Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Purple Tunnel of Doom!

Thousands upon thousands of people arrived at Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony on Tuesday and stood in line for hours on end, crushed in a sea of humanity, only to discover that their coveted tickets were totally worthless:

From TPM readers:
JB: "I had a purple ticket to view the swearing in ceremony. I got in the ticket line at 6:30 this morning and was shut out of the event - over 4.5 hours in line and no dice. In fact, there were no police, barricades, signs, or directions. Think of it - 30,000 plus (and i'd venture over 50,000) standing in a tunnel for 4 hours with no public safety personnel. And then they don't get in. We are lucky that we aren't hearing reports of injuries. Truly negligent."

AJ: "It was frightening. 30,000 to 50,000 people may sound like an exaggeration, but it isn't. I know some reports so far have said hundreds of people were shut out, but it is definitely in the thousands. It seemed like we were caught in a bad science fiction movie--as if this was the moment when the gates would shut and we'd be trapped inside while the aliens began their invasion. The number of people in that tunnel, combined with the lack of any sense of order, was eerie...

"Everyone pushes forward until we reach a gate, and then it's mass chaos. There's nowhere to go; we're trapped. They're not letting us in, but the crowd is so large and confused that there's no way out. Eventually people started to leave (thank God) but others started chanting, "Let us in! Let us in!" It would have taken just a little push to turn that crowd into an angry mob.

"By this point, it's 11:20 and we're about to miss the whole thing! We don't have time to get to the Mall, either... I'm trying to be happy about what is truly a great day in American history, but I also can't help but be completely disturbed by my experience. I want to know what happened there today--I want to know why I was left in a TUNNEL with thousands of people with no supervision whatsoever. I want to know why I had to miss one of the most important and historic days I will ever witness. But thankfully I'm just disappointed and not injured."
From Firedoglake:
"People chanted, 'Let us in.' People chanted, 'We have tickets.' People chanted 'we are purple', waving their precious 4x6 inch tickets in the air. And then they just started begging and shouting. 'Let us in. We have tickets. We've been here for hours. Let us in'... I don't think I can even begin to capture the chaos and lack of organization--and, of course, the frustration and anger that this caused in all of us out there..."
My fellow Obamalytes, I offer you my heartfelt condolences. It's really sad. Where were all those 'Community Organizers' when you needed them?! Hmmm?

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