Advancing Our Country Forward, A Security Perspective

TOPSHOT – Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they try to storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021. – Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

[Hi, bmaz here, I am posting this from our beloved Roving Reporter Rosalind. She knows a bit about highly charged security issues, give it a read please.]

I spent my 20s and 30s working in large-scale concert production working for rock promoter Bill Graham Presents, dealing with crowds from 20,000 to 60,000 people packed into one defined area. In preparation for each show production staff would go through a procedure called “advancing the show”. As most tours were routed east to west, our production manager would call the band’s production manager after the tour had been underway and go through the production rider – the contract detailing the staging requirements – to confirm details and cover any surprises that had cropped up. Added equipment that made the truck pack go slower triggering overtime, feuding band members who needed their dressing rooms separated, a health issue requiring a local doctor to be on call backstage.

The most critical staff member for advancing the show was our Head of Security. She would call her counterpart at a venue where the band had already played to get their after-show report. At the end of each show the Security Head writes up the report detailing any arrests, what charges, how drunk, how many security staff were assigned, what time alcohol sales were cut off, what time the gates opened, what procedures were used to screen the crowd, notes on anything that should be done differently the next time. Each show required a different security set-up, based on the audience profile.

As most acts toured every summer, a level of institutional knowledge built up about what to expect but you never took anything for granted. When you have 20,000 people in the audience and 200 security staff keeping watch, the art of crowd psychology becomes critical to ensuring a safe event. Add in gravity, with the audience angled up, if anything triggered an unexpected mass movement down there would be no way of stopping it.

To keep things in control, you start at the gates, doing a thorough search to catch contraband items, especially anything that can be used as a weapon. Alcohol sales are monitored and cut off early if people are over-indulging. You start the show on time, end it on time. Security watches the crowd, not the show, ready to step in quickly should anything pop up. The key is to catch a situation before it has a chance to spread. At the end of a show the audience may see those in front suddenly move into the aisles and head down to the stage to dance and sing and exult in their proximity to their idols. While this may look like a moment of spontaneity, 95% of the time this is a pre-planned maneuver called “releasing the aisles”. It is done in coordination with band security, allowing the audience a release while keeping everyone safe. The other 5% of the time is when a performer, often an overnight sensation who has never before played to a huge venue, gazes up at her 20,000 adoring fans and invites them to “come on down!!” (looking at you, Madonna). Security has to spring into emergency action to keep the audience within their sections and prevent an out of control stampede.

Watching the horror unfold on January 6th in Washington, D.C. at our People’s House has prompted my memories of how to conduct proper security, and how not to. As soon as I saw the barricade set-up I got a pit in my stomach, correctly predicting someone would get crushed and suffocated or trampled to death. I immediately flashed back to my worst concert experience from a crowd safety standpoint: a Neil Young & Pearl Jam show at The Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington State.

The show was put on by a different promoter, and my friend and I were there to see the show and hang with our friends on the band production staff. When it was close to showtime we made our way to the area in front of the stage and looked at each other in alarm. Before us was a standing room area, then a steep cliff, then a large section of bleacher seats perched at the top overlooking. The lower standing room area was bisected by temporary fencing to carve out a VIP section at the very front. The people behind were literally forced to look through a fucking fence to see the stage. You now have a pissed off section of audience wanting to be up there in first class and not stuck back here in steerage. Worse, the temporary fencing was poorly installed and in one look we knew it would never hold. A man on the other side of the fence agreed, and we watched as he walked along the perimeter, methodically punching it every few feet, the security guard oblivious. It was obvious he was testing for the weakest link, and the moment the show started he would make his move. Meanwhile way up top a man began to climb down the cliff face, holding onto bits of shrubbery, until gravity took hold and he plummeted down landing at the back of steerage. The crowd roared. Another man immediately stepped up to take the plunge.

My friend and I ran backstage and explained the situation to our band production buds, begging them to get the promoter to take down the temporary fencing, but for whatever reasons they did not share our concern. We went back out front and watched and waited. The moment the band hit the stage the recon guy threw his full body weight into the fence, toppling it over onto people on the other side, trapping them underneath where they got trampled as people poured through the hole. At the same time body after body came plunging down the cliff, landing in a heap. My friend and I pushed to the front of the stage, waving our arms wildly, screaming at the band, trying to get their attention, the crew’s attention. Finally they stopped the show and tried to calm the crowd while personnel went to the aid of the people crushed under the fence. Injured people carried out, remaining fence taken down, steerage merged in with first class, the show restarted.

That the promoter made it out of that show with only broken bones and no deaths is nothing short of a miracle. In the aftermath, the Gorge was completely re-done, the cliff dug out to turn it into a more conventional amphitheatre configuration. I hear it’s beautiful. I haven’t been back.

