It has taken me a few days to be ready to write this, but it's important folks know what happened.
I arrived at the rally [Friday afternoon March 11th] around 2:30pm. There were lines around the building on both sides. A small contingent of protestors had gathered on the corner kitty corner from the [Univerity of Illinois - Chicago] Pavillion. There were - what I thought at the time - way too many police. Was I wrong! I met a few friends, grabbed a spot in line, busted out my Uncle Sam hat and Trump flag and sat down on my handy backpack chair I use for line waiting.
We entered the stadium around 4 pm. Security checked tickets and searched bags. They were doing full TSA searches, with pat downs, which in retrospect, was probably a good thing. At least no one got shot. I had to give up my forgotten pocket knife, but, oh well.
I headed down to the main floor to stake out a spot in front of the podium. I was given a floor wristband and as soon as I entered, there were several new reporters who must have thought my hat was too cool, because I did three interviews and took several pictures for various news organizations next to the massive press island in the middle of the main floor.
There was a good group already in front of the podium. I found my friends from the line and wiggled close to the stage. Three young men were in front of me (Arab and likely Muslim, btw) and they hung my flag on the barricade in hopes of getting Trump to sign it. We met all types of people from all nationalities supporting Trump. We talked about VP picks, and complained that the music mix playing looped Tiny Dancer too many times. The stands were filling in, and we were getting excited.
As the stadium was filling, occasionally a protestor would make themselves known and Trump supporters would chant "Trump" or "USA" as they were being led out. But for the most part, it was peaceful inside in the beginning.
There is an announcement "This event is paid for by Donald J. Trump for his supporters. If you see a protestor, do not interact with or touch them. Just hold your rally sign above your head and shout "Trump, Trump" and a security guard will find and address the situation."
Just for those who claim "incitement", that's kinda the opposite....
It was 6 pm, 6:15, 6:20.... We were anticipating, wondering, a little antsy. Alex texted me a text asking if I was ok and is the rally safe, as friends on social media were worried about the news. I said it was fine, as at the moment it was. But shortly after that we started getting news ourselves about the protest that had started outside. Footage I have seen since Friday shows protestors shoving and trampling police, and several takedowns, police horses and pepper spray when the crowd shoved into the rear of the police horses (dumb). But I was inside....where it was still calm-ish.
A nervous man walked on the stage. We cheer, thinking he is introducing Trump. He instead said, "Donald Trump has arrived at the airport. After consideration for the safety of the rally attendees and the public, Donald Trump will not be appearing tonight. Go in peace."
Which was ironic, really. As right about then the room erupted into booing and protestors cheering, which outed all the protestors who began taunting Trump people and ripping at their signs. Several protestors went wildly thru the crowd, flipping everyone off, yelling "Fuck Trump" and occasionally smacking, punching or elbowing a Trump person, who would be compelled to react in defense.
A black pastor stormed the stage tried to take the mic. Two large, obviously off duty police officers in security detail had to forcibly remove him from the stage as he elbowed and kicked at them. For some reason, they released him back into the crowd that was now milling in confusion and relative chaos.
As the pastor passed by me briskly, I started yelling at him as he stormed around thru the crowd.
"Free Speech is Real" I yelled repeatedly. He kept repeating "Fuck you, white bitch" and flipping me off, at one point smacking his hand with middle finger into my rally sign I had in front of me and into my face. I was not hurt, but shortly after my altercation, that same man got into the scuffle you all have seen on the news. There were only some police present, and only some security, although more entered.
They did not really try to disperse the crowd, they stood kind of in groups.
At this point, there were several skirmishes kind of everywhere, instigated in almost every visible situation by wilding protestors with the "Fuck Trump" wilding MO. As the police started to get some people cleared out, those of us on the floor were uninterested and unwilling to leave, 1. out of principle, and 2. concerned about the violence we were now aware was happening outside.
The officers then became a little more active clearing the room, but still were involved in several arguments and skirmishes on the main floor. When the officers demanded we leave, I asked them if they were seriously going to kick us out into a riot, and that we did not feel safe. I was told "Well we have to clean the floor" (by cops? WTH?) We were all ushered out into the streets outside (I managed a bathroom stop, thank God.)
Outside was a mayhem that now I realize was a bit of an aftermath of the real first mob action against police. Protestors were milling in packs on the west side of the building where I was. On the south side of the building the brilliant Chicago Police Department had made a protest area that basically lined the street next to the garage exit, and created a protest gauntlet for rally goers leaving. The crowd started throwing bottles and rocks at the cars that were leaving, forcing all the cops holding order in the middle of the street on my side to run together over to the garage to contain the violence occurring to vehicles and persons on the other side.
Now, it wasn't calm on my side either, but the protestors were not barricaded in on my side so they roamed in packs, chanting, screaming "F*** you, F*** Trump, F*** the Pigs!"
