Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) Deflects Concern Over Stadium Evacuation Protocol


On December 29, 2013, I sent information to ALL 535 members of the United States Congress.*  Below is text from the letter mailed to 2012 Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI).



I am deeply concerned about the inadequate state of emergency evacuation protocol at stadiums and arenas in the state of Wisconsin.

People have a fundamental right to know that if they are in a large, confined crowd and receive an evacuation notice and/or panic-inducing information from their cell phone or mobile device, it’s almost certainly a hoax designed to create an artificially generated stampede. 

I would strongly encourage you to explore legislation regarding this issue.  In the interim, please contact those responsible for venue security and request they increase awareness concerning this urgent matter of public safety.

Thank you,

Eric Saferstein
45 Ridgewood Avenue
Wheeling, WV  26003


Much to my surprise, I received this response.

pryanI respectfully disagree with his contention that this matter falls outside his jurisdiction.  Any American citizen has the First Amendment right to tell others that a legitimate emergency stadium evacuation order would never originate from their personal cell phone.  As a leader and avid fan of the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers, Congressman Ryan would be an ideal choice to broach this subject.

Since the issue is universally applicable, I felt morally compelled to bring this matter to the attention of the entire Congress.

As of March 20, 2014, I have received a grand total of 12 written responses.^  If you wish to view any of this correspondence, please contact me.  I have also been the recipient of phone calls, mostly from congressional aides.

Considering the incredibly generic nature of my concerns and the overwhelming implications for national security, I was truly disheartened that not a single member of the House or Senate would take a moment and give me a phone call to explore the issue further.  I would characterize the overall performance of the United States Congress as “predictably egregious.”

And while I do applaud the diligence of those who responded, there seemed to be a consistent theme of “pass the buck.”  Most informed me that although they appreciate my concerns and would like to help, it was a matter of long-standing tradition and professional courtesy to refer such matters to my own representative.  Please keep in mind that each letter expressed concern for the safety of constituents from their home state.

I am represented by First District Congressman David McKinley (R-WV).

I had provided him with substantial documentation regarding outdated emergency evacuation protocol for large, confined crowds (stadiums, amphitheaters, arenas, etc.).  I quickly got the impression that he was not interested in addressing this issue.

Here’s why this is incredibly troublesome.  Upon being elected, every member of Congress takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.  Let’s focus on how the artificially generated stampede impacts the Second Amendment.

The Second Amendment consists of more than the right to defend oneself by owning a gun.  There’s an obvious degree of required knowledge and situational awareness.  It’s necessary to learn how to safely store, correctly load and fire the gun.  It’s vital to be cognizant of the proper circumstances surrounding gun usage (as witnessed by recent “stand your ground” litigation).

People should be aware of the fact that a cell phone, if used to convey panic-inducing information, takes on the potential form of an asymmetric weapon.  People don’t normally view trees as weapons, but if the wood is used to create a spear, you now possess the ability to inflict injury.  Most people never envisioned passenger planes being used as 250,000 lb. cruise missiles… until 9/11 occurred.  These same analogies extends to cell phones and malicious hoax communications being used to create artificially generated stampedes.

I was hoping that just one of our esteemed representatives would have expressed a greater interest.  The notion that individuals tasked with safeguarding the lives of American citizens won’t acknowledge this potential threat to national security is more than alarming.  It’s mind-boggling.

I would encourage U.S. citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights.  At the next town hall or public forum, ask your Representative if he/she believes a scenario exists where widespread cellular technology could directly impact crowd safety.


* – 4 letters were returned to sender as undeliverable – Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Congressmen Gus Bilarikis (R-FL), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL)

^ – Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Congressmen George Miller (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), John Carter (R-TX), Adam Smith (D-WA), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Congresswomen Jackie Speier (D-CA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)