With all the leaks in White House security over the past several months, Doug Hughes nonviolently landing a gyro-copter on the White House lawn might have been the least of our concerns. As it would turn out, Hughes was protesting campaign finance laws. Whatever his intentions, they didn’t stop the whole thing from looking terrifying to onlookers:
Hughes has evidently been planning this stunt for two years, keeping his wife in the dark about the landing. Though he did tell his best friend, Mike Shanahan, about his protest a year ago. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Shanahan called a secret service agent that had interviewed him and Hughes when he’d announced the flight a year ago on his website, but received no response. Without a heads-up, he was afraid his friend would be killed.
“I was scared to death they were going to kill him,” Shanahan told the Tampa Bay Times. “My thanks goes out to whomever it was who decided not to pull the trigger.” Surely, the prominently displayed U.S.P.S. logo on the gyro-copter’s tail played a part in no triggers being pulled.
Hughes had set up a protest site called The Democracy Club, where he’s talked about the flight and its message for campaign reform for the past two years. He’d even set up a live video feed for the flight. Despite fair warning, the event caught most people off guard.
it's a small "gyrocopter" – he's been arrested by Capitol Police pic.twitter.com/XlqinJcMy7— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) April 15, 2015
Hughes has been arrested, although it’s unknown as to what his charges will be. He’s certainly made his intentions of a nonviolent protest clear, but still, it’s veryy illegal to land something on the White House lawn.
Hughes and Shanahan’s thoughts on campaign finance (it seems a bit drastic to call them a manifesto) can be found on a section of their website here.
For more info on Hughes’ intentions, he’s released a top-notch video in which he explains himself; it auto-plays so we’ve chosen to give you a link to it. The production value alone makes it worth a click.
H/T The Tampa Bay Times | Screengrabs via Associated Press/YouTube| Remix by Jason Reed