Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cops on bikes wall off chaos at Cleveland convention

     The flood-the-zone technique the police are using to control protest at the Republican National Convention is not without its hazards: I watched how a scuffle that broke out after an attempted flag burning turned into a densely-packed mob scene that might have been more dangerous than the incident that sent scores of cops—and members of the media—running to the same spot. (The would-be flag burner, for fans of divine justice, ended up setting fire to his pants, and 18 were arrested in the resultant scuffle. I did not see the incident itself, so can't judge whether 10 cops would have handled it more easily than 100; my hunch is that more isn't always necessarily better). 
    But in the main, it has been very effective for the first three days of the convention, and watching it in action, I thought I would try to describe what struck me as its most noteworthy feature, the use of bicycles as a crowd-control device.

     CLEVELAND — The Bible Believers are back, standing at the edge of Public Square, haranguing the crowd.
     “Your parents hated you,” screams one, through a megaphone. “They spared the rod! They sent you to public schools! Look at you now! You’re pathetic in the eyes of God!”
     The crowd shouts back, makes obscene gestures, pushes closer for a better look.
     Within minutes, Cleveland police start rolling their bicycles around the speaker and his cohort.
     “Make way, make way,” says one. Soon there are 80 officers with bicycles circling the platform, separating the incendiary group from the rest of the square.
     It’s called the “Barrier Technique” and was pioneered by the Seattle police department, which sent officers to Cleveland to train its 280 bicycle cops. The convention is the first time they’ve used the tactic, to direct marchers, to close off streets, and diffuse angry crowds. If the Republican National Convention’s last day ends as peacefully as the first three, credit will go first to the police — 4,500 from 40 departments across the country, though not Chicago (“They have their own problems to worry about,” quipped one high Cleveland police official).
   But the humble bicycle, skillfully deployed, also deserves praise.
     “Absolutely wonderful,” agrees a Cleveland police officer. “Saved the day.”

To continue reading, click here. 


  1. I like to challenge people who try to proselytize me. I'll ask do you believe what The Bible says? Good, then quote Matthew Chap. 16 verses 18&19:
    Jesus Christ said: Thou art Peter and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the underworld can never overpower it.
    I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
    So unless you are Catholic you're going to hell, good day.

    1. As Martin Luther rejoined: When Jesus told Peter "Feed my sheep," did He mean that no one else could feed them without Peter's permission?

    2. I tried that one once getting free coffee and a doughnut at the Pacific Garden Mission and not quite enduring the sermonizing of an obviously self-taught preacher, who looked to me like a ex farmer or miner. I would have kept quiet if I hadn't felt like a hypocrite eating his doughnut and drinking his coffee with a pint of whiskey ensconsed in my peacoat. He cursed me to everlasting damnation, almost frothing at the mouth. It was funny and scary at the same time, this old man railing at an 18-year-old stripling and I felt no less a hypocrite walking out of there with a smirk on my face.


    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Having never gone inside myself, years ago in my ignorance I'd suggest to homeless people in need, to visit the Pacific Garden Mission. All the stories I've heard from the homeless were consistent. Part of their preaching technique was to use sleep deprivation and wake everyone up every few hours for an impromptu prayer session. That explained why those who stayed overnight would head to Grant Park and go to sleep. They would also confiscate any medication they found, even if the person could show them a valid prescription and ID. As one homeless person put it, they are evil people.

    5. George Bernard Shaw once damned those who would try to convert a hungry man with a slice of bread in one hand and a Bible in the other.

      Those people sure loves them some captive audiences. Why do you think they're always trying to horn in on school ceremonies?

      Bitter Scribe

    6. That I have had many Jewish friends I attribute in part to the fact that Judaism isn't a proselyting religion. That and the jokes.

      Tom Evans

  2. How nice that believing in the Bible means believing that black people don't care about their children. I must have missed that verse.

    Bitter Scribe

  3. It's doubtful that Jesus had Popes and the rich, crooked Vatican in mind when he said that. Those fundamentalist whackjobs think though that mainline Protestants and Catholics don't count. They are more unscientific as well and more pushy. That goes for the goofy LDS and Jehovah's witnesses too. As much as I despise Trump, he's half an ounce better than Romnuts and his cult.

  4. Wait, so because I was sent to public schools, I'm pathetic in the eyes of god? You'd think that all of the private schools would be using that as a selling point.

  5. To say nothing of people who can't afford a private school. I would say the one getting the bull science, claiming the earth is 10k yrs old, is the pathetic and deprived one. And they don't realize that in many suburbs, the public school may be even better than religious ones.

    NS don't get heat stroke outside there.

  6. I think the bicycle-encircling method is ingenious and non-inflammatory, so kudos to those who invented it and those who chose to learn and implement it. Thank you for bringing it to our attention!


Comments are vetted and posted at the discretion of the proprietor.