Monday, December 15, 2008

Stadiums and Terrorism: Self Indulgence Alert

The latest issue, published this week, of the new online magazine The Public Sphere includes an essay of mine, "Stadiums and Terrorism," in which I address the piecemeal, showy-but-empty approach to combating terrorism that we continue to take more than seven years after 9/11. I use stadium security as a backdrop. Here is a sample:
Prevention of a stadium attack will come in the form of vigilance, intelligence, and competence, rather than slapdash and showy efforts to appear tough. A little sanity would also go a long way in bringing a level of reasonableness to our discussions. When you enter a stadium on a hot day and are drinking a bottle of water, scare stories from the news notwithstanding, the odds that your water will become a deadly weapon are almost nil. It is hard not to be cynical about a policy that happens to profit the concessionaires who sell overpriced drinks without demonstrably increasing safety. It also inspires less, not more, confidence if our official approach to matters of terrorism and security seems reactive to news stories or rumors rather than part of a rational and comprehensive strategy. Meanwhile, if I had hidden a gun in my waistband, security would not have noticed because they did not bother checking. In terms of odds, I would surmise that an attack at a big game will more likely come from someone wielding a gun than someone wielding a half-empty bottle of water.

Let me know what you think. And read the entire issue -- it is a publication very much worth your while.

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