Department of Homeland Spelling

images-18In 2008, the United States Department of Homeland Security released a report concerning stadium security.  Other than the individuals who wrote it, I think it’s safe to say that very few have read this comprehensive dossier.

The report basically outlines every conceivable threat to stadium security.  I hate to sound pessimistic, but I get the sense it was written for the following reason:

to elaborate on every potentially fathomable problem so that in the event something unfortunate did happen, an official could reference the content buried somewhere in this exhaustive account.

They could point to evidence in the report and claim they were in the process of addressing the matter.  But until then, they were neither derelict nor negligent.

On page 41, there’s even a reference to the possibility of food borne illness obtained from mayonnaise left out in the sun.  Oh, and by the way, they misspelled “mayonaise.”  On the same page, they speak of the accidental release of chemical, biological or radiological weapons.  This sounds a little more pressing.  I’m not trying to nitpick, but shouldn’t it be an “intentional release.”  And by the way, I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but they misspelled “accidential.

On page 44, they break down the stadium population into various sub-groups (grandstands, suites, offices, even the concessations).  Yep, you guessed it.  I think they meant concessions.

Perhaps among its numerous directives, the Department of Homeland Security should issue some kind of revamped bureau-wide spellcheck policy.   I do believe it would fall within their restrictive budgetary constraints.

My apologies if this post came across as flippant or purposely offensive.  Rest assured, I take matters concerning stadium security very seriously.  I think that’s why I’m left a bit flabbergasted.  Read the official report.  It touches on every potential hazard, every conceivable previously explored threat known to man.
With one major exception… the potential for an artificially generated stampede.

One would think that a hypothetical scenario which completely eviscerates existing emergency evacuation protocol might be worthy of a paragraph or two.  Then again, that would likely open up a can of worms.  It would necessitate exploring more challenging concepts and likely result in a much longer report.  Most importantly, it would be a concrete admission of a real-world problem that requires a universal solution.

Regarding the artificially generated stampede, I’ve often spoke of the overriding catch-22.  The notion that if you acknowledge the problem, you own it.  If a lead official is properly briefed, they become accountable.  And if a disaster happens, the administration would reap the blame.

Perhaps this explains my cynical tone.  With the prospect of a dominipede (multiple, simultaneous stampedes) and a hypothetical injury and death count which boggles the mind and irreparably alters the course of humanity, our Department of Homeland Security has chosen to focus on an entirely different threat… an accidential mayonaise spill at the concessation stand.