As the country grapples with the ongoing repercussions of the Trump insurrectionists, the pressure for a knee jerk reaction to the security failure is gonna be huge. To encase the Capitol in a barricade bubble with armed security on every corner. This will be a tragic mistake. There will be much more to come out in the weeks ahead to fill in the who, what and why. But what’s already known shows that the Trumpists have been “testing the fences” for months and years now, zeroing in on the weak links in full view. Preparing for the start of show, and the moment their Glorious Leader invites them all to storm the stage.

We do not need a massive increase in the number of police personnel. We do need a massive increase in thinking outside the conventional box. To be pro-active, and stop trouble in its tracks before it can spread. Unfortunately, tragically, almost all levers of power in our Country have worked together to soften and excuse the growing crisis of Americans taking up arms to promote their white supremacist beliefs and QAnon conspiracies, standing by as the groups target our fellow citizens for violence. That any politician or law enforcement official can profess shock at the Capitol Siege is to confess their sin of complicity before the world. They watched the toxic clouds erupt all across our nation, streaming towards D.C., but told themselves soothing fairytales to sleep at night. They’ve now awoken to our collective nightmare where democracy destroying extremists are embedded at every level of our society, from law enforcement to the top tiers of government. And we will be forced to work furiously to counteract this poison for years to come.

Back at Bill Graham Presents, we did not prepare security plans for a particular concert based on the color of the audience’s skin, or their political beliefs, or social standing. We based it on verifiable facts, a proven track record and shared information to keep our decisions rooted in current events. There are hundreds of trained concert security personnel sitting at home, waiting for the touring industry to re-start. I say we bring a brigade of these folk to D.C. to consult with Congress and the District of Columbia leadership on ways to re-think crowd control and security. To make them better understand the intricacies of crowd psychology and mob psychology. To illustrate how the current protest preparations are flipped, with the “audience” that has a proven track record of being peaceful is deemed violent and gassed & smashed before they’ve made it through the front gate, while the “audience” storming State Capitols is given a light pat down and friendly smile.

The first area I’d welcome rock’n’roll security is on either side of the new metal detector inside Congress. I guarantee you not one single shitheel Republican will be able to arrogantly push their way past or sneak a loaded gun into the Chamber. Our crew don’t let any unauthorized motherfuckers backstage.

103 replies
  1. Fraud Guy says:

    The problem with the Republicans bypassing the metal detectors is that they’re part of the band, so to speak.

    • bmaz says:

      Naw, there is nothing wrong with putting the band and crew through security, especially if they are perceived threats.

      • Lawnboy says:

        Re: “Im with the Band so its ok”

        See Leon Russel song “If the shoe fits” from Carney, 1972.
        (His best album)
        I worked security , the author is right, when it gets bad.

      • BobCon says:

        If the leadership is serious about automatic deductions from paychecks, the rest will fall in line. You can’t yell at a direct deposit statement. Strip away the theater and force dodgers to explain to landlords and spouses why they keep falling short every month. Maybe millionaires will keep it up, but they’ll notice more and more colleagues falling in line.

          • BobCon says:

            The defiance has been on a wide range of issues and leadership needs to stop atomizing decisions and fighting battles one by one. They should institute a wide range of easily enforceable changes all at once. The single most effective approach to reining in bad actors is to establishing to them that they are weak in multiple areas and hitting multiple pressure points at once. Quick and certain responses matter a lot more than severity.

          • cavenewt says:

            The idea of a fine for security violations confuses me. If a Republican congressmember wants to bypass the metal detector, does that mean they’re essentially buying a ticket for $5000? Do they still let them walk by?

            • Vicks says:

              Yes, and because they are violating the rules on “principal” their benefactors will be tripping over each other to buy their ten minutes of game and pay the fines

    • civil says:

      I saw a photo that they’d added tables on either side of the metal detectors to block MoCs from walking around the metal detectors.

        • pluky says:

          Shute to the detector with a gate that has to be unlocked by security person on duty. Gate does not get unlocked until every item triggering the scan alarm has been verified benign. If the Congress-critter has previously undisclosed piercings that are desired to remain undisclosed, I suggest leaving them at home while working.

  2. rosalind says:

    thanks, all. haven’t had a post up at the mothership in a while, and know i’m a new name to a lot of you.

    my big ask is we all push back forcibly and loudly against the predictable rush to enact new “laws” in wake of the siege. we don’t need one new law on the books, or one new executive order. what we do need is calm and reason to prevail over knee jerk emotion and fear. and for the love of god please don’t celebrate names being added to the no fly list, even if they’re the “baddies”. there are adequate laws on the books to handle all aspects of the siege without ensnaring innocents in this stupid list. rant off/

    • Ken Muldrew says:

      Perhaps just one modification to state that the insurrection act cannot be invoked by the chap who starts the insurrection.

