A Florida mailman was arrested this afternoon after he landed his gyrocopter on a grassy area in front of the U.S. Capitol. The man, identified as Doug Hughes, reportedly wanted to draw attention to campaign finance reform, specifically the Supreme Court's 2010 decision to strike down limits on campaign donations from corporations, by delivering a letter to Congress.
Hughes apparently told the Tampa Bay Times about his plan—which was two years in the making—earlier this year. "I don't believe that the authorities are going to shoot down a 61-year-old mailman in a flying bicycle," he told the paper. "I don't have any defense, okay, but I don't believe that anybody wants to personally take responsibility for the fallout.”
Shortly after Hughes took off, the Tampa Bay Times notified the Secret Service about his plan. The 61-year-old was arrested immediately after landing and the Capitol was briefly placed on lockdown.
"I don't know whatever it was he was doing but I support him," Richard Burns, a marijuana lobbyist, told the Tampa Bay Times.
Before his flight, Hughes told the paper that he was aware of the risks involved. "I have thought about walking away from this whole thing because it's crazy," he said. "But I have also thought about being 80 years old and watching the collapse of this country and thinking that I had an idea once that might have arrested the fall and I didn't do it.
"And I will tell you completely honestly: I'd rather die in the flight than live to be 80 years old and see this country fall."
It's not clear yet what charges Hughes is facing.