5,000 People Will Get Tickets to the JFK Memorial, and None Can Have "Extremist Ties"

Categories: City Hall, Media

Rawlings_jfk_podium.jpg
Out of respect for the late president, Anna photographed the event using 1960s technology.
Bad news, "extremists": If you try to get tickets to the upcoming shindig at Dealey Plaza, the one memorializing the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, you will be denied.

"What's an extremist?" you may ask yourself, which is precisely the sort of question an extremist would ask. Minus 10 points for you. But the answer, if you must know, is classified.

That was the takeaway this morning at the Sixth Floor Museum, during a tightly wound, security-heavy and very brusque press conference from Mayor Mike Rawlings and the JFK 50th committee: Nobody will be kept away from Dealey Plaza on November 22 based on their political beliefs. But, then again, they kind of will.

See also:
- Can You Say "Assassination?"
- Who Died and Made the Sixth Floor Museum the King of Dealey Plaza?

"We're planning a serious, understated, respectful commemoration of President Kennedy's life," the mayor said, adding that the city was working closely with Dallas County in the planning process. And while making sure that the president is adequately memorialized, he said, "the city's intent is to provide the safest environment to those who attend this program. In a post-9/11 world, and after the Boston Marathon, vigilance in regards to public safety should take precedence in all matters."

So here's how all that vigilance and understatedness affects you: There will be 5,000 tickets made available to the general public for the event. You can apply for a ticket at 50th Honoring John F. Kennedy, which went live this morning. About half the tickets, Rawlings said, will be "randomly allocated" to Dallas-area residents, meaning the city, the County, and the larger DFW region. The other half will go to people from outside the region. Other tickets will be made available to the media (who have to jump through our own special set of hoops), the 50th committee, government officials and various civic leaders.

"This is not a simple process," Rawlings said, "because of public safety, and because we want to give everyone a fair chance."

The last day to request the free tickets is July 31. At that point, Rawlings said, "Each person will be screened before a ticket is given to them." That screening will be conducted by the Dallas Police Department; Assistant Police Chief Charles Cato was on hand to provide exactly no useful information about what the screening entailed.

"There are some public databases" they'll be checking, Cato said. "No one with a history of violence, threats or extremist ties" will be given a ticket.

At that point, someone asked the obvious question: Is this about keeping people out who might insist on saying things like "third man" and "cover-up"?

The answer, Rawlings said, was no. There's "no question" that the screenings are solely related to security, he added. "We want everyone, no matter what their point of view is, to sign up and get some of these tickets. But safety is first and foremost."

But to return to the whole screening thing, if we could: What sort of criminal history might disqualify you from attending this very dignified event? Felony? Misdemeanor? Sex crime?

"All I'm willing to say is that we're going to do a full criminal background check," Cato said. He was "not willing to say" what that involved.

Rawlings jumped in. "We're trying to make sure we have as many resources as we can, with as little said on the front end. We'll make those judgments as the data is brought in."

When pressed on what those "extremist ties" might look like, he paused lengthily, then said, "We're going to say less versus more on this. If we see anything that we think raises an alarm on this, they're not getting tickets. We're going to err on the conservative, safe side."

If you're too extreme or felonious and can't manage to score a ticket, there'll be screens set up all over downtown and at Victory Plaza to view the event. No security screening is required to view a screen in the middle of the vast empty wilderness of the AAC. Not yet, anyway.

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47 comments
MissMacy
MissMacy

This is a lot of horseshit. Seriously.

Marla Havins
Marla Havins

That's my birthday, I should get in right? lol

DMZ3
DMZ3

On the one hand, I probably wouldn't want people with extremists ties getting into my JFK memorial event either. But on the other hand, I'm pretty amazed by the ramped-up anxiety Dallas elites have about this.

I can't think of any other event (maybe 9/11 in New York) which hits at a city's sense of itself as much as this. Above all the boosterism and can-do optimism of Dallas, the assassination is still hanging there like the Sword of Damocles.

Obummer
Obummer

Yo one o' da great things 'boutteleprompters iz sometimes dere is some fantastic pictures ya'll.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

If it's sunny, will we be allowed to open and raise a black umbrella at the fabled hour? V-I-C-T-O-R-Y

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Dallas seems intent on ignoring the contrived legacy of JFK and making this event all about Dallas, good, bad or indifferent.  I will likely go fishing.

JustSaying
JustSaying

I think before Anna leaves Dallas she needs to have her picture taken on Elm street in a pink Chanel dress and matching pillbox hat.

ShoddyFreude
ShoddyFreude

So, how much are all these "full criminal background checks" going to cost, and who's footing the bill?

yoka
yoka

I just went to the website, and the more I read the less I want to go.  A dull, stuffed shirt, tight assed affair.  I think I'll pass.

What tempted me to go was the memories of strolling around Dealy Plaza on the 40th anniversary ten years ago.  On a whim I took my video camera and bopped around recording for a couple of hours, having some nice chats, taking footage of the vendors and, most memorably, encountering Jesse Ventura - of all people - who was telling an assembled group about how he personally asked Fidel Castro if  Cuba had a role in Kennedy's death (Ventura said Castro denied it).  

The point is, that was fun!  This thing the city is planning sounds like a high-security wake.  No Thanks. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

I simply must apply. I need to find out what lists I'm on, and this seems like a really easy way to do it.

ruddski
ruddski

Kinda like a typical Public university that will not abide by contrarianism, but without any free-speech zones.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

How about bow-ties?

Will bow-ties be allowed?

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Well, that ought to scare off a good amount of the riff-raff.

Tom434
Tom434

I think I would rather watch Stone's movie JFK

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

Is that caption a dig on my beautiful cellphone photo, which artfully captures both the darkness and the dignified-ness of the event? That's some cold shit. 

mickeydal
mickeydal

And if the background check does not get you, the "randomness" of the selection might. Who will Audit that?

Angie Thompson
Angie Thompson

A particular extreme, or both ends of the spectrum?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@JustSaying Hey what huh? I've been busy lately. Merlan's leaving? What, to do the weather blog with Wilonsky at the News? I need to click on more than UP I 'spose.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@JustSaying Dude, what do you think I'm doing tonight after the edit staff hits the bar? Come on now. 

phaskins1
phaskins1

@yoka exactly, I loved to go there on the anniversary for the circus, this sounds like a funeral that you have to jump through hoops to go to....pass

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@Montemalone I'm moving back to New York! Today was my last day. Try to keep up, Monte, goddamn.

They'll let me do Dallas weather from there, right? No? Shit. 

JustSaying
JustSaying

@Anna_Merlan @JustSaying I'm not saying that it would be within the realm of good taste but the picture will be much more punk rock if someone from the edit staff accidentally spills a glass of red wine on the dress first.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan @Montemalone Oh man, I guess I won't be reading about the goper infatuation with girl parts any more.

Congrats on your return to civilization. 


Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@TheCredibleHulk I'll let you know via Twitter or this here comments section as soon as I can. Thanks for asking! Unless you were talking to the anus guy. 

Metroplexual
Metroplexual

@JustSaying 

Kinda go all Parker Posey on us, if you will....

JustSaying
JustSaying

@Anna_Merlan I'm glad that you are at least leaving us with one last cover story. I always get my Observer on Thursday so I am already looking forward to my Friday morning deuce. That is not an insult. That's fucking high praise.

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