidentally killing an old lady by saying “we’re sorry we killed that woman” rather than lets “make sure the pedestrian didn’t run into the truck as it was moving” doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.