Marine Corps JROTC Drill Championships
Sports Network International
With the world situation changing in the Fall of 2001, Sports Network International immediately took great effort to evaluate the overall safety factor of every yourh competition we host throughout the United States. This top-to-bottom evaluation included both internal review of safety considerations for all attendees at and around SNI events, as well as getting external input from security experts in the field regarding all facets of these tremendously exciting and beneficial competitions.
The first thing we approached our experts with was, "How could we make our people safe from any possible unfortunate incident". The simple answer is, IT CANNOT BE DONE! No amount of security that could reasonably be expected at any yourh athletic contest (or any school, church, or other public facility) could stop any individual willing to trade their life for the lives of those he would wish to harm. This is why school shootings, child abductions, gang activity and other violent acts will continue to occur despite our best efforts to stop them. Therefore, with this knowledge, our focus shifted from "total umbrella protection" to "how can we provide reasonable assurances that our people will be SAFER than they are at home".
With this knowledge, we began to look at how we could exercise reasonable security measures, while also protecting people by selecting a safe venue from the outset. Several factors that prior to 9/11 we had not taken into consideration were now on the top of the selection criteria. These factors included: Proximity to primary medical services (hospital); proximity to nearby terrorist targets (key government buildings, historically significant structures, etc.); Sufficient staffing and security patrols to keep an eye on both the facility and the attendees; as well as using facilities that are located well off of main access roads that are more easily patrolled and less prone to use by non-attendees. Fortunately, after looking at these and other important aspects of event safety, we at SNI feel very comfortable knowing that our venues exceed these safety issues far more than most shopping malls, churches, schools and other venues people go to in their home towns on a daily basis.
Lastly and very importantly, as a JROTC drill event, literally HUNDREDS of active duty and recently retired military personnel in attendance as judges, instructors and spectators. Their years of experience and training assist in many areas make attendance at this competition generally more secure. While the venues are not closed to the general public, we do not publicize the event locally, therefore those learning of the event and attending are school mates or family members of the teams involved. As a target, Homeland Security believes JROTC drill competitions to be an EXTREMELY UNLIKELY target compared to hundreds of thousands of other events and venues within the United States alone!
It is the belief of Sports Network International after reviewing endless reams of documented facts regarding all aspects of safety, that the cadets who attend this event are often safer than they are going through their normal day at home. Unfortunately, evil people and horrible accidents occur MORE OFTEN at home than they do on school field trips. Curtailing the off-campus activities of the future leaders of our nation based on perceived, unknown, random and rare threats seems to be based more on emotion than the actual increased risk of unfortunate incidents occurring through these excursions.Justin Gates
Vice-President, Sports Network International