metaldetectors

Absurd: MLB Mandates Metal Detectors in All Stadiums to Solve Non-Existent Problem

(Image: Michael Dwyer/AP)

I have been a regular attendee of Brewers games at Miller Park for many years, and I was not aware of any increased threat of violence at the stadium.  Every densely populated area/venue will experience occasional criminal activity, but I have never believed a major league ballpark to be more dangerous than anywhere else.  If anything, I assume the crime rate at baseball games is comparable to the crime rate in the rest of the U.S. – i.e., at its lowest point in decades.

So what the hell is this shit?

Major League Baseball has told its 30 teams they must implement security screening for fans by [2015], either with hand-held metal detection or walk-through magnetometers.

"This procedure, which results from MLB's continuing work with the Department of Homeland Security to standardize security practices across the game, will be in addition to bag checks that are now uniform throughout MLB," baseball spokesman Michael Teevan said Tuesday.

I don’t mean to be obvious, but what problem is this lousy mandate intended to solve?  If MLB is going to impose a massive inconvenience on its fans, surely they should offer some kind of explanation.  The 2013 MLB season had some of the highest attendance figures in league history – over 74,000,000 fans.  How many of those brought a metal weapon to the ballpark?  I would bet it’s a tiny percentage.

There have been a couple of high profile incidents between Dodgers and Giants fans in recent years.  A Giants fan was severely beaten outside Dodger stadium in 2011, but that didn’t seem to involve a metal weapon (or happen inside the ballpark).  Just a few months ago, a Dodgers fan was fatally stabbed a few blocks away from AT&T Park in San Francisco.  That tragic event did involve a metal weapon, but it also didn’t happen at the stadium, so it’s hard to see how metal detectors would have prevented it.

The above-linked AP story on MLB’s dreadful new metal detector rule offers this by way of justification:

Security gained more intense focus after three people were killed and more than 260 wounded when two bombs were set off at the Boston Marathon finish line.

The Boston Marathon bombing was horrible, but how the bloody hell could metal detectors at Fenway Park 1.5 miles away have prevented it?  This metal detector rule is utter madness.

As long as we’re talking about things that don’t make sense, why is the Department of Homeland Security involved?  This is the agency that only recently realized making us take our shoes off before getting on a plane was preposterous.  They still limit the amount of non-flammable fluid you can carry on, for no obvious reason other than to be miserable bastards.

Not to get all political, but it’s increasingly recognized that most of what DHS does – particularly in terms of airport security – is all for show and doesn’t make anyone safer.  It actually may make airports less safe.  Just last month, Cracked.com published an article by the former head of security at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport that broke down how awful U.S. airport screening practices are.  DHS is all about conspicuous demonstrations of “security theater” that waste resources, hassle/intimidate people who pose no threat, and do nothing to reduce the likelihood of crime.  This is the agency behind MLB’s metal detector rule.  Christ.

The establishment media has shown it won’t hold MLB accountable for its drug war excesses.  Will they also still idly by while MLB forces fans to go through metal detectors for no good reason?  It would be nice if someone in a position of influence demanded accountability for MLB’s unwarranted implementation of security theater rubbish.

Enrique Bakemeyer

About Enrique Bakemeyer

Enrique is a writer and baseball enthusiast living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has been contributing to The Brewers Bar since 2013, and has previously written for 411mania.com. Follow him on Twitter at @C_Enrique_B

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