Worried about NATO protests in the Chicago suburbs? Look for graffiti, flyers

I know there is a lot of preparation going on for the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago but should this really include warning people in the suburbs? Here is what was printed in the May 2012 edition of our community’s newsletter:

While the G8 Summit has been moved to Camp David, the NATO Summit is still planned for the City of Chicago from May 19 through May 21, 2012. At this time, it is unknown what impact that Summit will have on the City. [Our] Police and Fire Departments are well aware of the upcoming event, and have been involved in pre-event strategy meetings and preparations. Please be assured that there is no anticipation, or information at this point, that any significant incident(s) will occur within the City, and [our] residents may expect the same level of security they have come to know and trust.

Being part of the community, residents and business owners have the unique opportunity to be observant and are encouraged to report suspicious activity, especially graffiti. It is one of the most basic indicators that certain extremist groups are making an appearance. Flyers advocating direct actions against government, businesses, or other institutions are another indicator of suspicious activity. For more information…

One could argue that there is already graffiti in the suburbs; was this done by extremist groups? And flyers about direct action – are we expecting anarchists or violent groups at the local strip mall or subdivision? Additionally, these sound like gross generalizations.

On one hand, perhaps it is good that our local government is trying reassure people about the protests that will get a lot of attention in the media. See all the coverage yesterday about the small May Day protests in Chicago. Even if much doesn’t happen during the NATO Summit, residents of Chicagoland will certainly be aware of the possibilities.  On the other hand, I’m disturbed that suburbanites may think that these protests will affect their suburban paradises more than 15 miles from the Loop…

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