The circus known as the Republican National Convention begins this week. We say circus not to minimize its importance in the overall political structure of America. We are not even speaking about the circus that is Donald Trump who has been called a “vulgar, demented, pig demon” by some of his closest friends.
The circus to which we refer begins right along with the Republican Convention on Monday July 18 through Thursday July 21, and it will be unfolding on the streets of Cleveland, Ohio. In case you haven’t been looking at the statistics, Cleveland is one of the most unsafe cities in the nation, landing in the bottom two percent, right along with Detroit, were violent crime rates are concerned.
Political conventions are always magnets for protests. This particular year and this particular convention, the security concerns are enormous—and justifiably frightening.
According to the city’s police department, working in conjunction with the FBI, there are dozens of groups which have officially registered as protesters at the convention. There are expected to be an equal amount that just show up, or are lone wolves with madness in their minds.
Despite the fact that the city has an official “protest route” for the rebel rousers to take and a park for them to assemble, there will be outbreaks of violence as 50,000 people descend into a town best known for its hospitals—the Cleveland Clinic among them.
Throughout the primaries, Trump’s campaign has deliberately agitated vast segments of the population with racial remarks against blacks and Latinos. He has made no secret that he is a religious bigot against Muslims. And his anti-gay LGBT comments are growing more intense as the days tick down to the convention itself.
Recent events involving the shootings of blacks by police as well as the deadly ambush and killing of five officers in Dallas last week have heightened tensions. Add to this mix, Ohio’s open-carry gun laws, and you have a recipe for wholesale violence.
Making matters worse, Ohio’s open-carry gun laws have the head of “Bikers for Trump” telling CNN that Cleveland’s streets could turn into “the O.K. Corral.”
The open-carry gun laws in the state make it legal for anyone over 18 to carry a handgun in the state (unless they are a felon). Ohio is a right to carry state, which means that anyone who enters the 1.7 square mile event zone surrounding the convention center can legally possess and display a gun.
What they cannot have is a sword, a hatchet, an ax, a slingshot, a BB gun, a pellet gun and or brass knuckles. A .450 Magnum on the other hand is allowed. So too are semi-automatic assault weapons.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the Cleveland Police Department has previously been found guilty of using excessive violence in the protection of its citizens. According to a 2014 report from the Department of Justice, “We have determined that structural and systemic deficiencies and practices—including insufficient accountability, inadequate training, ineffective policies, and inadequate engagement with the community—contribute to the use of unreasonable force.”
Officially, the police department is saying nothing about any special efforts being taken to protect the delegates and politicians, as well as the protestors and agitators during the convention. It is known that the police have ordered millions of dollars in body armor and tactical weaponry. The police department has 1,400 active members, but has recruited police from surrounding cities to join the patrols during the convention, hoping to have 4,000 uniformed men and women on active duty.
According to CNN, Amnesty International USA announced it would be sending “human rights observers” to both Cleveland and Philadelphia, which will host the Democratic convention from July 25-28.
“Given the inevitable demonstrations at each and the uptick we’ve seen in excessive force at protests recently, AIUSA felt it was crucial that we have folks on the ground,” the group said in a statement.
Of the $50 million in Federal grant money allotted for security at the convention, nearly half went to order baton and protective suits.
And all this for Donald Trump, who claims to be the “Law and Order Candidate.”