First Woman Arrested at the White House

First Woman Arrested at White House

Crime and politics simply don’t pay, even if you’re feeling desperate enough to try to force your viewpoint. For 38-year-old Marci Anderson Wahl of Everett, Washington, this is a lesson that she just didn’t learn the first time around — or even the second. If her goal was to be a notable presence, she does get to be distinguished as the first woman arrested at the White House — in 2017 at least.
Her first arrest took place on March 21, when the Secret Service found her stuck by just a shoelace on the fence surrounding the White House, after a failed attempt at entry. After being issued the equivalent of a peace bond to stay away, she was released on her own recognizance.
The intrepid activist thought it wise to scale the fence again on Friday, March 24, in an effort to gain access to President Trump. Naturally, the Secret Service immediately arrested her and removed her from the grounds once more.
This time, Wahl didn’t escape with a warning. She will face two individual charges for the attempt: unlawful entry and contempt of court.
It wasn’t immediately clear what spurred on the contempt of court charge.
For most people, one arrest would be more than enough to ward them off of bad behavior in the future (regardless of the reason). Even those who are stubborn generally learn their lesson the second time around. But Wahl, on the other hand, didn’t stop there; the Secret Service arrested her yet again for the exact same crime on Sunday, March 26, 2017.
This time, Wahl waited until approximately 2:15 a.m. to scale the fence. Under the cloak of darkness, she made her third attempt to scale the fence. Unlike the other events, this time she came prepared; officers found her carrying a backpack containing a sleeping bag and several personal care items. As odd as it may seem, Wahl was clearly intending on not only entering the grounds, but staying there once she arrived.
When interrogated, Wahl pointed to past fence jumper successes as her motivator, and indicated that she was attempting to get a meeting with the president himself. But this was no crime of passion; officers also found a map of the White House grounds, a floor plan, and a letter for President Trump himself tucked into her backpack. She was not carrying weapons, defense gear, or dangerous chemicals, and did not appear to wish to harm anyone.
Wahl’s repeated arrests do call into question exactly how or why someone could even attempt to gain entry to the White House three times in a row. This represents a laxity of regulation and an enormous potential security risk. Though this time it appears to just be a matter of poor impulse control or bad decisions, many are wondering what might happen if a more sophisticated criminal attempted to gain entry to the White House. Would he or she find ways to make it all the way to the president, endangering his life and the security of the United States in the process?
But is the problem with generalized White House security, or is it a failing on the part of the Secret Service? Some specialists are asking why the security team didn’t remain on high alert in the days that followed the first arrest. If they did, how did Wahl even get close enough to the White House to attempt re-entry in the first place?
A previous unlawful entry attempt by Jonathan Tran in early March certainly seems to raise questions about the veracity of the Social Service and whether Trump is safe in the White House at all. Not only was Tran able to enter the grounds, but he managed to make it all the way to the front door, where he proceeded to jiggle the lock to see if it was open. Unlike Wahl, Tran did come prepared; he was carrying a can of mace.
Is this the reason President Trump insists on remaining outside of the White House for most of his term? Could it be possible that he really and truly doesn’t feel safe in the White House — given the Service’s poor track record for keeping people out? And if so, is he really any safer anywhere else in the world? These are important questions with complex answers. We’d love to hear what you think.