    • Peterr says:

      Great writeup, Rosalind!

      One question: you talked about the physical changes made at The Gorge after that ugly concert, but what about changes to the event staff leadership who thought they had a good setup in the first place?

      At the Capitol, the Capitol Police are beginning to speak out about the failures of preparation that they see at the heart of this, starting with the racism in the force that led some to say in essence “Oh, these are *good* protesters — not like BLM — so things will be fine” and moving from there to the absence of coordination before the event with other agencies and forces. I don’t hear any of them calling for new laws. They just want new leadership that knows what the hell it’s doing.

      From outside the force, I’ve seen interviews with various security folks (FBI, police, etc.) who looked at the security setup ahead of time and had the same reaction you did to The Gorge. “There’s no way this will work,” and it didn’t.

      There’s lots of room to improve security within the existing laws.

      • rosalind says:

        hi peterr!! gorge: the promoter was “scared straight”. the police, fire, and local authorities made it clear the whole venue had to be re-designed and upgraded.

        D.C.: day of it was a failure to enforce the existing rules. they allowed the crowd to break every single one of them from the start, including illegally parking their trucks. this usually triggers an immediate ticket & tow, but the vehicles sat untouched. vehicles holding their weaponry that they could conveniently swing by and pick up on their way from the rally to Congress. all signs point to a “stand down” order, and we have to wait for the facts on this to come out.

        as for the prep, yes i feel Trump’s loyalists issued another type of “stand down” order, to let “his people” do their thing at the rally. i also feel a smaller subset of Trump’s security planned for the crowd to then descend on Congress after and scare the shit out of them. and then…the monster escaped Frankenstein’s control.

        • Peterr says:

          Scaring Congress was clearly Trump’s plan.

          Whether he and his minions meant the mob descending on Congress to scare them politically, physically, or both remains an open question.

        • phred says:

          Great post ros, thanks so much for writing this! I couldn’t agree more that we do not need an iota of new legislation, we just need the powers that be to enforce the laws that we have.

          Secondly, thank you SO much in your follow up here for calling out what is painfully clear. The D.C. insurrection was not the outcome of a lack of intelligence, it was clearly due to law enforcement leadership standing down to allow the Trumpists to run riot.

          I have been to several protests in D.C. and elsewhere over the last few decades and NEVER have I seen so little police presence. Where were the mounted police? The motorcycle cops? The cruisers parked all around the rally (or along the parade route if it is a march)?

          I have read that the Capitol Police rank and file are exceedingly unhappy with their leadership. They should be. They weren’t intended to stop the riot. I think the silence from leadership of the various federal law enforcement agencies speaks volumes. As the investigation unfolds, I look forward to learning the decision making process here to find out the degree of collusion across Team Trump in the White House and acting heads of several federal agencies.

          • Coffae says:

            My husband works at the Alameda County California Human Social Services. It is clear that the dysfunction goes across all federal agencies (sorry to those at the front lines, no it is not you I am talking about.) HUD for instance, steps on it own toes trying to get the simplest thing done. Like The Department of Education, it is clear that they just don’t care.

            Biden has a huge job ahead of him.

        • JVO says:

          The proud Capitol police who stood down and stood by need to be identified and exited from the force as well as go through some trouble with the penal system.

      • Stacey says:

        Yes, enforce existing laws! I was reading an article on Daily Kos that referenced most, if not all, states have some sort of anti-militia group laws that would easily allow state officials to go round up most of these active militia groups for straight-up being illegal according to existing state laws. But is that ever going to happen?

        Well, God help us if it dose NOT! I know it’s hard to disarm crazies you’ve let get armed because you didn’t want to tangle with their 2nd amendment misunderstandings masquerading as rights, but now that you’ve let “North Korea obtain nuclear weapons” how exactly do you plan on de-escalating them, Numbnuts? The whole reason they WANTED to arm themselves is to take you over some day. Follow the plot!

  3. Raven Eye says:

    In 2000, as a guest of the local constabulary, I had the good fortune to observe the pre-event security procedures at a UK Champions League (their second tier) football match. I was invited by a sergeant we were working with on a different project and attended the briefings for the police and the separate briefing for the venue security team. It was impressive — based on some hard lessons learned. My sponsor gave me the opportunity to read through the book with all the applicable laws (which included special provisions for a “designated sporting event”), and then we went outside so he could show me how it was put together on the ground. He had his own stories* too, starting from when he was a newly-minted constable.

    As described above, this was fact-based preparation and operations, with the venue and police working in concert and knowing the venue layout/configuration. By 2000, the national intelligence system was fairly mature, and the security team knew who was banned, and who to keep an eye on. Duties were understood, and there was an established process for assessing developments and dealing with escalations.

