To the victor belong the spoils. The Green Bay Packers are the reigning Super Bowl champ, and so the NFL is seeking to spoil Packer fans’ enjoyment of home games.
Starting with this Sunday’s game at what football enthusiast John Kerry called “Lambert Field,” fans will be wanded before being admitted to the stadium. The new procedures will not be instead of the previous bag searches and pat-downs but in addition to them.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette quotes Doug Collins, Packers director of security, as saying:
Be prepared for something different. It may take a few seconds longer, so if [fans] arrive a little earlier at the gates that would be helpful. I don’t anticipate there being any lines that are so long that people miss the game or anything like that. … But every officer in every line will have those wands.
“Something different” is likely a euphemism for insane delays, at least until security personnel get their act down. Now the groaning during the first quarter when the home team is behind won’t be coming only from the stands but from beyond them, as ticket holders play an incessant waiting game.
As with the formation of the Transportation Security Administration, the new security—which will ultimately extend to all 32 NFL stadiums—is reactive, not proactive. The sudden need for enhanced measures was suggested by a recent incident in which a Dallas Cowboys fan smuggled a stun gun into a game and proceeded to zap those seated around him.
“As usual,” writes the website The American Dream,“authorities have responded to a minor security incident by massively overreacting to it. In the post-9/11 world in which we live, paranoia is standard operating procedure.”
I’m not sure I’d agree that allowing a stun gun into a stadium is a “minor” security breach, but the second part of the statement is on point. “America is,” as the write further observes, “rapidly turning into a high-security prison.”
And one, moreover, where there is no time for the powers that be to think before acting. Consider that when the idea of advanced security screening was first broached two weeks ago, the initial recommendation was to replace the previous torso pat-downs with more comprehensive knees-to-ankles and above-the-waist pat-downs. Conspicuously absent from the inspection was the area from the waist down to the knees. Hard to imagine a would-be terrorist would have a weapon secreted in that area!
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