I went to an AFL semi-final in September.
It was the first time I’ve been to a footy match in about six years.
In the old days, your bag was searched, but not for weapons. It was just to make sure that you weren’t bringing in alcohol or certain snacks. After all, those merchants inside the AFL have overpriced cold pies and warm beers to sell.
However, this time was different. Like normal, my bag was searched, in what can be described as the most useless pat-down I’ve witnessed.
A new twist, though, was the body scan. A metal detector wand was run over my body from an appropriate distance. Unfortunately, I obliged. I stood there, with my arms out like a scarecrow in a field, and turned when told. Then trotted past the least intimidating security guards I’ve ever seen when they grunted.
For a couple of seconds, I was obeying commands just like my Kelpie.
I schlepped it through the line to have my digital ticket scanned, and off I went. Quite frankly, the whole process was a dog and pony show.
As I dragged myself up the four flights of stairs to the nosebleed section of the Melbourne Cricket Ground, I mulled over at least two different ways I could’ve brought in anything suspicious. And by suspicious, of course I mean consumable goods…
Did I feel any safer? Nope.
Did I feel like I was being conditioned into accepting these measures as the new normal? You bet.
My experience at the footy match wasn’t unique. Thousands of sporting venues across the world are now embracing these useless measures. All under the pretence of keeping us safer from terrorism.
The problem is, it does no such thing. We get the illusion of safety, but we are no safer. Yet as more and more of these measures are introduced, we learn to accept them.
Take recent security measures introduced at one of Australia’s largest music festivals, Splendour in the Grass.
For the first time in the event’s history, people were denied the right to take backpacks to the festival. Presumably because they may have some nasty bomb hidden inside. Similar to my footy experience, people then had the magic security wand ran over their body, and vehicles were searched.
Promoter Paul Piticco told ABC News that it had to introduce these measures because ‘these are the times we live in now’.
Jessica Durou, founder of Splendour in the Grass, added:
‘Unfortunately it’s a reflection of the world we live in. We’ve had a lot of meetings with stakeholders. Our primary concern is that if people are going to come to Splendour they are going to be safe here.’
I’m sure the promoter and founder believe they are acting within people’s best interest.
But I beg to differ. I say it’s bulldust, and that it’s pandering to key backers wanting to minimise their insurance premium liabilities.
Let’s start with the simple backpack.
I carry a handbag, which could probably hold about three days’ worth of clothes and food. It’s massive. And at least twice the size of any backpack.
Yet, in spite of its ridiculous size, I could still trot through the Splendour gates with it. Why is this allowed in when backpacks aren’t?
More importantly, who decides that a handbag isn’t a threat, when a backpack is? Obviously any bag being carried would require a search…so a backpack is no different to an enormous handbag.
And a car search? Pfft. My kids have discovered hiding places in my car to drop toys and food, only to never locate them again. The police wouldn’t stand a chance against their creativity…
These tough new security measures at the festival have absolutely nothing to do with keeping you safe, other than to create the impression of making the festival appear safer.
The problem is that these security measures have become the new normal. The events not using ridiculous pat-downs and bag searches are the outliers. Chances are that the festival organisers are making sure they fall into line to keep their insurance companies happy.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported recently that we should be thankful for measures like this, writing:
‘Be thankful for the increased security measures, delays and inconvenience that are necessary to keep us safe from wannabe jihadis plotting to inflict mayhem and destruction on Australian soil.
‘The only reason Australia has escaped a high casualty terror event is due to a combination of luck, distance and the work of our counter-terrorism forces.’
No, these measures don’t protect you from crazies with a plot to kill. The media will tell you it’s the new normal, when instead it’s doctrine.
The more you tell people there is something to be scared of, the more they’ll believe it.
If you want to back up the threat, force people into embracing cattle-herding tactics and then tell them it’s for our own good.
Pointless safety checks do nothing other than to persuade you to believe you are always one step away from danger. You’re not.
But you are being conditioned to accept this. And the quicker people learn to not fight it, the easier it is for the government to introduce still harsher security protocols later on.
If you think your cash is safe in the bank…think again. Find out what you could do to protect your cash and financial privacy here.