    The event was just one city and one stadium, so that’s a significant difference from something like the inauguration. D.C. is certainly not short on resources but this seems to be more of a “work smarter” problem than a “work harder” (just keep bringing in more troops and cops) problem.

    * I learned about “coining”.

    • Peterr says:

      “It was impressive — based on some hard lessons learned.”

      I’ll bet that was impressive indeed. UK football hooliganism in the 1980s and 90s was something else.

  4. timbo says:

    Great article. Unfortunately, with the militarization of our police has come a lack of understanding about basic precepts of crowd control and governance. When the solution is to bring more personnel and weapons to the party rather than thinking things through in a clear and rational manner, based on expertise experience by folks proven to be effective and non-violent de-escalation, one as often as now will get the opposite effect.

    This is the difference between “breaking the will to resistance”, a military concept of projecting overwhelming force, rather than avoiding the perceived need for resistance in the first place. If one brings heavily armed troops to a bonfire, one is less likely to put said bonfire out as effectively than if one brought well prepared firefighers, not to mention that all the ammo and fuel in military vehicles tends to be highly combustible and explosive…

    • John Paul Jones says:

      I think the 20,000 troops is very much theater. What it’s saying to the armed militias is – “You can’t afford this.” Which means they will try to find softer targets at state Capitols, Michigan, for example.

      Kind of scary watching video of that fire team of “soldiers” going up the Capitol steps, weaving their way through the crowd. I hope they picked them up on interior surveillance.

      • Peterr says:

        “Show of force” is also a security measure, saying “Don’t even think about it” to those who are thinking about it.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        The conspirators (low-level) I keep an eye on decided last week not to target DC for the inauguration, but rather to aim at the relatively softer (and cheaper to reach) targets in local and state offices. And because they think they are smart, they aren’t necessarily aiming for January 20. I’m praying that they don’t come out of this–long-term–*looking* smart.

      • Raven Eye says:

        20,000 National Guard personnel does seem like a lot, but the Army is not exactly a Lean Six Sigma organization. I don’t know what the task organization looks like, so I don’t know how many of them will be “on the line” during the headliner inauguration events. But when you consider a military tooth-to-tail ratio, 20,000 people need a lot of support. I believe the DC Guard includes two MP companies and a transportation company – along with some command overhead and a Civil Support Team (for CBRNE). Historically, the MP companies have included a lot of police officers.

        There will be plenty of “normal” law enforcement and security personnel on hand, and the Big Three for the event are the Metropolitan Police, Capitol Police, and the National Park Service. Throw in the Federal Protective Service and the police officers from all of the agencies with properties in that part of DC and a lot of support is needed.

        As for the bad apples – I’m sure there are some in any of those organizations. One thing going for the military deploying as organized units is unit cohesiveness. Even when spread over an area, the noncoms are expected to maintain situational awareness of events and their soldiers. Down into those elements, you hear talk of “battle buddies” and occasionally “brother from a different mother”. It matters. I’m sure there are some Oath Keepers and 3 Percenters scattered around, but I would be surprised to see those sentiments acted out. I think we can be pretty sure that command has been making clear what is expected. Two things share the military’s attention at the tip of pyramid…One of them is POTUS.

      • timbo says:

        In this subtopic I was originally referring to the local police forces around the country in my commentary, not the National Guard. My comment was general and not specific to the upcoming Inauguration, which is coming at a time of national crisis.

        In the case of the upcoming Inauguration of Biden-Harris, it is very understandable that the NG be there to show that the NG stands for the Constitution and not against it. That is critical. And I also greatly hope that it is true… for the next real relief or grief point will have been passed once the Inaugration has completed its Constitutional duties and those attending are all safely about the People’s business.

        However, I hasten to add that using Guard is a double-edged sword in this specific case. Some people will feel relieved by it and some will be incredibly worried by it. And who is right about which edge might be used is unknown to those of us on the outside of the planning for the event. I’m hoping the Guard isn’t compromised but we on the outside won’t really know for sure until after the 20th.

    • rip says:

      Bringing more weaponry and personnel to an event is how the now corporatized LEO makes money. Charge by the tank, man-hours, rounds discharged, etc.

      Using tactical knowledge and trying to deal with the situations with the force you have is not a money-making venture.

      • timbo says:

        Certainly local police forces always defaulting to hard power seems to have been profitable for many military and paramilitary gear manufacturers here in this country.

  5. Chris.EL says:

    is this the quiet night before the storm?

    please excuse a national security tangent?

    never really versed in the Dinesh D’Souza Dude, just did a quick query — d’ya think he’s connected to Kash Patel?

