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Getting Stuck With The Tab For G20 Security: a Modest Proposal.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | August 12, 2009

Posted by Cliff Tuttle (c) 2009

Well, we all got of taste of what it might be like when the G20 meets in Pittsburgh next month. There was a motivational seminar at the Mellon Arena today and the seminar attendees (probably over 20,000 of them) attacked downtown Pittsburgh from every direction. It was a gridlock in a town that doesn’t have too many. Then they swamped all of the eateries at lunch time (at least those near the Arena). Who knows what other mischief they performed just by being here?

Meanwhile sinister tales were being told that even now professional demonstrators, the hardball kind, were seen scoping out the G20 venues. These kids tied Seattle and London in knots. They get better with every outing. What are they going to do to poor little Pittsburgh?

And, on top of that, our civic leaders — Broke, Broker and Brokest — are slowly coming to the understanding that the feds do not intend to pay one cent towards security for the event*. On the contrary, our leaders have been told that every available law enforcement officer will be needed at the City, County and Commonwealth’s expense. The latter is in a death struggle to appropriate enough funds to make payroll next week.

What to do? I have a modest proposal.

Call up the Pennsylvania National Guard. That’s right, the whole Pennsylvania National Guard.

As I recollect, the Federal Government pays most of the cost when that happens.

Why the Guard? Because there are a lot of them. They can stand guard on every street corner, line the corridors of the airport, direct traffic at every intersection and run endless errands for the other law enforcement dudes. That’s what we did back in the day, when my unit, together with many others, patrolled the streets of Pittsburgh during riots in the 60’s.

There are still a few weekends left for riot training. It wasn’t very hard. You used a baton to jab protesters. They taught you how to do it so the protesters couldn’t grab the baton from you or pull you out of line. It was jolly fun.

Of course carrying M16’s with bayonettes or even bullets is out of the question. You don’t want another Kent State incident. Moreover, when you don’t have bullets, little kids taunt you about it. Better to stick to riot batons.

There’s been a lot of talk about where the protesters might hit. The City County Building and the Courthouse have been mentioned. That won’t happen. Those buildings will be empty — court is cancelled due to traffic problems.

Now think hard. If you wanted to hit a building that is brand new and beautiful and had lots of money inside, where would you go?

That’s right! You would cross the river to disrupt, deface and overrun the brand new Rivers Casino.

Here’s the brilliant part. Station artillery at the Casino entrance and shoot pennies at the protesters. They will soon be busy picking them up and carrying them to the one cent and two cent slots. Keep feeding them pennies, day and night, until finally the G20 is over and everybody can go home. Moreover, the Casino can afford to hire enough security to babysit the children and if they commit acts of vandalism, to repair it. And here’s the best part: half of the artillery ammunition taken as profits will go to the Casino to repair damage and half will go to the governments to pay security costs. Everybody wins, even the protesters who will get nine cents back for every ten free pennies they play.

Who knows? Some of the graffiti might be able to be moved down the street to the Warhol or the Mattress Factory and put on display. Proceeds could defray the cost of G20 Security.

Additional thoughts: Move those decorated dinosaurs around town inside to a secure warehouse. It is unlikely that the graffiti artists will improve them. Another civic treasure, the Carnegie Science Center, which is too close to the Casino for comfort, could be guarded by robots with ray guns — set on stun, of course.


*”Millions for tribute but not one cent for defense.”


CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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