GOP convention opens today amid heightened tension about security

Republican officials are confident that the presence of thousands of police and federal agents in Cleveland, along with barriers and checkpoints to control traffic, will be enough to make the GOP convention opening tonight as safe as can be expected.

The confab will convene amid heightened concerns over security as a result of the terrorist attack in Nice and the targeted assassination of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge.  But it is hoped that the overwhelming show of force by law enforcement will make any troublemakers think twice about disrupting the proceedings.

Washington Times:

In Cleveland, security was already stiff ahead of the convention, with thousands of local police and federal agents on the roads and controlling intersections.

Checkpoints and security fencing have gone up around the downtown locations hosting the convention, the press and some of the delegates’ hotels, and police patrolled in cars, on foot and on horseback.

“We’ve placed barriers or barricades at certain key streets and intersections around the downtown neighborhood just to make sure that things like what transpired in Nice are thwarted here in Cleveland if they’re attempted, or at least mitigated,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “So, you know, things that happen around the country and around the world do affect, to some degree, how we respond here in Cleveland.”

On the roads into Cleveland, billboards and electronic message boards urged vigilance and promoted an RNC hotline for reporting tips of suspicious behavior.

Perhaps of greatest concern is the potential for clashes between pro- and anti-Trump supporters.  Thousands from both camps are expected to be demonstrating in carefully cordoned off areas:

“I feel good about the security plan,” Mr. Larson said. “There are a lot of people coming here to execute their First Amendment rights, and we are going to be supportive of that. This is the United States of America, and people get a chance to do that in an orderly fashion, and when they start getting disorderly, I think the police will move in.”

Mr. Trump’s outsize rhetoric is expected to draw sizable protests. But it’s also a message that won him the Republican presidential nomination despite never having held public office, and convention officials said they’ll highlight it throughout the four days of speeches.

It hardly sounds as though officials are overconfident, but expecting the unexpected is difficult – especially in trying to project what terrorists might do.  It is hoped that the large show of armed officers will deter anyone but the mentally deranged from taking violent action.  Unfortunately, someone determined to do harm always has the advantage.

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