A New Year’s Resolution

Once again, a new year has arrived.  I’ll keep my resolution straightforward and simple.  In 2013, I created a website which comprehensively lays out the moral justification for divulging the truth about outdated emergency venue evacuation protocol.

At face value, I realize that doesn’t sound particularly exciting.  But it’s actually kind of a big deal.  Because if someone were to attempt a cellular evacuation of a large, confined crowd, it’s assuredly part of a more elaborate plan — a malicious hoax designed to create a real-world panic and induce a human stampede.

The only other possible reason you might receive an evac order via your mobile device is that someone is trying to empty out a facility, solely for their own personal amusement.  Call me a purveyor of negativity.  Label me a cynical observer.  But if there’s an actual wireless saturation, I seriously doubt it’s an attempt at fun and games.  Trust me, some person or some group is trying to weaponize a stampede.  It’s not rocket science.  It’s merely the modern, technological equivalent of shouting “FIRE” in a crowded theater.

Panic and big crowds do NOT mix.  Stadiums, ballparks, arenas, amphitheaters, motor speedways, mass protests, parades, convention centers and so on.  Some would argue that mankind is merely a random collection of large crowds.

So why the website?  Well, if you view the problem with a long term event horizon, there’s a unusual dynamic in play.  A paradox for the ages.

Sometimes, society can’t handle the truth.

In this case, government and private industry are both unwilling to share common sense, public safety information.

Yes, I realize that openly discussing how to indiscriminately kill innocent civilians without conventional weapons is a direct violation of sensitive social mores.  I can see why that would upset most people.  But there’s an absolute necessity to revamp the societal game plan.  Because if this issue isn’t proactively addressed, the fall out could be particularly dire.  That’s correct — the prospect of multiple stampedes.  If someone really wanted to “pull a number” on the United States, I think it’s reasonable to conclude they’d seek multiple, simultaneous targets, as opposed to a single, isolated target.  Unless of course, it was one high profile event.  For example, the Super Bowl, the NCAA football championship, the Indy 500, etc.

A question of merit I often get…

Why shouldn’t we warn people about other potentially negative outcomes?  The possibility of someone using a large vehicle to ram pedestrians?  Or the possibility of someone spraying a crowd with machine gun fire?  Or what about drones equipped with chemical weapons?  There’s a seemingly endless list of horrific possibilities.

What makes the “artificially generated stampede” so unique that it requires a proactive disclaimer?

Well, that’s the million dollar question I’ve set out to explain.  There is no definitive, textbook answer.  The best I can do is raise awareness and keep writing articles.  Ones that prescribe the moral and ethical framework for divulging the truth.

As logically rudimentary as it may sound, you have a fundamental right to a heightened level of situational awareness.  You, your kids, your parents, your friends and family.  Simply stated, you’re allowed to know the truth.  And since so many people have never given the issue any serious consideration, it makes humanity dangerously unaware.

The other option is to continue to keep people in the dark.  Until of course, someone makes a concerted effort to wirelessly weaponize a stampede.  It always comes back to that same binary decision.  Tell people the truth OR deliberately conceal it.

So yeah.  I’m still searching for that one person.  I’ve pretty much given up on politicians and members of Congress.  I’m more hopeful that someone in the entertainment biz might take up the cause.  It’s simple enough.  Just tell fans… hey, if it’s ever necessary evacuate this facility, please be aware that the information would NEVER be initially delivered via your cell phone or mobile device.  That’s just not how it works.  If an evac is deemed necessary, protocol dictates using the public address system, usually in tandem with video monitors.

Maybe you’re not Bill Peduto, the mayor of Pittsburgh.  Or the city’s chief of police, Scott Schubert.  Or councilwoman Darlene Harris, whose district encompasses both Heinz Field and PNC Park.  Maybe you’re not Art Rooney II, the owner of the Steelers.  Maybe you’re not Bob Nutting, the owner of the Pirates.  And guess what those five individuals have in common?  Well, I’ll give you a hint.  They’re all aware of the problem but purposely choose to remain silent.  Hey, why open up a hypothetical can of speculative worms?

Like I was saying, you might not be Bruce Springsteen, headlining a concert at PPG Paints Arena.  But maybe you’re his friend, Joe Grushecky, playing at Club Cafe on the South Side.  You might not have the swagger and sway of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.  But maybe you’re the high school football coach for Pine Richland (Gibsonia).  Maybe you’re not world renowned investigative journalist Bob Woodward of Watergate fame.  Maybe you’re just Gene Collier, a prolific sports writer for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

My point — sometimes the perceived “industry heavyweights” conveniently lack the courage to take action.  Sometimes it’s the little guy or gal in the room who’s needed to demonstrate a greater degree of ethical clout and moral clarity.

Money is not the answer.  I repeat, money is not a panacea here.  In this case, the solution encompasses information, knowledge and awareness.  The prospect of an artificially generated stampede echoes other transformational public safety issues, i.e., wildfire prevention, impaired driving, and so on.  And the willingness to be precisely transparent mirrors the statements we teach our children, i.e., “stop, drop and roll” and “look both ways before you cross the street.”

My contention is pretty basic.  Everyone’s allowed to know.  You either divulge the truth… or conceal it.  It’s just a matter of when and how society makes this collective discovery.  Before or after?  Before a tragedy occurs?  Before an attack is attempted?  Or after innocent people sustain serious bodily injuries?  After they die?

All of us have something in common.  We all make choices regarding life and death, health, education and public safety.  Now it’s your turn to make a resolution.  Do you know someone… anyone who’s willing to truly make a difference?

If you require a more substantive explanation of this asymmetric cyber-threat, just gimme a ring.  304-312-1395 and ask for Eric.  That’s me.