Venues big and small should employ vets, retired police officers for security
Safety and security at concerts and sporting events have been discussed at length this week in light of Monday’s ISIS attack in Manchester, England. Jeff and I even took calls from parents of young kids saying they will no longer let their children attend a big ticket event in fear of their child suffering a similar brutal consequence.
When it comes to finding a solution, people have thrown out a myriad of suggestions on how we can regain our piece of mind and feel comfortable going to sporting events and concerts again. Ideas like adding a second security stop either once you’re inside the stadium or when you’re still in the parking lot. Some even advocate for a security system similar to that of TSA. Removing your shoes, all bags, belongings and loose articles of clothing going through the x-ray machine — the whole shebang.
Would these suggestions work? Maybe. I don't know any better than you do. But I do know I don't want to be forced into setting aside 2-3 extra hours in my day every time I want to go to a Yankees game. It will get to the point where you spend more time getting into these events than actually enjoying them.
My suggestion, which may be no better or worse than the ones brought up this week, involves a revamp of the people responsible for deciding who can and cannot enter a venue.
According to a Nov. 2016 NJ.com article, there are approximately 38,169 veterans in New Jersey who served in the Middle East. That includes Desert Storm. Throw in the thousands of retired police officers living in New Jersey, and you have yourself a large pool of qualified people that will simply do a much better of job than many people who currently hold these security jobs because of their knowledge and experience. As an added bonus, we would be keeping veterans employed.
I would want this to become the norm. And not only at major venues like MetLife Stadium or the Prudential Center. This goes for venues of any size, including the Starland Ballrooms and TD Bank Ballparks of the world. Hell, even doing this for malls and theme parks makes sense to me. If ISIS has made anything clear, it's that they don't necessarily care about how big or small their target is. They know targeting a small town venue with a few hundred people would insight the same, if not more fear.
If you stop to think about it, it's one thing to be scared to let your children go to New York City during a particularly busy time since it's a major tourist destination, but knowing they are just as capable of carrying out barbaric acts at the Stone Pony or the Cherry Hill Mall is a whole different animal.
I don't think Western Civilization is anywhere close to eradicating terrorism, and attacks like what happened in Manchester serve as grim reality checks as to the way the world works now. Make no mistake, ISIS is at war with The West. But be honest. You've thought about it at least one time during a visit to a major venue since 9/11. I thought about it at the Super Bowl in February. And the time I went to a Knicks game a week after the Boston Bombing. Former police and military personnel securing the perimeters of the events we attend won't end terrorism, but in a similar way being on a flight with an air marshal helps ease the fear of your plane being hijacked, this could help regain a sense of safety.
How would you change the way security measures at venues are executed?