Region must be proactive in dealing with terrorism
In this age, where maniacs use vehicles to kill and maim as many people as possible in the name of Allah, it was hard not to think of that as I attended the Allentown Art Festival last weekend. What I saw was an alarmingly lax security situation.
While both ends of Delaware Avenue were obstructed by fire trucks, neither end was completely blocked and anyone of such a mind would have been able to penetrate these barriers. Not only that, but several streets that intersect with Delaware, such as Edward Street and Trinity Place, had no obstructions at all. The same was true of the intersection of North and Franklin streets. Franklin had vendors on it as well, so hundreds of people were potentially exposed.
I recognize the security challenges the layout of the festival poses, but difficult should not equal impossible. With events like the Taste of Buffalo, Canal Fest, the Lewiston Jazz Festival and countless others to come, law enforcement in Western New York needs a paradigm shift. It was once unthinkable that planes would be used as missiles or that vehicles would become a means of mass murder. What I saw on Saturday was exactly what these fanatics are looking for – namely, a soft target. Lest anyone think “it can’t happen here,” remember the Lackawanna Six, one of the first terrorist cells prosecuted in the U.S. after 9/11. Shock and surprise are reactions from the ill-prepared.
Joseph P. Brignone