7 Tips to Stay Safe at the RNC in Cleveland

I live in northeast Ohio, and I’ve been hearing reports almost every day for the past month about how Cleveland is ready (or not) for the Republican National Convention. Everyone I talk to — and I mean everyone — is very apprehensive about the potential violence that could break out.

Here are a few ideas to protect yourself if you plan to attend the convention:

1. Know what’s off limits.

Know what you are not allowed to bring. Please read this article by Paula Bolyard:

This is a pretty thorough list of what will not be allowed inside the very strict “security perimeter.” DHS is in charge of the “security perimeter.” However, there will be a large “event zone” surrounding it in which one would be allowed to carry firearms if they have a CCW license.

Even this makes me very nervous, since I am praying the stars down that no one will feel the need to draw a gun and use deadly force. However, if you have friends in northeast Ohio who have CCW licenses, and you are confident that they are calm, reasonable people who are not prone to violence, consider the possibility of asking a few of them to act as “armed escorts” to walk you to the perimeter and pick you up later when you are finished.

2. Take comfort, the police will be there.

Know that the police will be everywhere. This should be a very comforting thought to you. And I am sure that the Ohio National Guard is well aware and prepared to move at a moment’s notice. But if you see anything suspicious, call the police. Tell them about anything that you think is out of bounds.

Next Page: How to prepare, what to do with protesters, and what to do in a pinch.

3. Have a travel plan.

Image Via Shutterstock, Travel Plan, City Map

Image Via Shutterstock, Travel Plan, City Map

Know where you are going. Plan your route to the convention and back to your car. Know several alternative routes. Travel in a group. Do not go it alone.

4. Ignore the protesters.

Do not have a chip on your shoulder. I am sure many protesters will be there saying and screaming many incendiary things. Do not take the bait. Ignore them. Quickly walk on and get to your destination.

5. Go with your gut.

If you think a crowd is about to escalate their aggression or if you think they are about to become more violent, either find another way around the mob or retreat to a place of safety. If you are in your car, do NOT get out of your car! Drive out of there as fast as you can. If you get out of your car, your are much more vulnerable.

Next Page: All the items you will need to have with you.

6. Keep these items with you.

Image Via Shutterstock, various everyday items.

Image Via Shutterstock, various everyday items.

Carry the following items with you, and make sure you can get your hands on at least one of these when you need it: a fully charged cell phone (for obvious reasons), a pen or pencil, a comb or a hairbrush, and a car key. All these are completely legal.

Besides the cell phone, the other objects can be used very effectively as weapons against an attacker. (Do not put car keys between each finger and punch; it takes too long to do that, the keys will collapse in your hand, and you will do more damage to yourself than to the attacker.) Please see my article on how to use makeshift weapons.

It would also be a good idea to wear sunglasses (Ohio is beautiful and sunny this time of year!). Sunglasses can protect your eyes from any debris flying through the air. Wear a hat. It’s not a helmet, but it might protect you. And bring a hankerchief. When placed over the nose and mouth it is a good temporary protection against any tear gas that might be used.

Also, know a few basic strikes:

And where to hit an attacker:

7. Run Away!

Walk away, or run away from a conflict, if at all possible. Let the police handle any violent situation if you can.

Or you could just stay home. Come visit me! I’m pretty sure it’ll be safe and peaceful where I live.