Congressman proposes enclosing Capitol gallery in Plexiglas

(RAW STORY)   A Republican Indiana congressman has a new plan to protect members of Congress from a terrorist attack: enclose the Capitol gallery with a Plexiglas shield.

In a little-noticed proposed amendment to a bill last week, Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) sought a study to examine the feasibility of enclosing the Capitol gallery chamber with a protective shield.

“What this bill does is it would authorize a study to look at enclosing the chamber, the gallery chamber, with Plexiglas so that somebody can’t throw a bomb down on the floor and kill a lot of us,” Burton told the Rules Committee Thursday.

To the shock of onlooking congressmembers, Burton described how a terrorist could kill the lot of them. Someone could kill “half the Members of Congress right now,” he said.

“You could take a detonating device that looks like a watch so you could get through the metal detector,” Burton explained. “And when everybody was on the floor, as many as you wanted, you could put that into the plastic explosive, toss it out on the floor, and there is no way you would lose half of us if we were on the floor, at least, or more. I don’t know how much damage it would do.”

Plexiglas, he said, would protect legislators from a disaster –“and you can do it in a way that would be very attractive,” he quipped. “They do it in the Knesset in Israel.”

The Washington Post’s Mary Ann Akers noted: “Before rejecting his amendment, members of the committee stared at Burton dumbfounded, according to sources in the room, as if wondering to themselves how to delicately explain to the Indiana Republican that he may be more in need of Xanax than Plexiglas.”

Burton’s spokesman was quoted as saying his boss “hoped the Rules Committee would think outside the box.”

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