Advertisement

Detroit, NFL say 2024 draft will be secure after Kansas City Super Bowl parade mass shooting

Detroit, NFL say 2024 draft will be secure after Kansas City Super Bowl parade mass shooting

For the first time, America's most popular sport intersected with America's most terrifying trend. Now that a mass shooting has occurred at the Kansas City parade and rally following the Chiefs' latest Super Bowl win, it's fair to wonder whether other places where thousands of football fans gather can or will be secure.

The next significant event happens in two months in Detroit, where the NFL draft will make its latest stop since becoming a road show nine years ago. Via Mike Jones of TheAthletic.com, both Detroit and the NFL insist that the draft will be safe.

“We have been in full preparation mode for months and are confident in our safety plan,” Detroit Police Chief James E. White said in a statement, via Jones. “The City of Detroit has hosted several large-scale, successful events recently, including the Ford Fireworks, the Detroit Grand Prix, America’s Thanksgiving Parade and Lions games with more than 70,000 fans in attendance, as well as many other events and concerts. Taking from those experiences, we have built our safety strategy and are confident this plan will ensure the safety of all in attendance at the draft and the surrounding areas."

Jones adds that the NFL expressed similar confidence in the plans for keeping the Detroit draft secure.

But can safety ever truly be guaranteed in situations like this? Absent a hard perimeter with metal detectors and wands, there's always a chance someone will show up with a gun and start shooting. It now happens every day in this country, somewhere.

Wherever that perimeter might be, people will be congregating there in order to pass through it. That's where the shooting can happen.

And that's the biggest challenge for the NFL, in any situation like this. It's one thing to secure the interior of a stadium. At some point, there will be an unsecure area through which people must pass to get to the safe place.

In Kansas City, more than 800 law-enforcement officers were present. A mass shooting still happened.

The reality is that it can happen somewhere at the draft. It can happen in the parking lots prior to any NFL game. The NFL, frankly, has been fortunate that it didn't happen sooner than it did.

Case in point. From Super Bowl XLII, in Arizona: "A distraught Tempe man was within sight of the Super Bowl on Sunday with an assault rifle, but a change of heart kept him from unloading 200 rounds of ammunition on the crowd, court records show."

This is the world in which we live. More accurately, this is the country in which we live. There's no way to guarantee the safety and security of anyone, in any public place. And any specific measures aimed at hardening a target will inevitably include an area, somewhere, that is soft and potentially unsafe.

That's very dark and depressing. It's also completely and entirely true.

One of the risks you now assume when leaving your home in America is that you will get shot and killed at school, at church, at the store, at the movie theater, at a parade, or in any other place where we used to gather without constantly wondering when someone is going to start opening fire. Sports are not immune from that, as we learned four days ago.