Like Kuff and others, I join in expressing my sorrow regarding the tragedy at NRG Park this past weekend after eight young people died at the Travis Scott Astroworld festival.
While many are expressing their versions of what happened and their opinions regarding who is negligent, it will take a thorough investigation, and perhaps as County Judge Lina Hidalgo expressed it, an independent one. There are too many entities involved in this tragedy for whom there could be liability that an independent investigator would be needed to ensure all of the evidence and process information is collected and considered.
Of course, the best way to ensure a thorough investigation is through the courts and already one lawsuit has been filed by a concertgoer. The families of those who died will surely follow. A lawsuit will compel those involved to answer under oath, and not just through instagram videos.
My initial opinion is that the responsible thing would have been to close the venue as soon as the 2PM stampede at the gate occurred, clear the venue, and either cancel the event or re-start the entrance process. If people were acting like fools, then the responsible thing would be to treat them as such, perhaps banning those who behaved like fools from attending, rather than rewarding them with a concert. Time-consuming? Sure, but if all we do is encourage foolish behavior, then it’ll never get better.
But that was just at the beginning. Management of the entire event will need to be dissected. As one report states, it may need to start with the event contract between the venue and the event managers as to how much security is needed, how to stop a concert to address a mass casualty, among other things.
Considering that there appears to be a track record of encouraging this behavior by the main attraction and, now, a NYT report that Chief Finner had concerns about what could occur a day before the event, the surface is just being scratched. While some are defending the entertainer and the entities and blaming “individuals,” there was someone (several of them) in charge of the event that should have thought ahead–if they wanted to do that sort of thing. Kuff has more on the timeline of the event.
Sure, this is just me being angry, but it’s bad enough that unmasked mass events are still occurring during a pandemic that people who are acting like idiots are given the equal opportunity to act as such and be rewarded. Thousands of people dying in Texas surely didn’t do much for increased safety at events, so, will 8 people getting trampled do much for mass event management?
That said, my hope is that the outcome of the investigation doesn’t only provide those affected by the bad practices of those putting on these events with compensation for their losses, but that the bad practices are fixed and that concerts are presented and produced professionally and safely. If the latter doesn’t happen, then more of these awful results will occur.
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