As a tour guide, I’m a bit jaded by this quest for security. Every year brings a new closure, a new checkpoint, a little less freedom than the year before. Every change makes tour guides’ jobs a little more difficult — which is fine — and the visitors’ experience at some of the capital’s most popular places a little less meaningful — which is not.
This is not an isolated case of security creep. Last year, without fanfare or media interest, the major Smithsonian museums on the Mall instituted a similar level of full screening. Before then, a guard used to conduct a quick bag check when people entered museums. Now all items have to be removed from pockets, bags are subject to a more thorough search and all visitors must go through metal detectors.
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