  6. punaise says:

    Stolen from Facebook:

    Unconfirmed sources report that Eric Trump was so depressed about the family failure that he locked himself inside a closed garage for over an hour with his Tesla running.

    • Chris.EL says:

      there are no words — only laffter — totally in character for Don Jr. right?

      Seriously, what is there in the future for him?

      Does he have *any* talent?

      Oh, wait a minute — he can kill — hey! Yo! He can kill endangered animals!


    • Raven Eye says:

      Later, police told reporters that the younger Trump spent most of that time in an unsuccessful attempt to seal the garage door with the dozens of MyPillows found at the scene by first responders.

    • S.Chepaitis says:

      OK, just lost my cup of coffee, why do I always seem to sip at the wrong moment. This was almost as good as the one last year about Gordon Sondland’s briefs. I think that was Earl Grey. Good thing I read these before dinner. Old Vine Zinfandel is too good to just spray around.

    • CCM says:

      Funny thing is that a modern engine with intact emissions controls does not emit enough carbon monoxide to commit suicide. OK, now for a battle story. My worse case was a woman who used an older car, got her carboxyhemoglobin sky high, took an overdose of tricyclic antidepressants (older drug, much more toxic than the modern stuff), then vomited and ruptured her esophagus (90% mortality.) We got her through it and she then convinced a psychiatrist to release her only to take another OD and survive that as well. Moral of the story? Help me out on this one.

      • Chris.EL says:

        Looking for a big dose of honesty today? Here are two:

        2. From book review article New York Times, last paragraph:
        …”Iris Murdoch’s “A Severed Head” is a great fog novel. “Summerwater” is pretty close to a great rain novel. “The Scottish sky,” Moss writes, “is better at obscenity than any human voice.”

        Follow Dwight Garner on Twitter: @DwightGarner.

        By Sarah Moss
        203 pages. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $25.”

        To emphasize ~~~ “The Scottish sky,” Moss writes, “is better at obscenity than any human voice.”


      • John Paul Jones says:

        You can’t deflect people when they really want to do something? Or when they are too mentally scrambled? I’ve met more than a few over the years also who actively seek help and advice and then ignore it and keep on keepin’ on. For some situations, there is no solution, you can only patch and release.

    • BobCon says:

      Let me guess. He was down in DC for the rally and got so upset he wanted to fill a bathtub and drop in a toaster, but realized nobody in his family would let him use their bathroom.

  7. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Back in the mid-70’s I went to see the Allman Brothers at the Rochester (NY) War Memorial, which was basically a cavernous hockey arena occasionally used for concerts. When it did get used for music, they’d lay plywood over the ice and you could feel it under your feet. It was cold in there but with a large concert crowd, that was probably a good thing.

    For reasons I never learned, as a crowd built up on the side of the building I was on, management belatedly decided to open only one set of doors out of maybe ten.

    People immediately surged forward and started pushing to get inside. It was scary, being stuck in the middle of that mob. It only took a matter of seconds for the crowd to press together so hard that I got turned sideways and my arms pulled out away from my body. I tried and simply couldn’t get my arms back in. At that point, I was afraid I’d end up with a broken arm if the surrounding mass of bodies shifted direction too quickly.

    Reaching the doorway, I wasn’t in control of my momentum anymore. I was being pushed so hard from behind that all I could do was lift my feet and let the crush propel me forward. As I came through the doorway and we finally started to have space to spread out, I RAN away from that spot as fast as I could. It felt like we were being sprayed out of a hose. If anyone had tripped and fallen at that point, which we easily could have done, others would have gone down too, and some would have almost assuredly been trampled to death.

    It was a really scary experience.

    Didn’t something really similar happen in Cleveland one time? I think multiple people died at that one.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      That would be the famous Who concert, I think. – Nope, just checked, that was Cincinnati, Ohio. Not sure about Cleveland.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        No, that Who concert was the one I was trying to remember…

        Cleveland… Cincinnati… not much difference, geographically…

        I believe one of the popes had something similar happen around the same time…

    • rosalind says:

      thankfully promoters have learned from past horrors like that. gotta have multiple entrances, clear signage, staff communicating with the crowd to let them know if there’s any delays. for the front of stage in stadium shows, the crew working the barricade are among the most highly skilled. constantly scanning the crowd for signs of someone in trouble. they are adept at reaching over and hauling people back over the barricade, then getting them off to the medical tent to be checked out.

      but scary situations still occur. our own marcy can recount her horrible experience being packed into the “Purple Tunnel of Doom” during the Obama innauguration.

