Spencer Brown, Associate Writer
What do you get when you mix a career criminal and a truck loaded up with $200,000.00 worth of sound equipment? Normally, another “slap-on-the-wrist” sentence courtesy of our justice system; some jail time, community service, and parole.
But what if the aforementioned career criminal made off with the very voice of democracy in America? Then the punishment is a bit harsher, and certainly more public.
I’m talking, of course, about President Obama’s teleprompter.
The “TOTUS” (Teleprompter of The United States), has been the target of many jabs made by conservatives at President Obama’s evident inability to make an error-free speech without reading from a prompter. So when news of the theft of a truck carrying the TOTUS, sound equipment, and staging gear was stolen from a hotel parking lot in Chesterfield, Virginia, in the fall of 2011, many were surprised the White House didn’t fall silent.
It seems that while President Obama has been continuing a strategic weapon reduction strategy, he’s been simultaneously stockpiling teleprompters without the knowledge of the American people.
After the theft, the President continued to use his stockpile of teleprompters to deliver speeches. Meanwhile the man who stole the truck, one Eric Brown, pawned the majority of the items contained within the truck, and proceeded to ditch it on the other side of town.
It’s a serious issue any time White House or Presidential property is stolen, and this case was no different. Fortunately, the Defense Department was able to confirm that no sensitive information was taken. However it’s hard to resist the humor of picturing the thief loading up a speech on the TOTUS and giving it behind another one of the stolen items: the PPOTUS (Presidential Podium of The United States).
Brown was quickly apprehended and pled guilty to the theft in January, and was sentenced last Thursday to serve a seven year prison term. The theft would have normally carried a three year sentence, but due to other criminal activities and outstanding charges, he was given the additional four years.
Many unverified reports joked that Brown struggled to speak on his own behalf without the aid of the stolen prompter in the courtroom at the time of sentencing.
It is this author’s hope that Eric Brown will take the next seven years mulling over the terrible crime he committed. After all, can any jail sentence truly be a sufficient punishment for stealing the voice of democracy in America?
Edited by Kate Gaziano, CRFV Deputy Communications Director
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the College Republican Federation of Virginia.