Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Vegas, Part Two

This story sounds more dramatic then it really was, but pretty much everything is exactly true. While in Vegas, I visited the Hoover Dam with 2 friends from high school. I'll call them "Mark" and "Alex". Mark is normal. Alex is... well, he doesn't simply march to his own drummer, he marches to his own orchestra.

Mark and I went to the gift shop, leaving Alex to his own devices. We go outside, and can't find Alex. A security guard walks by and we hear a voice coming over the radio: "...a man jumped the fence and is climbing up the rocks..." Ah-ha, we knew we found Alex. We watch as Alex climbs off the rocks and back into legal territory, and he starts walking towards us. I wave at the security people and say "don't worry, we'll keep an eye on him next time." They tell us "actually, you need to stick around for a bit. The federal marshal is going to want to speak to you guys." Quick-thinking Mark replies "nope, he just needs to speak to Alex". Yes, we were ready to sell out our friend and deny any association.

I'm not sure what the Fed's actual title was (marshal, agent, Man In Black). In reality, he was probably just a glorified park ranger, but they did make it very clear that this was under federal jurisdiction. Apparently, post 9-11 they frown upon strange men climbing outside the secure areas at a facility that provides power to the entire Southwest. The Fed turned out to be very friendly. He took Alex's license and radioed in a background check. While waiting for the response, he tried to explain to Alex why it's not a good idea to be jumping walls past a security check-point.

Alex's record came back clean (which was a shock to me) and he was allowed to go. This is pretty much a typical situation for Alex, so as the Fed turned around to walk away, I shouted out "next time, just shoot him."

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