Interests in different conspiracies have been surfacing after Hillary Clinton’s near collision with a flying shoe during her keynote speech in Las Vegas Thursday night. Apparently, the clunky orange and black sneaker was accompanied by a photocopy of a confidential Cold War era document. The 2016 presidential candidate successfully ducked out of the way of the shoe, but others are wondering if spectacle was more than a display of protest.
Within the first ten minutes of the former U.S. Secretary of State’s speech at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries convention held at Mandalay Bay, a woman disguised in a blonde bombshell wig and wearing a form-fitting blue and black party dress with glittery flip-flops, walked up near the front of the stage and threw the two seemingly random items at Clinton’s head. She then turned on her heel, awkwardly put her hands in the air, and proceeded to exit the room where security guards hastily caught up to her.
Clinton shifted her weight to duck out of the way as the shoe whizzed by her ear, and being more than a good sportsman, she joked about the encounter with camaraderie and ease. Had she unwittingly become part of Cirque de Soleil, she quipped. Also adding the quandary of not realizing waste management could be so controversial, and thankfully the assailant had obviously not been a softball start like herself. The audience, filled with nearly 1,000 guests, laughed and applauded the politician as she segued back into her speech.
The majority of the media coverage has centered around the video clip of the errant shoe toss, and some attention has been denoted trying to draw a tie between this shoe attack and the Iraqi journalist who assaulted President George W. Bush in December 2008 with a pair of shows during a news conference in Baghdad, but little attention has been given to the significance of the attached document. The Department of Defense document was dated August 1967, labeled confidential, and referred to the Bolivian operation “Cynthia.”
Operation “Cynthia” was an army plan devised to capture Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. At the time, Guevara was in Bolivia imparting the same tactics to overthrow the country’s government as he had used with Fidel Castro ten years prior. Bolivian forces were able to commandeer Guevara, and he was eventually executed only two months later on orders from Bolivian President René Barrientos.
Brian Spellacy, U.S. Secret Service supervisory special agent in Las Vegas and Mark Carpenter, spokesman for the recycling institute, said the middle-aged blonde-wigged female was not a registered convention member and should not have been in the ballroom. Although, in hindsight, it is easy to determine that the sneaker in her purse was intended for ill will, the woman was reported as having slipped past security checkpoints, skillfully avoiding the guards. After the assault, out in the hallway, the assailant sat quietly on a lobby sofa, although it has been reported that she appeared agitated. She told authorities she dropped some papers and threw a shoe, but offered no other information. Security officials quickly ushered reporters and photographers out of the way.
The woman, later identified as Alison Michelle Ernst of Phoenix, 36, was taken into custody, further questioned by authorities, and released around 9 p.m. Las Vegas police have announced that Ernst has been charged with one count of disorderly conduct, and a court date has been set for June 24. Although the coupling of the generic sneaker with such a curious document begs for explanation, perhaps the shoe toss was merely a stunt for attention, but how Ernst got her hands on the confidential photocopy begs for answers too.
A chairman of the organization interviewed the popular politician after her speech and began by announcing his deepest sentiments about the unfortunate incident. Clinton seemed rather un-phased, ducking far away from making too strong of an insinuating remark, and stated in more way than one that the state of today’s politics often leads people to do things that they think will bring them attention.
Opinion By Stacy Feder