      • phred says:

        I attended a concert in Central Park for the 4th of July in 1986. There was an enormous crowd in a wide open area as far as I can recall. As we were leaving, along with the hundreds of thousands of other people, we found that we weren’t walking so much as flowing like a river with this crowd. The pace picked up and people were pushed closer and closer together until my feet weren’t actually touching the ground any more. It was pretty alarming, but there was nowhere to fall. Eventually, the crowd began to dissipate and my feet hit terra firma again, but to this day I avoid being in the middle of a large crowd. I stick to the edges.

    • Lawnboy says:

      Re; The First Near Pandemic

      “SARS-apaloza”, July 30 2003 Toronto

      The little known “Fall Out” from the Stones/ACDC all day gig was the excrement overloading the system and flooding an IDOMO furniture store down hill from the Downsview Concert venue. They had to declare bankruptcy as they were up to the door handles with human waste!

      Final advert : “ Drop by and look at our Stools and Armoires “

  8. jaango says:

    Please consider this posting on my part as a Rant on Hate.

    Thus, Anglos, or should I profess to say that White Folks need to “pull their heads out of their asses”. And that’s at a minimum! As such, the political demonstrations among Chicanos, amply demonstrates that when Chicanos congregate to demonstrate against the Anglo-personification of Hate, that takes on a variety of obnoxious behaviors, and last week’s demonstration, tells us, the Chicano, another differing story on Hate.

    And if you have an “historical understanding” of the Chicano Movement of these past fifty years or more, Chicanos can and do, voice and express their displeasure toward Anglos, and yet, their is no political violence that takes place,


    To wit, the Chicano Movement has always been lead by Chicano military vets. And yes, I too am a military vet. An given my history, I fully understand that Chicano Military Vets, met, in the early 1970s in a small public park in Los Angeles,and where the “nationalists” and the “Marxists” met, loaded down with guns, and settled their once and for all time–their respective differences. And more so, when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and where the killing of a reputational journalist the following day–a message-badly delivered to Chicanos. And in the following months, the leadership “opened-up” the Chicano Movement to non-military leadership, and which is this behavior that is continues to this day. And today’s DACA is exemplary, in more ways than one.

    In 2013 and when the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act passed in the Senate chamber, and where the Republican leadership in the House, deposited the “reform” in the trash bin, Chicanos, were not surprised, with not one iota of surprise. Thus, this “demographics” has been our focal point and more so today, with the current inexact science that is the Census Bureau’s defamations toward the Constitution.

    Therefore, permit me to provide us all with a few historical facts, and subsequently, Two Unassailable Facts need to be recognized and addressed. First and during the early stages of the Chicano Movement, the VFW and the American Legion were no where to be found when it came to addressing the Chicanos “agenda of unmet needs.” And secondly, during the Reagan Revolution, the change that Carter had solidified, and where 50 percent of the generals were Democrats and the remaining 50 percent of the generals were Republicans was to be no more. Consequently, the unwavering Republican-oriented generals, took a gander at their future under the eight years of Bush and Cheney, and opted instead to support the AUMF without having to consider that “lending” our Constitution to the Afghanistan and Iraq people, ‘extended” the second class citizenship to the women of these two nations, and further, these two nations would never achieve the status of a national Democracy. As such, the trade-off was to protect the oil industry’s robust financial successes.

    And finally, the insurrection/sedition behavior of last week does not surprise any Chicano, in the least. Therefore, Anglos, writ large, don’t deliver much respect toward, Chicanos, Native Americans and Blacks, since Haaaate, is the current rationale for what has occurred during these past several days, and shortly after the White House announced that the presidential election was a “rigged” affair.

    In closing, my \Tip of the Hat to both bmaz and to Rosalind.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      As someone who has fought (and been on the receiving end) of racist stereotypes my whole life, I want to tell you, jaango, that I understand your anger. But I would beg you not to become the thing you deplore. Using phrases like “Anglos, write large” simply falls into the same category of behavior you rightly call out others for displaying: stereotyping a group based on its worst exemplars. Such generalizations, while tempting, get us nowhere, mainly because they are false. Just like the ones you and I have been fighting for so long.

      • Min says:

        Speaking as an Anglo, let me say that it is high time for Anglos to repent their racism. Governor Wallace did. So can you.

  9. Eureka says:

    Excellent, rosalind — I will leave a message for my rep. Who else needs to read this and what else do we need to do?

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Trump is behaving like a bad movie impressario, addicted to using biker gangs as both security and debt collectors. He’s the one opening the gates and encouraging the riff-raff, peppered with trained thugs, to come-on-down. He tells them he’s one of them, but what he wants is for them to rip up the seats and attack the band members who won’t let him join or give him a big enough piece of the action.

