NATO Summit Chicago 2012: Police Presence Heavy, But No Protesters to Be Found

After avoiding downtown most of the week, I ventured into the heart of the Loop -- Chicago's business district -- for a meeting late this afternoon. Besides the constant helicopter presence overhead and the regular sound of police sirens, it feels almost like a regular weekend in the Loop: closed businesses, few cars, and tourists dressed casually.

That is except for the platoon of city, state, and federal police on every corner. I was shocked to see 100 state police officers cordoning the downtown courthouse. They soon moved across the street to surround City Hall. I never saw any protesters in either place.

As I walked further down LaSalle Street, I first heard a small group of protesters yelling something indecipherable. They were followed by just as many Chicago policemen. Perhaps they were headed to a larger gathering.

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The bottom line is nothing really special is happening in Chicago today. The most remarkable thing I've noticed is how many people have no compunction about coming right up to an armed police officer and taking pictures. Whenever I stopped to take a snapshot, there were at least five others doing the same thing.

Seeing that amid armed Skynet-style drones, cameras, and many, many cops gives me hope for our country. It shows regular people still know who serves whom and aren't afraid to notice openly when there are large shows of government force.

Paradoxically, it took this meeting of an embattled inter-governmental military organization to prompt this small sign of what an exceptional country this still is.

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Richard Lorenc

Libertarian (classical liberal), entrepreneur, big cat enthusiast, Apple-head, Trekkie, double bass player. I direct programs at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), which teaches young people the economic, legal, and ethical principles that make free societies prosperous. He serves on the board of directors of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, an advocacy group dedicated to limiting federal spending through programs such as the "Reject the Debt" anti-spending pledge. He is also a member of the Leadership Committee of Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry.

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