Seems not Everybody With A Ticket Got To see the Inauguration


Seems not Everybody With A Ticket Got To see the Inauguration

21 January 2009 at 11:29:20 AM

Said before we stayed home and watched it on teevee and felt just as much a part of history as anyone in DC. And the invitation we got in the mail was NOT a ticket-it was an invite to go stand on a street corner in freezing weather, as Dan Savage said. heh. And we had a discussion here about crowd control and whether anyone wouldn't be able to actually watch the inaugural if they went-and decided,No, because it's a public, open event and if you got a ticket, you would be SOMEPLACE within the viewing area of watching the inaug, even if from one of those giant screens they had set up along the mall.

That all said, I would have been ticked if I had an actual ticket and couldn't get in to see it. After waiting for hours. And without, apparently, the courtesy of some officials, like the police, keeping me informed of what was going on IN CASE I might be able to move to a different gate and get in.

One facebook group called it the Purple Tunnel of Doom. And this from lynch.foreignpolicy

See, I went to the show with a few friends who received excellent Purple tickets as a reward for untold hours volunteering as foreign policy advisers for the Obama campaign.  We got down to the security checkpoint for the Purple section bright and early (I left home at 4 AM), and were guided into a long tunnel which had been closed to traffic.  We waited in line for nearly four hours, in a claustrophobic tunnel with no porta-potties, no food or drink, and not a single official or volunteer in sight.  Finally, we got within sight of the Purple Gate -- only to find that it had been closed.  Thousands of people in front of us hadn't gotten in (not that anyone bothered to tell the people languishing in the tunnel that the gate had been closed, mind you). Thousands of purple ticket holders were behind us.  It's remarkable that there wasn't a riot.  I rode the metro home with a lot of people who had been turned away, including an elderly African-American woman muttering over and over to herself that it had been one of the worst experiences of her life.

and here's a couple of stories from the WaPost

7:14 p.m.: My family drove here from Arkansas to see the inauguration. We had blue tickets. We, like thousands of others, were denied access...240,000 tickets (all colors) were issued. At 9 a.m. the security gates opened. Therefore, within 3 hours, 240,000 number of people had to be processed through security. That's 80,000 people per hour, or 1,330 people per minute that had to be processed through security. Officials cannot justly blame "crowds" for the problems with the admission of ticket holders. They knew the number of ticket holders - all that had to be done was plan accordingly by having the requisite capacity of security screeners. - Brian

6:25 p.m.: I had a blue ticket, arrived with my family at seven in the morning, and was left crushed (emotionally and physically) by 11:15 a.m. The problem wasn't that there too were many people, the problem was that there wasn't ANYONE managing the line, and so an orderly line became, well ... disorderly. Then it turned into a crowd. Meanwhile no one was keeping the crowd updated, and so it just became more and more packed and desperate … I found it breathtakingly offensive. Someone screwed up, and the first (and possibly only) step towards making it right is for the people responsible to admit it. They had a hard task, but it's not like they didn't have time to think about it. - David

The police said, according to this video and link, that they had to cut off letting people in because of overcrowding.

I continue to believe that public office, particularly at the national level, needs to be rethought about whether people MUST be in the same proximity as the public official or whether technology can be used as virtual meetings.

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