This makes the third straight time that Fort Wayne Observed will have media credentials at the Republican National Convention. However, it will be the first time that Fort Wayne Observed will be reporting from dedicated media space within the convention arena.
In 2008 and 2012, FWOb had assigned filing space within the media filing center. In 2008, it made for a long day as I may have been the only person attending who had both Delegate credentials and media credentials. After the convention session ended, I was in the filing center composing posts and editing photographs. It is a great opportunity to meet journalists from around the nation and around the world covering the proceedings. In 2012, the media center was at some distance from the convention arena.
Days were particularly long in Minneapolis/St Paul because I was the only Republican National Convention attendee who took up the invitation of TJ Rybak, then mayor of Minneapolis and current Democratic National Committee member to take part in three days of early morning physical activity in Minneapolis. In what Mayor Rybak termed a 'triathlon' the events consisted of a 5K run the first day at Minnehaha Falls, a non-competitive bicycle ride on the trails near downtown Minneapolis, and then a canoe or swim competition at Lake Calhoun.
I got up early at the Indiana delegation hotel near the Mall of Americas, negotiated my way in the dark through unfamiliar streets, and became familiar with the Minneapolis transportation system.
As the sole Republican person to take up the invitation that had been issued to every other attendee, I had the opportunity to be on two live morning broadcasts of Minneapolis television on consecutive days.
Which brings me to a more serious point. There have been extensive stories in recent weeks about security at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
One friend, (a young "Republican operative" as one newspaper once referred to him), in responding to my mentioning that I had credentials for Cleveland, messaged: "Oh, wow, you gonna go? I am seriously concerned something terrible's going to happen."
One media report had about half the delegates polled expected riots or other security incidents. Delegates who have attended past conventions are among those who have voiced concerns.
So, this is where I will continue the story about Minneapolis. The first night of the convention, I rode the delegate bus from the Indiana hotel with the other members of the delegation. An armed security person was on the motor coach. The motor coach took a designated route to the convention arena; armed police were visible on overpasses along the route. The motor coach turned into a parking lot with security personnel,and a chain linked fence with other security features visible. Delegation members walked to the crowded entrance where hundreds of other delegates were waiting in line to go through scanners and inspections.
The next evening, because I had attended another event in downtown Saint Paul in the afternoon, I drove my car to a largely vacant parking garage just a few blocks away on the other side of the arena from where the delegates entered who were on buses. I walked a few blocks and entered the much less crowded entrance on the opposite side. I quickly got through the scanners and inspections. There were a few protesters encountered on that side but most interactions were amusing, not threatening.
On each subsequent night, I offered rides to other members of the delegation. Each declined due to security concerns.
The problem is, that experiencing the most security, subjects begin to build up concerns about security.
Obviously, recent events show that security concerns are real. The reality is a sobering one.
FWOb would just advise, however, to put ramped up media reports - and particularly, media IMAGES - about security concerns into perspective.
Photo of Governor Mike Pence with Mitch Harper above. Photo credit: Bart Lomont