    I agree with the point of this essay. Joe Biden needs to play many roles. For each of them, he needs a specialist team to back him up. One role is as the new town marshal. He wants to be cooperative, friendly, unifying, efficient, and effective. But he will take no shit from those who cause the kind of way-beyond-the-First Amendment kind of trouble that Trump elicited for his own pleasure. As you say, using a trained eye to avoid trouble is much better than picking up the pieces after it happens.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      “…what he wants is for them to rip up the seats and attack the band members who won’t let him join or give him a big enough piece of the action.”

      Which reminds me of the time Keith Richards pulled a knife and insisted that Donald Trump be fired as the promoter of the Rolling Stones show in Atlantic City.

        • Onthenickel says:

          I was at Altimont, 1969
          Security provided by Hell’s Angles!
          Stones in the middle of Sympathy forced to stop mid song by visible mayhem right in front of the stage

          Talk about a security fuck up end to end!

          • bmaz says:

            Sure, but Altamont was the beginning of the reimagining of event security. The Who show reinforced that. Those were lessons learned. But they clearly did not get heeded, in any regard, by the Trumpers as to January 6th.

      • cavenewt says:

        Having never heard of this story before, I looked up the Snopes article. I guess they’re saying it’s probably exaggerated but no one’s sure by how much.

        From today’s perspective, though, it sure sounds Trumpian. Also, that Keith Richards was prescient.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      It seems all the more important to have investigations.
      I can hardly wait for details on who among electeds was texting or emailing out donor requests during that sh!tshow.

      Rosalind, thanks for this post.
      Quite enlightening.

  11. drouse says:

    Speaking to the point of not needing a massive increase in the number of police, having 20K National Guards is just a wee bit excessive. To me at least, it just reeks of panicked decision making. You have so many that billeting them is impossible and you end up with them just camping in place with all their gear piled up underfoot. They are going to just be tripping over each other if they need to move. Just where in the hell is their S4? Then there are the optics of it all. It is not a good look to turn the Capitol into the Green Zone for the inauguration.

    • rosalind says:

      yup, it’s setting us up on a dangerous path. why the people who were traumatized and the people who screwed up and are now over-compensating shouldn’t be the ones making the call. i guess we just have to get through the next couple of weeks, and push to get the security layers peeled back. if i had a magic wand i’d put a moratorium on any new laws or executive orders re. security for the next 60 days. allow reason and fact to control rather than emotion and fear.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          But all living Sec of Defense signed a letter re: staying out of political action.
          And the acting military commanders reinforced that message.

          But this makes the most sense:

          “…the people who were traumatized and the people who screwed up and are now over-compensating shouldn’t be the ones making the call”

          I’d simply add that the Josh Hawley’s and Republican Atty Gen Assn and others complicit in this horror should also be kept far away from any investigations or policy options.

    • Stacey says:

      I read an article the other day from someone who monitors the QAnons for what they are doing and how the little rabbit is leading them through his warren. It was reported that they are currently believing that the amassing of National Guard troops in DC is for, wait for it, to effect the mass arrests of the Democrat child sex blood drinking cabal that “the Storm” has always meant! Don’t you get it? This is Trump’s final move! He’s finally taking all of them down! This was the plan all along!!!! He’s so brilliant!

      Clearly we are going to need a mobilization of mental health professionals to deprogram some 70M Americans in the next few years! For the love of God!

  12. Dave Noble says:

    What a great article and laydown of critical security practices! Did my anal and organizationally-driven heart much good.

    One question about Senators or Congressmen carrying small weapons around security points. What jurisdictional rules pertain to the Hill and the areas where these people work and meet? Does it have a concealed carry permission, are they breaking some law, or is simply a federally protected are where such things are permitted?

    I’m Canadian, and the only weapon of choice right now is a snow shovel.

  13. CCM says:

    My concern is the security forces have many members that are rabid Maga Trumpsters. I am glad security has the appearance of being overwhelming, but maybe I have watched too many movies, I am worried about rogue units of the National Guard, etc. May sound paranoid but there has been strong natural selection pressures eliminating Eastern European Jews from the population lacking in sufficient paranoia.

  14. yogarhythms says:

    Rosalind, Bz,
    Wow. Very impressive historical reference. Bill Graham presents was one of the savviest promoters ever.
    Asking for 60 day window, cooling off period between acts reminds me of Fillmore West 60’s style show opener: Dark stage, random base and guitar plucks, follow spot, security voice “sit down”,”everyone sit down,” “spread the wealth”, “the band won’t start until everyone is sitting down”. Dancing at the side speaker towers always allowed.
    Anyway thank you so much for sharing your professional experience’s unique perspective on largest crowd ever event control.

    • rosalind says:

      thanks, yogarhythms! i worked for BGP in the 80s and 90s, and love hearing stories from the Fillmore Days. there is a Bill Graham exhibit traveling around the country. it had just opened in NY when Covid hit. hopefully it will continue on and if it comes to town near you, definitely check it out!

