At what point do I start to worry?

Last fall I passed one of the “Occupy” protests on my walk home.  They were sitting in the middle of the LaSalle Avenue Bridge wearing blue jackets and surrounded by police. 

Eventually, the police decided it was time to go and they arrested the people who had previously agreed to be arrested (Seriously, what normal person does this?) and they cleared the bridge.  Of course, not before they basically shut down traffic in the loop.  Such a great way to make an average Joe a supporter of your cause.  You can do just about anything as long as you don’t mess with my commute!

And now we are approaching the Nato and G8 summits.  It’s probably going to be an uneventful week.  I’ll go to work, I’ll go home, I’ll go out for dinner, etc.  Normal activities.

But I’m getting nervous.  The Chicago Tribune reported that the city is considering reimbursing local business who are interrupted by the summits and summit protesters.  Stores on the Mag Mile have the numbers of companies that can provide emergency boarding-up of windows on speed dial.  And organizers have no idea how many protesters might show up!  Stating it could range from 10,000 to 50,000. 

Seeing how 10,000 protestors caused all of the problems at the democratic convention in the 60s, I can just imagine was 5x that number is going to look like.  And they faced off against 23,000 cops.  Does Chicago even have that many cops any more? 

The police blog, Second City Cop, is reporting that Chicago has yet to ask surrounding suburbs for additional police officers, not to mention officers from other big cities who, I don’t know, actually have experience dealing with these types of activities.  Say hello New York!

Even the Obama election celebrations in Grant Park required 2,000 officers and there were reports of widespread rioting on the west and south sides that went unchecked because the police were busy elsewhere. 

So, even if we manage to keep things under control downtown, what about the surrounding neighborhoods that already teeter on lawlessness – say hello Rogers Park.  It reminds me of the scene in Die Hard with a Vengeance where the kid points out that he doesn’t see any cops and you could steal city hall if you wanted. 

I asked my managing director if he thought it was going to be a disaster of epic proportions and he replied with some garbled something about excellent opportunities to showcase Chicago…  So, I guess my firm is not making any alternate plans if the neighborhood goes to hell in a hand basket.

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