Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stay Out of the Sun

While I agree it would have been nice to have had more water available at the Obama rally in Springfield Saturday, there was nothing keeping anyone from leaving and getting water just outside the event. I had that notion in the back of my mind the whole time. In fact, when we did decide to leave a bit early, it took us just 60 seconds to reach an open fire hydrant near the entrance of the secured area and then another minute to get to Brewhaus where there was not only water available, but beer too!

Granted, we were toward the back on Sixth Street and that made our exit particularly easy, but anyone who needed to could have gotten out. Again, that’s not to let organizers off the hook completely, just that the situation wasn’t as dire as some are making it out to be. No one was captive. Seeing Barack Obama isn’t worth risking your health or the health of your young children if you were foolish enough to bring them.

Some of the criticism even has the smell of politics. "See! Barack Obama is a bad, bad man because he let people almost die of thirst so he's not fit to be president!" Give me a break. The last thing anyone wanted was the crowd to be uncomfortable. It was a hot day, there were way more people than anyone expected and the water distribution was poor. That's all there was to it.

Update: I forgot to mention that I think a better solution to all of this would have been to have several water stations located just inside the entrance. People could have grabbed a cup of water (and the ones they were actually using were pretty good size) on their way in. That would have gotten most people through the event. There would have had to have been lots of water being poured to keep the line moving, but I think it could have been done. Perhaps passing out (can I use that term here) cheap caps might have been a good idea too. I was, for once, smart enough to bring my own cap but most people didn't think of it.

Update II: Allie in comments makes a good point: We may have learned our lesson from all this but when exactly are we going to have to deal with 35,000 people downtown again? Short of a public flogging of Rod Blagojevich, I don’t see it happening.


LordHutty said...

Most of those in the crowd were democrats who are used to the government handling all of life's issues for them; including making water available.

It comes as no surprise that these people were too stupid to bring water.

JeromeProphet said...

For some it was impossible to leave. I've spoken with an individual whose family arrived much earlier than we did, and they were right up front, and actually shook the Biden's and Obama's hands. They were pinned in, and the only way out was losing consciousness - only then was the Secret Service allowing the bodies to be lifted out of the area.

Someone at some higher level must take responsibility. We say, Hey why not let people drink and drive, it's their responsibility for what happens, but society doesn't work that way. We actually protect people from bad decisions all the time.

In this case I'd pin it on bad organizing on the part of the Obama campaign, the Mayor's office, and the local Democratic party.

It was a political event, a municipal event, and there should have been some planning for something other than security.

This isn't Calcutta.


Dave said...


The Secret Service was not allowing anyone to bring water bottles into the event. Like most Republicans, you are too stupid to even get the basic facts right before shooting off your mouth.

Dave said...


I don't disagree whith what you are saying but we took all of the factors into consideration and fouind ourselves in a much better situation even if we didn't get to shake the hands of the candidates.

allie said...

a man and woman came into the brewhaus right as the speech started and ordered a water. she told me she had been feeling faint and had to jump the fence to get out because she was up pretty close and the police/secret service wouldnt help her get out. she said they told her it was too late. and then yelled at her as she climbed the fence. anyway, it could have been planned out much better, i think eventually they started letting people take open cups in. also, another oversight was the fact that the red cross tent was located in the parking lot behind the brewhaus, which i think was a little too far to be of much help. they ended up moving it, but it might have been too late. i suppose you live and learn, but i imagine it might be sometime before anything like this happens in springfield again.

Will said...

There were no signs indicating water was free for emergencies and it wasn't passed out for several hours. People selling water all had blues & bbq t-shirts on. When water was passed out for free it was done by Obama staff and volunteers. What does that tell you?
It sounds like this happened because someone with DSI wanted to cash in selling water for $2 per bottle. The business or group who's sitting on that pile of money should take responsibility for what happened. Water should have been free and easily available from the start.

The Obama staff should have handled this themselves instead of letting DSI cash in but dragging it out to a three day story is overdoing it. It happened. It sucked. Move on.

rickmonday said...

This was Obama's event and a reflection of his executive abilities.

He is responsible for the people passing out and getting sick. He has had enough of these rallies to know how they operate.

If he cannot even keep people hydrated at a pep rally, how is he going to manage universal health care?

Do you really know enough about Barack Obama?

JeromeProphet said...


Senator Obama has multiple layers of personnel which move him from one event to the next.

Someone at some level within his campaign needs to take the health and security of the crowds that see him seriously.

It is obvious that Mr. Obama kept his speech short, most likely for the sake of the crowd.

There's one thing Mr. McCain won't need to worry about, and that's having thirty five thousand people show up for one of his speeches in a town that has a population of 120,000 people.