October 21, 2010
Under normal circumstances, you'd never be able to talk your way into a game without a valid ticket, especially if it happens to be a hyped showdown between undefeated instate rivals. Even if you had a ticket, it wouldn't get you past the gate in this hyper-vigilant age with a pair of frightening assault weapons in plain sight.
So what happened when a guy with no ticket and two M16 rifles showed up to the largest stadium in America for the Michigan-Michigan State game earlier this month? They let him onto the sideline, of course:
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)—A National Guardsman toting two unloaded M16 assault rifles told security at Michigan Stadium that he was part of the official honor guard and was allowed onto the field during the Michigan-Michigan State football game, authorities said Thursday.
Before he went into the Big House, where more than 113,000 people had gathered on Oct. 9, a police officer ensured his weapons were empty and double-checked that he did not have any ammunition on him, said Diane Brown, a spokeswoman for the university’s department of public safety.
"Unfortunately, he used his uniform and his status to gain unauthorized access to the field," Brown told The Associated Press. "His response was that he really wanted to see the game, he couldn't get a ticket, and he thought he would use his uniform for access."
Incredibly, he thought right – until about 45 minutes after kickoff, anyway, when he was led away without incident. Prosecutors are still considering whether to file any charges while the university reviews protocols at stadium checkpoints.
In the meantime, note that an M16 isn't one of those old-school rifles they bring out during the national anthem: A random, unauthorized person with no ticket or pass was allowed to walk into the middle of tens of thousands of tightly-packed, essentially captive people with a standard issue weapon for Marines on the front lines in Iraq, and remain there for roughly an hour. I'm not a security expert, but I can't imagine that falls under "protocol" in an era when ordinairy fans are occasionally patted down at the gate and have to hold their breath that their cameras and binoculars will make it through with them. Does Tazer the police dog have to do everything around here?
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.