Come Hell or High Water…

9 Jan

capitol-building-inauguration-bleachersFor a while now I’ve been hearing people say, “What if something happens on Inauguration Day?”  I usually look at them, roll my eyes, and think everyone is getting all hyped up over nothing.  But in light of some news over the past few days, I can’t seem to shake that thought.

Let’s start with the facts.  The city of DC is estimating that somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 million people will be flocking into the beltway in just over a week.  VA is closing off ALL of its bridges across the Potomac to traffic, and the DC metro is no where near large enough to support the amount of expected passengers.  If you ask me, this alone seems like about as big of a disaster as Britney Spears.

But of course, with all of the people, and all of the excitement, this would be a prime time for our nightmares to come true.  Today CNN reports that an organized terrorist attack is highly unlikely.  I would even say that it is extremely unlikely.  CNN also reports, however, that what is of particular concern is, “the possibility of a lone wolf gunman, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers. The FBI and Homeland Security have issued a threat assessment to law enforcement and other law enforcement officials nationwide.” Now that scares me.

To deal with all of the crowds, the city will be importing thousands of extra cops and military, but is it really possible to observe and monitor everyone?  What would happen if a shooter did happen to pull a trigger?  He would most certainly be taken care of very quickly, but wouldn’t everyone freak?  I hate thinking about the extreme chaos that would erupt with millions of people on the mall.

My other concern is whether or not the DC/imported police and military are really prepared to deal with such large crowds.  At nearly all of the major political rallies over the past several years (DNC, RNC, etc.) there have been protesters causing trouble, crowds getting rowdy, and police dealing with it poorly.  With such heightened tensions, you never know what could happen.

This is a video of protesters in Oakland, CA after a police officer shot an unarmed man on New Years Day.  The victim was face down, being held by the police officers when he was shot.  His death has caused many outraged citizens in Oakland to lash out.  The city of Oakland, CA has approximately 400,000 citizens (with a much larger population in the surrounding area) spread out over about 60 square miles.

Now what if something like that were to happen, but with a 2 million people, all standing in about a 3 sq mile radius?  I really do not want to find out.

For me January 20 will be a day I never forget.  The swearing in of a man who means so much to so many of us not only because of his politics, but because of his love and hope for our country and the world.  I will be working my way through those crowds down on the mall that day come hell or high water, but I hope and pray that the only memories I have of next Tuesday are of progress and a belief in our nation, not of destruction.

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