It seems like just a few days ago when I wrote an article about an African soccer stampede. One that resulted in 8 fatalities and roughly 50+ injured. Oh, wait a minute. I did. It’s like having deja vu all over again.
The former stampede transpired in Malawi, Africa. This one in Senegal. Adding to the sadistic irony, both stadium stampedes had the exact same number of fatalities (8).
The circumstances were different, but the results the same. On July, 15, 2017, at the Demba Diop stadium in Dakar, a fight broke out in the crowd. It quickly escalated into a massive brawl between rival factions. Police fired tear gas and everything mushroomed completely out of control.
Many articles about the Senegal stampede mentioned how stampedes have become “common” in Africa as stadium safety standards are “low.”
Hmm, low safety standards, eh? Gimme a break! Personally speaking, I think that sports writers in the United States should give some thought to the ridiculously outdated emergency evacuation protocol standards which govern the rest of the “advanced,” err uh, “civilized” world.
This is relatively straightforward material. So I’ll break it down.
Fact: Virtually everyone has a cell phone.
Fact: Sports venues are increasingly hyper-connective wireless environments.
Fact: If you have to evacuate, you do NOT issue the order via cell phone. Even if you had that capability, you would NOT. Because it would violate all existing protocol.
Fact: If you must evacuate, incident command uses the public address system, in tandem with the video monitors. As it’s vital to reach as many fans as possible in a uniform, direct, cohesive fashion. Once again, you do NOT utilize cell phones.
This security disconnect is both apparent and generic. Now you might make the argument… well, fans are too smart to be duped by a phony cellular evac order. Well, my friends, if something like this did transpire, it’s likely not gonna come in the form of a friendly “We kindly request your cooperation. Please exit to the nearest concourse at your earliest convenience.”
Since someone, or some group, is attempting to weaponize a human stampede in order to indiscriminately kill innocent civilians, there would likely be an inherent degree of deception and malicious intent.
For example, if Donald Trump tweets… Hijacked planes could be targeting NFL stadiums. Get those fans outta there! NOW!!!
Then, we later learn, his twitter account was hacked.
Yeah, something like that could never happen!
Well, I hate to sound like a pessimist. But bad things never happen… until they happen. It’s called the future. It’s called the news.
And in the aftermath, here’s the typical progression. People cry. Then, they pray. Then, they address the issue. They acknowledge a security disconnect exists and come to the realization that a contingency plan is required. Then, they fix the problem.
My position — since the solution is free (explicitly telling people that emergency evacuation orders for large, confined crowds are NOT delivered via their personal mobile devices), it might be a wise idea to get ahead of the curve. Rather than viewing it from the “lose-lose perspective” of government and private industry (plausible deniability and hypothetical litigation), it helps to consider the issue from a human rights perspective.
Either you’re allowed to be cognizant of this little tidbit of public safety information… or you ain’t. And since it’s a generic matter of venue security, and to a certain degree, life and death… how ’bout we just divulge the truth? Whaddya say?
If you happen to know of a high-profile individual, say a politician, entertainer, sports celebrity, etc., please ask them to read this article. If they possess the requisite moral courage to speak up, have them contact me immediately. And we’ll fix the problem! We’ll tell people the truth. It’s really that simple.