Chicago, Illinois, US
October 15
I enjoy riding my bike around Chicago in my free time, perusing art and gardens, enjoying good beer, and musing on the wackiness of life.


FEBRUARY 18, 2012 9:38AM

should I stay or should I go?

Rate: 9 Flag

Many of us are wondering what May will look like here in Chicago.  Whether we like it or not, the G8/NATO summit is coming.  No one really knows how many thousands of protesters will descend on us along with the bigwigs, but we're expecting lots.

As the date gets closer, we're hearing more details about what to expect, and it doesn't sound fun.  Police have been getting special riot training.    Downtown will become a restricted area, with security checks for anyone entering and no unauthorized vehicles allowed in, including city buses.  I'm hearing that some businesses are considering closing up for the week, between the extra hassles and likely lack of customers.

A friend recently posted an excerpt from a lengthy office memo on his Facebook page:
From the building management's memorandum: […] in May, 2012 Chicago will host the Group of Eight (G8) and NATO Summits. You have probably started to hear more about these events as May approaches.
  […] While the building will be open for business, please be aware, your daily routine will most likely be affected by summit activity. We recommend that your company review and update its contingency plans. Items to take into account should include: disruptions to normal building services, stockpiling supplies for your organization, transportation to and from the building, remote IT services, and potential floor evacuation or shelter in place procedures as practiced each year during our fire drills.

The City of Chicago and many other business organizations are recommending employers consider encouraging employees to work from remote locations during the Summits. If you decide this action is warranted, your organization should test your systems and procedures prior to any real world actions. Your building management and ownership team are taking all necessary steps to provide normal building services and functions; however, logistical challenges may disrupt normal operations.

This may include: requiring tenants to schedule deliveries a week prior to the Summits, restricting parking garage access to tenants only during this time, verification of tenant IDs before allowing entry into the building, and requiring physical escorts for visitors from the lobby to tenant space. Please take this time to ensure keycard records are up-to-date with the security office. Please also ensure that all of your current keycards have a clear photo and name visible. […] I understand it's better to be safe than sorry, but still ... Are they trying to scare the shit out of people?

There are plenty of reasons why I would ordinarily be downtown during that week, but I intend to opt out of the hassles.  Unfortunately, my husband doesn't have a choice.  All Chicago police officers will be on duty that week - on 12 hour shifts (not the norm).  He doesn't know quite what to expect, but he's not looking forward to it.  I'm concerned about the effects the week could have on him if things get really bad.

Part of me wants to get the hell out of Dodge and be far away from whatever mess happens.  The other part says I should stay and offer whatever support I can in the short windows of time when I might see my husband between his duty shifts, his commute (which will probably be longer due to traffic pattern changes) and sleep.

He says I should go, because there will be so little opportunity for us to spend time together during that week.  If I go, it would be an ideal chance to visit friends in New England who I haven't seen in way too long - in the Boston area, New Hampshire, and Maine. I'm still torn.

I'll let the Clash ask the musical question.


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chicago, chaos, protest, g8, nato, escape, support

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I tend to worry better when I'm up someone's ass. ;D YOU on the other hand might want to get out of Dodge.
Seems like a dandy excuse for a vacation. I'll just have to time the departure and return carefully.
bike--Any time is a good time for a road trip. And I see your husband's point. If I was working long hours, I'd want my wife to go have some fun too.

But I think the scaring the shit part is now. The reporting on the extensive plans and the under the radar stories about handling some very specific threats before they happen are scary. Especially when they are spun by bastions of objectivity like the WGN 9:00 news.

However---the stories now are like so many weather reports of approaching doom. You hear the reports and NOTHING HAPPENS!

I predict the scary part will end when the planning stops and your husband starts pulling those shifts.

Till then? More Clash music!
The "sky is falling" media speculation doesn't help at all. Unfortunately, the behind-the-scenes preparations I'm hearing about through Scott don't help either. My strongest wishes for May are for the city to avoid another 1968 debacle and for no serious injuries - to anyone.

I really hope it does end up being much ado about nothing. For now, I'll offer up another Clash tune.
OOOH, this is ominous to know that the violence may be escalating. Your hubby probably would feel better knowing that you are tucked away in a safe, but slightly distant place.

I will feel better knowing that you both overdid it and all for nothing!

Hugs and prayers for nothing big to happen!
We could might arrange a meetup at any of a dozen fine seafood restaurants in the Boston area. Just sayin'!
This is really weird. I don't know, but I think if I could get away, I might. Isn't this usually in Washington?
Love The Clash, by the way. ~r
Sorry, I'm thinking of the IMF gathering every year with protestors and police presence...
Well, would get out of town. However, I understand how you feel about wanting to offer support. Think of it this way though, if something goes amiss, at least your husband is not worrying about you being there, he can focus on the job at hand. My uncle was a cop, I totally get this.
Zuma - I'll be happier when the G8/NATO invasion is over with.

Nancy - Twist my arm. ;) If I go to Boston, I'll probably visit friends in Nashua, Manchester and Concord as well. I'll let you know.

Joan - I don't envy you the IMF disruption.

Sheila - I really want him to be safe and not distracted.
I think we were going to be out of town anyway. By then, Rahm will move the Lawful Protest Zone to Indiana.
Stim - Good timing.

Rahm might declare that the lawful protest zone is east of the city - like in the middle of Lake Michigan. ;)
Tough call, sounds like leaving is the best option, but I'm sure you'll be worrying about your husband the whole time. Hope its not as bad as "they" predict.
I know I'll be worried about him whether I'm here or out of town. I'm hoping that the protests - and any responses to them - are non-violent. That would be better for everyone.
Have you decided yet??
I'd go.
Boston in May is just lovely...
Thanks for this, sorry to be late here, as we're planning a trip to Milwaukee and Chicago soon, think we'll try for June : )
Just Thinking - Still haven't decided. Yes, May is a lovely month to visit Boston. Not quite as ideal for NH, since it's black fly season, but I'd be spending more time in cities than in the woods.

This bit of news is sorta good, since it shortens the time frame for chaos here in Chicago, but there's still plenty of *fun* on tap.

And June usually brings lovely weather to Chicago and Milwaukee. Keep me posted on your travel plans.