Alert Level:Orange. Protect the malls against seniors!

Not an earth shattering rant. More of another in a long progression of annoyances related to the alert levels.

Our local malls (like I’m guessing most local malls) have traditionally opened their doors earlier than actual store openings. They do this so that folks can go and walk the malls.

It’s a nice indoor place to walk if you’re a senior citizen. Many post operative heart patients walk there as well. When my wife was in labor in July of 2001, it was too muggy to walk outside so we schlepped over to the air conditioned mall to walk before heading to the hospital (freaked out a few of the seniors to see a woman in the early stages of labor pause every few minutes to ride out a contraction…but thats another story).

Anywho…early morning walking in the malls will no longer be allowed.


The mind truly boggles.

Yes the mall provides a service that they don’t have to provide. Yes they have every right to choose the hours that they are open…

What kind of threat is being averted here?

Does anyone at Simon Property Groups have an iota of common sense?

(fwiw, my hometown is in middle America…a metro area of about 350,000)

“What kind of threat is being averted here?”

Planting a bomb, poisoning food vendors, sabotage, planting a chemical or biological weapon, etc.

Obviously, if they continue allowing access to the mall several hours earlier than it opens, they would have to pay for heightened security. But since the mall wouldn’t be open yet, they wouldn’t be making any money to pay for the extra security. People always want something for nothing.

Yeah sure. I imagine the “terrorist threat” in Iowa must be pretty high. Especially with all those old folks walking around the mall unsupervised. Would be hard to spot Osama in that crowd.


Well, I predict that Simon Property Group is very shortly going to find that it’s in the center of a real shitstorm. The whole point of opening the mall earlier for Mallwalkers is for advertising and good public relations–once people are in the mall, they’re much more likely to buy something. At Hickory Point Mall, where I walk, Mrs. Fields, Kohl’s, and the Coffee Grinder are usually open by 8 a.m., Baskin-Robbins usually opens at 8:30 (depending on when the girl gets there), and there are people buying stuff that early, too.

And people are more likely to make the mall their shopping choice later in the day, if they’ve seen something interesting in the windows. You gotta get the people in the mall, is the rationale.

It’s not just seniors who walk, either. At Hickory Point there’s a sizeable contingent of under-65 white-collar workers who stop by on their way to work, and stay-home moms with strollers who walk in teams of two and three. The place is jammed when the weather’s bad.

So, yep, whoever made the decision at Simon is very soon going to need a large industrial-size umbrella and some hip waders. That’s a lot of purchasing power to be sending down the street to the Other Mall.

And, there’s a limit to how long TPTB can keep invoking “But there are terrorists out there!” to rationalize all their decisions. Dunno how things are in the Hawkeye State, but here in the Land O’ Lincoln everybody’s getting just a wee bit burned out on terrorist alerts. I think the nadir was when they told us to go buy duct tape and plastic wrap, and we did. And nothing happened.

The Afghan Boyfriend strikes again…

And when regular news releases make me automatically bring up Snopes in another window, that’s when you know they’ve reached some kind of limit. What price the “almanac alert”?

So what are you saying? We should only worry about New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, and the rest of the country doesn’t need to worry about anything?:confused: Terrorism never happens in the midwest, does it? -cough, cough, OKLAHOMA cough, cough - If something bad did happen in that mall, you know the exact same people would be bitching about “why didn’t they take any precautions”?

Think about what you would have been saying a few years ago: “Yeah, sure. Like somebody’s gonna highjack 4 airplanes simultaneously with boxcutters and crash 3 of them into buildings without anyone stopping them.”

I’m just as much against hysteria as the next person, but merely deciding not to unlock the doors of the mall before it’s even open just doesn’t seem so horribly unreasonable to me.

blowero Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Oklahoma is a bad example for you to use. Domestic terrorism can strike anywhere at anytime. You seriously think it would be any harder for someone to walk in the mall when it’s open and plant bombs, poisons, etc.? I think it would be easier to get away with it with people there. You can’t possibly be suggesting our mall cops are on top of the terrorist situation? Can you?

