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How horses tamed the savages during the DNC

Mark Washburn
Mark Washburn writes television and radio commentary for The Charlotte Observer.

Because the federal government ladled out $50 million to ensure security at the Democratic National Convention last year, it needed to do a report to make sure the money was well-spent.

On Tuesday, the report came, and – shazam – it turns out the money was well-spent.

Except for the horses.

Authorities borrowed 23 horses from Atlanta and elsewhere for street patrols. “Event attendees found horses to be impressive looking, but this event did not lend to their need,” the report says.

This is crazy talk.

You’d have George Clooney standing at Fifth and Tryon with about a dozen swooners taking his picture, while a block up there’d be a cop on a big brown nag with a massive swarm of delegates in funny hats straining to pet the horse.

Protesters would take a tonsil break from berating big banks for big profits to coo at the beasts. It is said the entire Wyoming delegation abruptly abandoned lunch and rushed over just to smell them.

We spent great vats of money spiffing up the business district and putting up fancy signs to impress our visitors, and all they did was go back home and rave about the cool horses on the streets of Charlottesville.

Only $18,924 of the $50 million was spent on horses (including $3,169 on feed and hay, and $450 to the local contractor Scoop D Doo Inc. for self-evident services). Horses were huge hits.

It is Charlotte’s shame that we can’t afford an equine police unit. It’s true they’re not all that efficient at fighting crime, but they please a crowd. If we parked a couple in front of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, all its problems would be over. We could pay for the horses by charging pedestrian tolls for the next 50 years, like we’re going to do on I-77.

There were three spectacular street theater events during the convention: those dancing traffic cops from Georgia, that zealous preacher getting a head start on Judgment Day by pointing out all the fornicators passing by him in front of the Convention Center, and the horses.

Tuesday’s report notes that only 25 demonstrators were arrested during the convention (16 of whom asked to be). This shows you the peace of mind $50 million can buy.

There were several reasons the anarchists were so well-behaved. You may recall that on those rare occasions that the sun peeked out during that weeklong typhoon, temperatures were roughly equivalent to the lava beds of Mount Kilauea. And the police were so welcoming, they practically delivered bagels each morning to the protest encampment.

And the horses. Who wants to march in the heat when you can get your picture taken next to a horse?

There must be a way to get horses into the fabric of the city.

Can they pull a trolley?

Washburn: 704-358-5007
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