Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Police prepare for unrest regardless of who wins/loses

I grew up about 10 miles from the epicenter of the Watts riots in the 60s. In fact, my earliest living memory is of hiding in the room furthest from the front of the house. We kept it very quiet and dark. The TV was kept very low. Some cousins and the neighbors older kids were there and kept us all quiet. Prior to nightfall, the adults would make a huge batch of popcorn and give us a treat we rarely ever had ... soda. Then, the adults would prepare for the coming darkness by hunkering down in the front of the house prepared to put out any fires which could have been lit by rioters throwing rocks wrapped with flaming fuel socked rags through the windows (Yes, a rock did indeed come through the window on at least one occasion). It was not a pleasant time to live in South Central Los Angeles. Especially if you were white. I'm blond.

Either way you look at it, law enforcement expects riots.
Police departments in cities across the country are beefing up their ranks for Election Day, preparing for possible civil unrest and riots after the historic presidential contest.

Public safety officials said in interviews with The Hill that the election, which will end with either the nation’s first black president or its first female vice president, demanded a stronger police presence.

Some worry that if Barack Obama loses and there is suspicion of foul play in the election, violence could ensue in cities with large black populations. Others based the need for enhanced patrols on past riots in urban areas (following professional sports events) and also on Internet rumors.

Democratic strategists and advocates for black voters say they understand officers wanting to keep the peace, but caution that excessive police presence could intimidate voters.

Sen. Obama (Ill.), the Democratic nominee for president, has seen his lead over rival Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) grow in recent weeks, prompting speculation that there could be a violent backlash if he loses unexpectedly.

Cities that have suffered unrest before, such as Detroit, Chicago, Oakland and Philadelphia, will have extra police deployed.

In Oakland, the police will deploy extra units trained in riot control, as well as extra traffic police, and even put SWAT teams on standby.

Prepare yourselves. I have an actively monitored security system but am well-armed regardless. The police can only respond to a crime after the fact. I do not intend to be a victim. But, if I am, I will go down fighting and hopefully, for the better of society, take the "perp" with me.

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