The other day I was talking to a few black gentlemen in their 60s about the possibility of a black president, and one of them said, “Yeah, but how long will he live?” For many years I heard from my black friends this kind of conspiracy thinking and it didn’t mean much to me until I began really studying the Kennedy assassination. Then I started to think maybe there was something to the rumors of the government flooding the ghettos with crack cocaine and other such rumors.
So it chilled me to the bone to read this article today:
Security details at Barack Obama’s rally Wednesday stopped screening people for weapons at the front gates more than an hour before the Democratic presidential candidate took the stage at Reunion Arena.
The order to put down the metal detectors and stop checking purses and laptop bags came as a surprise to several Dallas police officers who said they believed it was a lapse in security.
Dallas Deputy Police Chief T.W. Lawrence, head of the Police Department’s homeland security and special operations divisions, said the order — apparently made by the U.S. Secret Service — was meant to speed up the long lines outside and fill the arena’s vacant seats before Obama came on.
“Sure,” said Lawrence, when asked if he was concerned by the great number of people who had gotten into the building without being checked. But, he added, the turnout of more than 17,000 people seemed to be a “friendly crowd.”
The Secret Service did not return a call from the Star-Telegram seeking comment.
Doors opened to the public at 10 a.m., and for the first hour security officers scanned each person who came in and checked their belongings in a process that kept movement of the long lines at a crawl. Then, about 11 a.m., an order came down to allow the people in without being checked.
As a people, we need to remain alert and aware when this kind of thing takes place and ask the hard questions. Friendly crowd or no, it’s bizarre that the police would suddenly be ordered to stop the weapons checking. Maybe it wasn’t the secret service – there are all kinds of white nationalist groups that wouldn’t want a black president. Still, there is something here to keep an eye on.
(updated 12:20 pm)