GL Analysis: In Ten Years, Will They Ask "How Did This Happen?"
Like any other facility where thousands of people gather, the arena will, sadly, be a potential target. Unlike facilities that were planned in a pre-9/11 world, however, or are post-9/11 acts of public stupidity like Newark's new arena, things can be done to make a possible Brooklyn arena safer and less disruptive. There are not many alternatives--the cost of knowingly putting thousands of people in harm's way is too awful to contemplate. The prospect of creating a situation that will create a bigger traffic nightmare in the heart of Brooklyn during events is more benignly negligent, yet reckless too.
What if nothing is done? Our fear is that in ten or fifteen years, when maniacal mass murderers espousing a cause no one has even contemplated yet detonate trucks loaded with explosives outside of the Atlantic Yards arena during a basketball game or concert, there will be terrible loss of life. It will be followed by one of those wretched "How did this happen?" moments that inevitably follow catastrophes that could have been prevented. There will be an investigation and a blue ribbon commission. In Albany, there will be a legislative panel that points the fingers of blame at Gov. Pataki and at Gov. Spitzer. In Washington, Representatives and Senators will demand national security standards for arenas so there will "never be another Brooklyn." Then, the arena will be rebuilt, set back further from the street, and become the "Barclays Memorial Arena" or the "Freedom Center." More children will lose fathers and mothers, millions of hearts will be broken and billions of tears will be shed.
The risk of a terrorist attack on Atlantic Yards demands impartial studies, public hearings and corrective action before thousands of people are slaughtered in the interest of expediency. To do otherwise would be criminal negligence on the part of every public official that will have a role in a future tragedy.
One hopes such a scenario will never play out and that this will all prove to be unnecessary worry, but a more honest public process than has previously been the case in planning and approving the Atlantic Yards development is a minimal step to ensure that it is less likely to happen.
Labels: Atlantic Yards