Sports Law • Risk Management

July 12, 2010: Thoughts on the Uganda Blast

Our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of the terrorist attacks that killed and injured fans watching the World Cup final in Uganda on Sunday. It is my understanding that the al-Quaida aligned group, al-Shabab, took responsibility for the killings that occurred at gatherings that took place at a restaurant and a rugby field.

When we watch the World Cup, the World Series, the Olympics or the Super Bowl in public places, we don’t expect that we may be putting ourselves in harm’s way. Unfortunately, large gatherings of people are potential terrorist targets. Crowd violence may also erupt at such venues.
Event planners should always consider security issues whenever a crowd is gathered. If you are attending such an event, it is prudent to be on the alert for any unusual behavior or unidentified objects that might signal that there is a potentially dangerous situation. Lives can be saved by timely evacuation.

Not long after 911, I noticed a man wearing a rain coat walking into the high rise building where I worked. Ordinarily, this would not be any cause for concern. However, the building is in Honolulu and no one ever wears a raincoat---even if it is raining. Although I did not think there was any real cause for concern, I decided to call security and alert them to the man’s strange attire. At the very least, security could talk to him or keep an eye on him. There was no bombing or shooting that day, but I’m sure if that man had a bomb strapped under his raincoat or firearms, my call to security could have saved lives.

The Uganda attacks are a wake up call. Remember to report any suspicious persons, activities or objects to security or police.