Two years ago, tennis balls made headlines in Cleveland as we argued that the Republican National Convention was acting in blatant hypocrisy to ban this innocuous item (and 71 others including water bottles and umbrellas) as a measure for safety but allow for semi-automatic weapons to be marched on full display. Seriously?! We were immediately told by police that our balls would be seized and when we dumped the bags out anyway, the repression mounted. Five layers of police force were beckoned to the streets when me and my friends unleashed 500 pink and yellow tennis balls - FIVE. RNC security, Cleveland Police, Riot Police, Indiana State Troopers, and then police on horseback all moved into the scene and men were able to walk right past us with military grade weapons on their arms. Please, just don't site safety as a concern if you are literally ripping toys from our hands and doing so with this level of resources. This action was all the more necessary because it took place on the same day that for the first time in history an official of the NRA spoke at a political convention. Now that we are living under a Trump presidency, it's even more frightening to think of what this day did to normalize the NRAs relationship to these conventions. We were told by so many people that we were brave to be going in the first place, and with this normalization of weaponry on display happening in the heart of our democratic spaces, I understand why.
PS - one tennis ball managed to escape the wrath of RNC security forces and now happily lives on my bookshelf.