On the eve of the Republican convention, I headed to downtown Cleveland to pick up PJ Media’s media credentials from a makeshift office in the basement of the Halle Building on Euclid Avenue. Not surprisingly, signs of heavy security were everywhere. On the drive in down I-77, police cars were stationed every mile or two, with snowplows lined up in some areas, presumably to be able to pull out and block the highway at a moment’s notice.
The scene in downtown was surreal. We drove in through the Playhouse Square area, which is the theater district. It’s trendy and generally bustling with people, boasting the world’s largest outdoor chandelier. But on this day, 24 hours before the Republican convention was set to begin, the streets were also swarming with police officers. It was like some festive version of a future-world police state. Everyone seemed to be happily going about their business — taking selfies, checking out shops, enjoying the gorgeous Ohio weather — all while packs of cops roamed the streets in their midst.
Just a few short hours after a police shooting in Baton Rouge, where three police officers were killed in an ambush and several others were injured, it was obvious that cops were a little edgy as they walked the streets in groups of four or five. As I passed one group, I overheard them talking in hushed tones, saying things like “if anything happens…”
I walked down Euclid Avenue with a group of five cops and crossed the street with them, and as we got to the other side, my heart caught in my throat. What am I doing? These guys are targets and here I am right in the line of fire! For the first time in my life I was afraid to be in the vicinity of the police. Alway before I’d viewed them as a source of protection, someone to run to in an emergency, or to call if I felt threatened. Now, I felt like it wasn’t safe to be on the same city block with them. My next thought was, Dear God, how terrified must they be? And their wives and kids?
This war on cops has got to stop. If the rule of law continues to break down and we continue to treat the police like they’re the enemy, we won’t have cops anymore. These are brave men and women who have sworn to uphold the law and to protect us, but if we continue to tie their hands and then put them out on the streets and let thugs shoot them like fish in a barrel, they’re going to find other employment. Who could blame them?
But then what?