November 9, 2019 was NOT an ideal day for public safety. Two human stampedes engulfed two separate rock concerts. One in Houston, Texas which left 3 injured.
The other in Caracas, Venezuela which left 3 dead and 37 injured.
Let’s examine some of the similarities. Both were rap concerts. Both drew capacity crowds. Both featured hometown heroes. Rapper Travis Scott is a Houston native. Rapper Neutro Shorty is a Caracas native. And both featured unanticipated crowd surges.
Now for the differences. The stampedes transpired on the same day, but occurred in different time zones separated by 2 hours. The venues were noticeably different, both in scale and magnitude. The Caracas concert was free and held at a state park. The other was carefully coordinated by the city of Houston at “Astroworld” which is essentially a mammoth parking lot. It’s part of a multi-purpose complex, home to the NFL’s Houston Texans NRG Stadium, a separate arena, convention center, and the “Eighth Wonder of the World” — the Houston Astrodome.
But what’s the major difference between the anarchy at Astroworld and the chaos in Caracas? Aside from the number of injuries and fatalities, it’s the divergence in media coverage. The Astroworld incident was widely covered and splashed all over the major cable news websites (Fox, MSNBC & CNN). However, the Caracas carnage was completely ignored. It kinda makes you wonder why.
Well, to be blunt, here’s the answer. One happened in North America and the other happened in South America. This human stampede media “coverage disparity” is actually quite common. And it extends well beyond our hemisphere. If a stampede occurs in North America or Europe, you’re far more likely to hear about it. But if one occurs in Asia or Africa, it’s simply not a big deal. Unless, of course, the total number of fatalities is deemed “significant.”
This particular media trend has been increasingly noticeable for the past decade or so. Unfortunately, the only way you’d know about it is if you perform a daily routine search on the word stampede.
My overriding point is this. Stampedes happen with a greater frequency than you might be aware of. Shit happens. Just sayin’. And stampedes bear some eerie similarities with mass shootings, particularly regarding the degree of societal desensitization and reluctant acceptance. I’m simply worried, that if this dynamic (the cell phone thingy I often mention), is ever truly put to the test… it could result in something “generically unfathomable.” Likely a series of multiple, near simultaneous, unsuspectingly horrific stampedes in order to balance the underlying, entrenched narrative. Just a hunch.
I’ll leave you with this final thought. There were varying official responses in the aftermath of these tragedies.
The Venezuela National Parks Service issued a statement claiming they did not give permission to anyone to host a concert at Parque del Este. They said that the large, impatient crowd caused the gate structures to collapse, which ultimately resulted in “deeply regrettable events.”
Astroworld took a more measured stance, probably with a desire to limit potential litigation. They merely chose to retweet a post from the Houston Police Department.
Houston PoliceVerified account @houstonpolice Nov 9
We are successfully working together to support Houston’s biggest music festival @astroworldfest at @nrgpark and collaborating closely with the festival to ensure the public safety of everyone attending the event. We look forward to a memorable night. #hounews
Rapper Travis Scott weighed in as well. He captioned a tweet of the stampede and expressed a slightly different tone.
“A YOUTH DEM CONTROL THE FREQUENCY. EVERYONE HAVE FUN. RAGERS SET TONE WHEN I COME OUT TONIGHT. BE SAFE RAGE HARD. AHHHHHHHHHHH,”
It’s gratifying to see Mr. Scott take a serious approach to fan safety. Perhaps he’d consider becoming a spokesperson for AGSAF (Artificially Generated Stampede Awareness Foundation).
Needless to say, I won’t be holding my breath. Holla!