I decided to stand my ground and show support with my flag until the protestors had all dispersed. Groups of protestors would come up and surround you in your face, yelling at you, demanding why you like Trump, calling you a racist, a bitch, a c***.
One black girl accused me of never having seen a black person before or knowing any black person or of having a brain enough for a job on site. Several different individuals informed me when they won they were "gonna shoot all you white folks." Some made gun fingers towards my head.
Some groups would actually try to ask questions why you support Trump and then if you answered (no matter what you said) they would immediately demand why you could "support such a racist" and when you claimed you believed his racism was media propaganda, the yelling, name calling, insults, and threats began again.
None of these roving intimidation "ganglets" were Hillary supporters. ALL of them touted Bernie, tried to debate socialism immediately. Some would demand after you explained why you like Trump that you explain why you don't like Bernie, and when you explained you disagree with socialism, they started attacking again. The ganglets always had 4-8 people and as soon as a ganglet would engage you, other roving protestors would crowd around.
Many times other Trump supporters standing nearby got nervous at the size of angry ganglet crowds that would attempt to surround me and would come and stand behind in solidarity, or even try to contain the debate assaults the Berner ganglets were engaging in.
This went on for nearly two hours. I was verbally accosted by no less than 90-100 people personally over this time. I was called every name I have ever heard. I was even threatened with violence, but just threats. In between these debate assaults, news people would come to interview you and the ganglets would force themselves in front of the camera screaming "F*** Trump" over and over to prevent the interview from being used. Fox Chicago's Dane Placko was a pro and just told the guy he wouldn't use that, we paused as he was ushered off by his friends and then continued the interview.
The crowd started getting thinner, and the protestor gangs started getting smaller and less confrontational. I started just holding my flag and encouraging Berners to go to the polls and beat Hillary. Around this time, I noticed some folks when you asked if they were for Bernie looked at you crazy, or said they don't care about that sh**, so there were, in fact, apolitical types there for some reason.
Once the cars were all out of the garage, the protestors started to leave, and the cops started to wind down. Packs of likely gang members (they walked, dressed and hung together like every other gang pack I have seen) were still roaming, and small groups of officers were following them, in a sort of cop nonconfrontational intimidation to get them to leave.
After the protestors had all basically left and the cops started pulling their cars away, I decided it was time to go. I prefer the safety of cop presence in and after riots.
So, what I can analyze is this. The cop situation inside was total BS, several assaults were instigated by protestors but cops were not making ANY apparent arrests. This led to chaos inside which was NOT safe for the people inside at all.
The inside cops shoved us out into a dangerous riot situation, where physical violence, intimidation and verbal assault via mass roving gang groups was unavoidable, and leaving the venue subjected you to attack and identification by thugs. While inside, there had been searches, outside there were obvious weapons including a report showing at least one gun was fired into the air.
There was extreme hatred and vitriol from the Berner ganglets. They had the air of militant Jehovah's WItnesses who instead of knocking politely on your door just knock it down and scream at you to accept their socialist Jesus. The name calling and shouting insults and the small group attack models was a tactic clearly taught to them by someone.
The area and the venue were NOT safe for Trump to appear. The cops did NOT really have control of the situation, and it was truly a miracle that no one was SERIOUSLY injured or killed. The Trump folks did not start the violence, they in fact were taken SEIGE by these Bernie supporting mobs for trying to attend a rally of their candidate.
U.S. Rep Luis Gutierrez (IL-04) riled up the crowd shortly before it got violent. No one called for his explanation as to inciting this crowd. Berners had a rally recently, and it looks as though the campaign may have encouraged the protest. No one demanded Bernie disavow the violence HE incites with his "revolution, 'political' revolution." Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not have the right amount of cops. Why did the city issue this permit here? It all smacks of a big fat set up.
And the WORST of it is after enduring all of that HATRED towards me personally and towards my "type" (whatever that means), after having real fear and concern for my SAFETY in a very large mob situation, after having watched civility DISSOLVE right before my eyes......I have to listen to how "proud I am of my city for stopping Trump".
There is NOTHING to be proud of in a riot. No protest that erupts into that kind of violence and hate has ANY dignity to express. And most sad is the loss of understanding of free speech which is protected specifically from this kind of physical suppression thru intimidation.
I am changed after this. This election is not a debate. It is a BATTLE. The other side, the statists who demand larger government control and handouts, have drawn first blood. They are serious as a heart attack and will use any violent or aggressive tactic to win for their "leaders". They have no respect or understanding of Constitutional liberty, and many of them openly claim to seek to bring down society into anarchic chaos
You may notice my tone has changed since Friday. I'm no longer willing to stand down while a mob of racists and statists try to commandeer our once great nation. America is a nation of individual liberty, and that fact will be changed only over my dead body. You will have to pry my freedom from my cold dead hands. And I vow to do whatever it takes to restore my nation to it's former plural glory of "one nation under God"......starting with voting.
God bless the USA. The ole girl needs it.