Archive for December 3rd, 2021

No Escape Plan 

It is a good thing we have the Houston Chronicle.  If we want to know what happened at the Astroworld concert, we are going to get the truth from the Chronicle.  Not from the folks in charge for now.   

Chron reporters Zach Despart, Samantha Ketterer, Julian Gill, and St. John Barned-Smith pull back the covers in a story called “No Escape Plan.” Here is a taste from their article on that tragic evening: 

9:38 P.M. 

Fire Chief Sam Peña said the HFD declared a mass casualty event. One minute later, the department dispatched 16 units to the venue. 

At this time, HPD Assistant Chief Larry Satterwhite said police, aware that several fans had collapsed and needed CPR, informed festival promoters that the show needed to end. Satterwhite said the promoters agreed. But police made a critical call to leave this decision in the hands of the festival management. 

(HPD) Chief (Troy) Finner would later say his department lacked the power to halt the performance.

“The ultimate authority to end the show is with (the) production and the entertainer,” Finner said on Nov. 10. 

The city charter, however, charges the police department with keeping the peace in all public places. 

“Let’s say there’s a loud noise, or a scream; people can panic and rush. You can’t ultimately prevent that,” said former Mayor Annise Parker. “But once (the crush) happened, police had an absolute responsibility to take control of the situation and at the very least make sure rescue personnel could get where they needed to be and treat the injured.” Mayor Sylvester Turner did not comment for the story. 

The Astroworld operations plan gives two officials the authority to stop the show: the executive producer and festival director. But it also states that in emergencies, an incident command post will be activated under the command of the “local jurisdiction,” which the document defines as the Houston police and fire departments. 

Neither agency has produced any evidence festival executives took this step. 

Finner also would say later that he feared abruptly ending the show would have sparked a riot. There were several possible intermediate steps, however, that were not taken — including pausing the show for several minutes or ordering a partial evacuation of problem areas. 

Wow! Talk about failures in the systems and communications. 

Thank you, Houston Chronicle, and these four crack reporters. 

That is why I subscribe. It is a public service thing. 

On the MLB lockout, MLB teams put blank shaded images instead of the actual player photo next to their names on the roster page on team websites. Silly. All it does is make fans more cynical. MLB does stupid stuff. 

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