  15. rosalind says:

    Question for those still around: if i were able to wave my magic wand and get the former BGP security heads together for a roundable to discuss the BGP security philosphy and execution, is there a particular Podcast or TV show that you can recommend as a good place to host this?

    thx, rosalind

    • Eureka says:

      Who are your ideal audiences/ who are you trying to reach?

      [And then to any ideas on first-run sources, I’d say get it re-run on C-SPAN and local gov access channels. That would be a fun tune-in, too!]

    • Raven Eye says:

      I’m trying to think of one of the many “policy institutes”. Looking back at my emails, all the ones I see are technology oriented. Some surfing in Linked-In might show some.

      Also some of the universities who have outreach with public policy and governance. (Dealing with universities is a special challenge because they follow the money, like to ensure that there is a revenue stream for the research faculty, and have a fixed overhead for the university. Whilst working for one of the Big Four audit firms we partnered with a university in the D.C. area for a DHS grant. The university got the award and we and another firm on the bid team were cut out — DHS was never informed.)

      To make this more palatable (and maybe broaden the pool of potential hosts) consider other stakeholders who might have a seat: Senior police, city managers, venue owners, EMS, etc.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      ‘The Bulwark’, Charlie Sykes hosts, and seems open to a range of views. He’s a long time Republican, lives in Wisconsin, is a Never Trumper, and is working with like-minded folks to build something new. (Warning: Bill Kristol is a Bulwark founder, but I’m sure he is probably also a music fan, so there’s that.)

      Highly recommend: ‘The New Abnormal’ (Daily Beast outlet, IIRC). Molly Jong Fast and the absolutely hilarious, wildly perceptive, former GOP operative Rick Wilson. I should think that their audience, like Charlie’s, would be very open to new ideas and voices of people who know people that we’ve all loved listening to…

      Pretty good option: ‘Stuttering John’, which I heard about at EW’s when someone recommended it. Very curious guy, definitely distinctive and authentic. Based in LA if I recall…

      Jesus, it seems like Kara Swisher’s new NYT ‘Sway’ podcast would be a terrific fit for people with such a unique, relevant, kind of refreshing background. She’s a very good interviewer, relentless questioner — the combo of Swisher with your folks would make for a sensational podcast IMVHO.

      Also, frankly – might surprise you, but I think the Lincoln Project podcast might be quite a good resource. They are definitely looking for new solutions, and this might fall within their range of topics that they would deem relevant. It’s worth a try, as they seem to have a very diverse and fairly large audience.

      I love podcasts, and I think that you have posed a fantastic question. It’s a terrific idea.

  16. Savage Librarian says:

    Rosalind, thanks for all the inside information and observations about crowd control and mob mentality. Chances are it would be very beneficial to the Secret Service, Capitol Police, and many other government agencies in their training programs. I know when I worked for DOD, I had to attend a 2 day training class on security and safety that covered a wide variety of useful info including checks and balances. I think it gave me insights that my peers in public libraries totally lacked.

    Maybe that is why I saw severe problems with their handling of white supremacists while they saw my vigilance as a problem. Control of private crowds, though, even if the numbers are large, have a few fundamentally different requirements than control of public crowds.

    I believe we are in an “all hands on deck” situation. I recommend the article below for some very useful insights. Although there may be some technical or legal disputes with some of the concepts Lofgren presents, I find myself agreeing with much of what he says:

    “Longtime GOP insider Mike Lofgren on his former party: “Going easy on these people will not work” “| Salon, 1/16/21

    • Min says:

      As one who grew up as a White boy in the 1950s in the Deep South, which was a sea of White supremacist authoritarianism, I must say that I also largely agree with Lofgren. By the mid 1970s the South had made great strides against racism, pretty much catching up with the (mostly denied) racism of the North. This did not require a military occupation, but rather the stringent enforcement of the law, as well as civil rights and voting rights legislation. I also think that Lofgren is probably right that laws against organized crime should be enforced against White supremacist organizations. To quote John Ehrlichman, who certainly understood his compatriots, “When you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

  17. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    I really enjoyed this writeup, thanks. In retrospect as one of the people who jumped fences/ran past security to get to the pit, that is dangerous and irresponsible.

    One of the most terrifying things on wikipedia are accounts on crushes, like that soccer match in the UK in the 80s or some that are reported every x years in Saudi Arabia during the hajj. Freaking terrifying.

  18. Andrew says:

    Rosalind, thanks for the article. Agree that there needs to be some “outside the box” thinking that could be provided by concert planners or sports event organizers. Suggest you contact General Honore, who has been designated by Speaker Pelosi to review Capitol security protocols. If you can’t get him, try Pelosi’s office.

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