In response to Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris (but not in response to Thursday’s terrorist attacks in Beirut, because those weren’t outside a stadium and besides, those people’s lives don’t matter as much), the NFL ramped up security for yesterday’s games. How did they respond to the news that suicide vests, which have been around since the 1940s, are a thing? With bomb-sniffing dogs, increased bag checks, and:
In St. Louis, event staff at the Edward Jones Dome wore red shirts and jackets with the word “SECURITY” in large yellow letters. Previously, their shirts had been a less visible shade of yellow with black lettering.
I don’t want to belittle the desire to show fans that they’re doing something, anything, to enhance stadium safety, really I don’t. But given that the suicide bomber who tried to enter the Stade de France was caught not by dogs or walkthrough detectors but by a simple low-tech patdown — from what I can tell from online research, most explosive vests won’t be caught by metal detectors — that terror groups have shown the ability to learn from the past and choose new targets and techniques to pick the easiest target, and perhaps most important, the bomber still managed to kill people outside the stadium, it definitely feels like this is somewhere between security theater for show and fighting the last war. If the NFL succeeds in ensuring that any future terror attacks take place not inside stadiums but in stadium parking lots or public parks or rock clubs, is that a victory?
Anyway, no one was killed at any NFL stadium yesterday, so hooray for giraffe repellent!