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McCain’s Brother Calls 911 About Traffic

WJLA, DC’s ABC affiliate, reports that Joe McCain called Alexandria 911 earlier in the week to complain that he was stuck in traffic.

A 911 tape, reportedly of Sen. John McCain’s brother Joe, could prove controversial for the McCain camp since the call was not for an emergency, but rather to complain about being stuck in traffic.

The call came into Alexandria’s 911 system on October 21.

Operator: 911 state your emergency

Caller: It’s not an emergency, but do you know why on one side at the damn drawbridge of 95 traffic is stopped for 15 minutes and yet traffic’s coming the other way?

Operator: Sir, are you calling 911 to complain about traffic? (pause)

Caller: “(Expletive) you.” (caller hangs up)

The complaint call about traffic on the Wilson Bridge forced the 911 dispatcher to call back. The voice mail on the other end, appears to belong to Joe McCain, brother of presidential candidate, John McCain. “Hi this is Joe McCain. I can’t take this message now because I’m involved in a very (inaudible) important political project. I hope on November 4th we have elected John.”

Aside from the curiosity factor, this really doesn’t have anything to do with John McCain or his qualifications to be president.

As to his brother, while this was obviously not an emergency, we have been trained over the years that 911 is the number to dial for police, with nearly half of 911 calls now for non-emergency purposes. Indeed, the practice is so ingrained that the phrase “911 non-emergency” is what emergency services are using to direct people to use the regular number. Some jurisdictions have just adapted to this reality and encourage people to call 911 for routine business, although a handful have come up with alternate numbers (311, I believe) for non-emergency use.

More interesting: How did this official tape get released to the press? Do they routinely do that for 911 calls? For non-emergency 911 calls? Or just to embarrass political candidates?

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. sam says:

    Aside from the curiosity factor, this really doesn’t have anything to do with John McCain or his qualifications to be president.

    It doesn’t!! Ah, damn. Now if it had been Joe Obama calling 911 to bitch about traffic, well one can imagine how that would be played up around the rightwing blogasm daisy-chain….(I don’t consider OTB part of that flower garland…well, maybe some of the commenters.)

    But, you know, at this stage in the campaign, pre-traumatic shock is setting in all around. I myself just want this thing to be over so I can spend more time over at Gone Hollywood finding out that things like Gary Busey Snorted Cocaine Off His Dog. (Crikey–look at that picture. Dooood!)

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  2. Brian says:

    I’ve been a law enforcement officer and I’ve worked in dispatch and I can tell you that these sorts of calls happen more often than they should. How should they be handled? Try and help the public while getting off the phone as quickly as possible to not tie-up a call-taker. Did this happen? I don’t know. I imagine the whole of 1 minute or less was taken up of the call-taker’s time. How did this get to the press? Money or political motivation, or the dispatchers and the supervisor saved the call and passed it around because the person is a celebrity of sorts and it was forwarded to the media by someone. If Michael Jordan called in for something like this, it would find its way to the press as well. Otherwise these kinds of calls don’t get released.

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  3. Eric says:

    How did this official tape get released to the press?

    Let me just preempt the usual loonies in here: it was a liberal conspiracy to draw American’s attention away from the fact that Obama is a terrorist who is bent on imposing socialism and forced collectivization while converting everyone to Islam and gay marriage.

    There. It’s out of the way now.

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  4. DC Loser says:

    Caller: It’s not an emergency, but do you know why on one side at the damn drawbridge of 95 traffic is stopped for 15 minutes and yet traffic’s coming the other way?

    Mr. McCain obviously doesn’t drive across the Wilson Bridge with any frequency. That’s the normal traffic flow he’s describing. I can tell he’s one of those “Me First” drivers that populate the DC traffic scene.

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  5. Bob says:

    This call from McCain’s brother will get far more MSM buzz than the fact that Joe Biden’s brother killed two people in an auto accident a decade ago and has an outstanding $800k judgement against him. Biden’s brother is stumping for him but not sure McCain’s brother is stumping. And neither of these facts actually reflect on the candidate.

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