When candidate Donald Trump came to the Tucson Convention Center for a campaign rally last March, Jimi Giannatti made this poster to welcome him:
I took the poster into the Tucson Convention Center and shouted "LIAR" at Donald Trump during his speech, and this happened:
I went on CNN, wrote this article in The Guardian UK, and received a litany of poorly worded death threats.
Next up, we went to San Diego for another Donald Trump rally, and Jimi made this image of two Trump supporters casually dousing anti-Trump protesters with mace. Gawker wrote an article featuring Jimi's image and the image went viral. The rally, not coincidentally, turned into a riot (video below).
We went to many more rallies, the Republican and Democratic Conventions, The Women's March in DC, and etc.
Here are a few tips for surviving an encounter with the Trump circus:
Do not go to the rally alone
Go with a group of people
Do NOT go by yourself and do NOT be alone at the beginning or end of the rally. Be visible. Be loud.
Plan a safe and easy to find meeting spot in case you get split from your group or anything happens. Park somewhere outside of downtown Phoenix and then take a Lyft over to the Convention Center area. This affords you freedom from worrying where your car is in a bad situation and the ability to:
Walk away! You are under no obligation to stay in any one place for any amount of time. If you are uncomfortable, LEAVE the place that makes you uncomfortable.
Trust your intuition: in a volatile situation where violence is either happening in real time or imminent, your intuition is the thing that will tell you what to do and when to do it. Listen to what your intuition is naturally telling you. If fear is the main thing you are feeling, go somewhere else or go home.
Police will be unlikely to be there to save you. They may be where you are when something violent happens, they may not. They may react quickly, they may not. You are the only thing that can protect yourself. Be smart about what you do and when you do it. Think about what you need to do to feel safe in a situation where violence may be possible or probable, and then prepare yourself accordingly.
The best way to avoid violence is not to be there when it happens. Back away if anything feels off. If violence breaks out, protect your head. Exit the situation if at all possible. Be as loud as possible when violence is occurring either against someone else or yourself.
Insist that police officers do their job and protect ALL parties involved in todays rally and protest. Do not accept any nonsense in this area. We have witnessed police in multiple cities treating anti-Trump and pro-Trump citizens in two entirely different ways. Do not interfere with a police officer. Do not accept that a police officer is not doing their job. Loudly demand that they do so. Take badge numbers and names if necessary. Which brings us to:
FILM & RECORD EVERYTHING: NO EXCEPTIONS! At the very least, turn on your smart phone voice recording app when you walk up to the rally.
Wear a backpack to keep your hands free if you are carrying anything. Keep your phone charged! Bring an additional charging device and make sure that it is charged too!
Hydrate yourself, eat plenty of food, take care of your body and your friends. Things may get out of control and you need to be prepared to handle that physically and mentally. It's no good to be tired, depleted, and underhydrated.
Don't be careful, be vigilant and smart. If you are going to this event, you should be aware that your safety is not guaranteed. Order may be lost. People may lose control of themselves in the moment. We have seen what can happen in Charlottesville, Dallas, Baton Rouge, San Diego, Tucson, and on and on. Keep your head. Protect yourself and your friends and those around you.