Man On The Scene (Well, 100 Miles From The Scene)

Updated and bumped to the top: Situation resolved, all is well once more.

Hey, this is so cool! There’s a hostage situation at Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters here in New Hampshire, and I live only a few minutes from there!

Whoops, never mind. The nutcase chose the office in Rochester, not Lebanon. We’re a small state, but we’re not that small. He’s about 100 miles away from here.

Anyhoo, it looks like some local nutjob rigged up something that looks like a bomb (and very well might be one) and went into Hillary Clinton’s Rochester office, demanding to talk to the senator.

Clinton, currently in Virginia, responded immediately by closing down her offices in Iowa.

My hope and my hunch is that this is just some relatively harmless whackjob who will cause a whole bunch of fuss and inconvenience a lot of people, but the situation will end peacably — and the guy (apparently named “Troy Stanley,” but that’s only from a few witnesses who say they recognized him) will spend a lengthy stretch of time in Concord.

If he’s very lucky, at the state hospital.

If not, then in the state prison.

On behalf of the sane portion of the state of New Hampshire, I’d like to apologize to the nation for the fuss. Usually our nuts just take themselves hostage and barricade themselves on their own property.

Update: Local witnesses are saying the guy is in the middle of an unpleasant divorce, had been drinking heavily for 72 hours, and was asking where he could buy roadside flares. The guy needs a serious dopeslap. Here’s hoping it’s not delivered by a sniper.

Update 2: The Rochester PD is holding a no-news conference. It’s a hostage situation, but they won’t say if there are any actual hostages. They won’t confirm or deny the guy’s identity. Basically, it’s inappropriate for them to release any information at this time. Here’s what he’s saying in a nutshell, from Captain Paul Callahan:

A guy with what appeared to be a bomb went into the Hillary Clinton campaign offices in downtown Rochester about 3 hours ago. The cops have sealed off a big hunk of the city and have done a whole lot of various and sundry things that they won’t talk about. If you want more details, tough. Ask me anything you like; the answer will be “it is inappropriate to release any information at this time.”

Update 3: The authorities say they have a tactical squad and the state police bomb squad on the scene. And Pretzel Logic says some people are saying “this takes Rudy Giuliani off the headlines.” Likewise, it puts Hillary in a very sympathetic light and gives CNN a chance to have everyone talk about besides how they botched (or sandbagged) the Republican debate.

Both true, and — I suspect — both irrelevant. The guy’s a nut. He wants attention. He’s getting it. End of conspiracy theories.

5:15 p.m.: Now a Boston TV station is reporting that Mr. Nutcase Whackjob still has two hostages, and it’s fallen dark. Not that that matters much; between TV lights, spotlights, and police lights in downtown Rochester, it appears to be high noon there. And several schools nearby went into lockdown immediately, but all the kids have been released to their parents.

The more I hear about it, the more I think about it, the more I believe this is a drunken loser who strapped some road flares and is looking for a whole lot of attention. He’s apparently also got a history of saying the government has been putting microphones in his head. (Lord knows why; I always thought paranoia had a strong element of egotism to it. Why would the government give a shit about him enough to bug his head?) I still strongly believe this will end peacefully, and Mr. Nutcase Whackjob will be hauled off to the state mental hospital in Concord (yes, I do know where it is; no, I have never actually been there) for a lengthy stretch.

5:30: Another hostage has been released. Or maybe not. We saw the police escort a woman away from the scene, in a protective and not in a custodial sense, and taken away.

5:40: Now the suspect is a guy named Leeland Eisenberg, not “Troy Stanley.” All the other details posted above (divorce, drinking, flares, etc.) along with telling people “watch the news tonight,” still stand. I dunno what happened to Troy.

6:35: Looks like it’s over. Mr. Nutcase Whackjob has apparently surrendered, and a special robot (who looks like Numbah Five) is investigating a package he set down outside Hillary’s headquarters.

7:50: Last update: no one hurt, road flares successfully detonated, Mr. Leeland Eisenberg (alias Mr. Nutcase Whackjob) is facing a metric assload of state charges. The feds might get in on the game, too. No one was injured in the process. One idiot reporter asked if the whole building might have blown up; the local cop said, roughly, “listen, dumbass, the State Police colonel just said there were no explosives, but road flares, so he might — MIGHT — have been able to blow his nose. Or warned vehicles from running him over for approximately three hours at most. But there was NEVER any danger of anything going boom.”

Senator Clinton offered to help however she could; she was told the best thing she could do was nothing. Unfortunately, this advice was limited to the immediate situation, and not the whole election, so she will be resuming her campaign activities shortly.

Again, on behalf of the sane folks of New Hampshire, I apologize first for this whole mess, and second for not making it more entertaining and telegenic. As I said before, our nuts are usually a bit more well-behaved.

As usual, I blame Massachusetts.

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