The Czechs take their presidential security a bit less seriously than we do in the U.S. Above is a video of some dude just walking up to Czech President Vaclav Klaus at a public event this past Friday and shooting in the arm a half-dozen times with a toy gun. What's more, Klaus' security entourage let him walk away, arresting him only after he gave an interview about why he shot the president.
The guy in the camo jacket shot up Klaus with an airsoft gun, one of those air-powered toy guns that shoot hard rubber pellets, while he was attending a bridge opening at the village of Chrastava. Right after the shooting, the 26-year-old assailant, a communist sympathizer, told Nova TV that he shot Klaus because Klaus, an ardent capitalist and well-known climate change denier, is "blind and deaf to the laments of the people." He was arrested soon after.
"You really did not manage this well," Klaus reportedly told his security team, in what we'd like to imagine was a steely cold monotone. His head of security, Jiri Sklenka, has resigned over the screw up even though Klaus suffered no injuries.
The fact that everyone was so casual about this whole thing probably has a lot to do with the fact that the Czech presidency is largely a symbolic office. The real power lies with Prime Minister Petr Nečas. This was driven home to me during the summer of 2008 when I attended a presentation by Klaus about nuclear power while a summer intern at the English-language newspaper the Prague Post. I was shocked to find the only security precaution was a small table at the door where a Czech police officer asked for my ID, from which he wrote down my personal info on a piece of paper without even checking to see if I was on the press list. I was then able to sit twenty feet away from Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, without so much as a bag check. When I asked my Czech companion why there was such light security, she responded, dryly, with something along the lines of, "It wouldn't be worth assassinating the president of the Czech Republic." Maybe not—but there are clearly some people who wouldn't mind slightly irritating him.