A mailman from Florida landed his gyrocopter in front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in a surprise stunt that saw guards pull out automatic weapons before he was arrested. “I’m demanding reform and declaring a voter’s rebellion in a manner consistent with Jefferson’s description of rights in the Declaration of Independence,” Doug Hughes, 61, wrote in letters addressed to each member of Congress. “As a member of Congress, you have three options. 1. You may pretend corruption does not exist. 2. You may pretend to oppose corruption while you sabotage reform. 3. You may actively participate in real reform.”
Hughes told the Tampa Bay Times about his planned stunt before it happened. He said he got the idea after his eldest son committed suicide; grief motivated him to draw attention to political issues important to him. According to the reporter who spoke to Hughes, he “needs the show, the very dramatic public act of civil disobedience, to hijack the news cycle and focus the nation’s attention” on campaign-finance reform.
“I’m not promoting myself. I’m trying to direct millions of people to information, to a menu of organizations that are working together to fix Congress.”
Hughes didn’t seem worried, either.
“I don’t believe that the authorities are going to shoot down a 60-year-old mailman in a flying bicycle,” he said.