If you haven’t noticed, security around the city has been beefed up for NATO’s 50th anniversary summit this weekend. It’s a good thing, too. Washington is already an obvious target. Add 40 heads of state, 1,700 dignitaries and continued NATO military action in Kosovo, and our city becomes a natural bull’s eye for terrorists. Washington residents must be prepared to deal with precautionary measures.
That means, for example, blocked-off streets downtown, a day off for federal workers in the area and disrupted Metro and bus service. Pedestrians without Secret Service credentials will be denied access to the Federal Triangle section of the city. Traffic will be atrocious as dozens of limousines crowd the streets. Residents also will be greeted with the sight of sharpshooters on roofs and men in dark suits looking at everyone with a highly suspicious eye.
Just by living in Washington, GW students are in a high-risk area. The NATO summit amplifies that risk, and precautionary measures are greatly welcomed. The sarin nerve gas attacks in the Tokyo subway system, the bombing at the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City bombing are testaments to the destructive capabilities of terrorism.
The GW community is advised to use this weekend as an opportunity to burrow away in your rooms working on papers or getting acquainted with those neighbors down the hall. Basically, stay far away from downtown.