|The crowd wrapped from the Conference Center entrance, about a mile to the old Norfolk Southern office buildings.,|
- 1: A mile, my estimated length of the line to get into the event, four abreast.
Young protester: Last name Chittum.
- 1: The number of African-Americans we saw in line (and we saw most of those who got in, standing on the balcony above them. When the line was finally stopped, three African-American young men were next in line).
- 2: the number of ballrooms that were used (one with a big TV, one for the candidate).
- 3 or 5: O'clock. The time the first people arrived. A Hotel Roanoke official says 5 a.m.; a person in line said he heard the first arrival was at 3.
- 14: When I first mentioned on Facebook that I was going to the rally, 14 people said one or another derivations of "be careful." I have never before been told to "be careful" at a political rally.
- 107: Degrees. The temperature downtown at 3 p.m., according to the outside thermometer in my car (which is consistently accurate).
- 1,000: Capacity for Ballroom 1 at the Hotel Roanoke.
- 1,000: The crowd expected (according to published reports) for the event.
- 1,800: The number of tickets printed for the event.
- 15,000-20,000: My estimate of the number of people who showed up to get in.
|The temperature at 3 p.m. was 107 degrees.|
As I mentioned, it probably said more about Alison and me than about the crowd that we expected it to be wild, unruly and out of control, shouting racial epithets and chasing off anybody with an accent (though I heard fewer accents than I saw black people).
The most unruly people--and they were hardly that--were about 200 protesters who lined the street leading from Williamson Road to the hotel entrance. Mostly, they chanted. I could not make out what they were chanting, but one T-shirt read FCKH8.
|The line was long, well-behaved.|
I mentioned to several different cops (trying all angles) that I had tickets and most of the people in the line couldn't have them if, as the Trump campaign stated, only 1,800 were printed and 10 times that were in line. One cop said, "It's a Trump campaign. What else would you expect?" I liked that guy.
|The line from the overpass.|
Trump is speaking at this moment. I didn't go to hear him, but to get a feel for what the crowd was like. It wasn't what I expected. These were ordinary, friendly, nice people (a bunch of them saw my University of Tennessee hat and yelled, "Go Vols!). That scares me even more than if it had been unruly crazies.
|Matched set of Trumpsters.|
|The crowd inside the hotel.|
|The end of the line. They all got in, ticket or no.|
|The end of the line: Three black kids.|
|The only African-American (with his girlfriend) we saw get in.|
|Checking for elicit tennis balls and guns.|
|Trump crowd commerce: "Hillary Sucks Better Than Monica."|
|Body scan for everybody.|
|Matching family: The boy's shirt praised Jesus.|