Other then Oklahoma, can you name another incident of that nature? No? Besides, someone determined to commit such an act would be more likely to do it when the mall is actually open and has people in it. Parking a truck full of explosives in front of a mall can’t possibly be prevented by not opening the mall early. The airline hijackings and subsequent use of those planes as missles won’t happen again. People will not sit by and let it happen knowing what happened last time. If you were on a plane tomorrow and it was hijacked, would you just calmly sit there saying “It’s ok, they’re just gonna land in Havana and we’ll all be safe after that.” That’s precisely why the plane that crashed in PA didn’t make it. Those people realized what was happening and tried to prevent it. It’s sad they had to give their lives doing it but they did prevent that plane from making it to its planned destination. God rest their souls.

And just for the record, unlike many people that blame the various intelligence agencies for those tragedies, I blame the airlines. Ask yourself this: Why could what happened on 9/11 not happen on El Al? Doors anyone? And yet, our airlines still do not have impenetrable doors. That is a tragedy in and of itself. Aside from the fact it could have prevented 9/11 it could also prevent all hijackings.

So, blowero, I humbly disagree with you.

Originally posted by blowero
If something bad did happen in that mall, you know the exact same people would be bitching about “why didn’t they take any precautions”?

And not letting the mall walkers walk you serioulsy think is a “precaution” that could prevent something from happening? I fail to see how.

One more thing. Yes, I do believe most of our efforts to fight these terrorist should be focused on large metropolitan areas. Those are the most likely targets.

It is inevitable that one day another tragedy will happen, or at least come close to happening. Possible a nuke will be smuggled in. Hopefully, if our resources are focused correctly it will be prevented.

Thoughts like that make me glad I live in Arkansas now instead of Dallas.

For those in the know, what effect on the Liability insurance would it have for these malls to not let walkers in early?

and it’s not like terrorists who want to plant a bomb in a mall are going to be put off because they can’t go in early.

FTR, Decatur at least (pop. 86,000 and the home of grain processing megagiant Archer Daniels Midland) is officially–we have the word of the local chief of police for it–not a terrorist target. Someone asked him last week for the local paper what sort of precautions they were implementing down at the Decatur Airport for the holidays, and his response was, basically, “None. Decatur’s not a target.”

By the rather paranoid PTB rationale–“public places are terrorist targets”–every public place should be closed down unless it can staff a fully armed contingent of National Guardsmen. Which just isn’t practical, or sensible. You can’t lock down the entire United States, every mall, every church, every bridge. You can’t live your life like that.

And anyway, I predict that this will soon be moot, because in the middle of the night I recollected the Evergreen Mall flap.

It’s only a matter of time before sticky brown stuff starts accumulating down at Simon Property Management.

Because it’s not just the seniors who are PO’ed.

See? That’s exactly what I was saying–it’s not just seniors, and that’s a lot of purchasing power that’s going to be busy writing letters and sending angry e-mails.

Oh, I see - that’s different, huh?:rolleyes: I suppose shrapnel doesn’t hurt when it comes out of a domestic bomb. The anthrax mailer was most likely an example of domestic terrorism, yet it happened to follow 9/11 pretty closely. I don’t think that was a coincidence. Actually, I’m not even sure what your point is; do you think we should make a distinction between “domestic” and “foreign” terrorism? Should we have different alert levels for the 2? Hmmm…all malls in the midwest are at Orange, but all malls on either coast are at Red? This is the whole problem with people’s response to terrorism - it’s reactive rather than proactive. You forget that a terrorist is not likely to try the exact same thing again. Someone highjacks a plane with box cutters, so we start confiscating boxcutters. Then someone puts an explosive in his shoe, so we start searching everyone’s shoes. It’s fucking ridiculous, and you’re buying into that whole mentality; apparently we have to wait until someone bombs a shopping mall in the midwest before we take even the simplest precaution. Not only that, but apparently we have to wait until an Arab guy bombs a mall in the midwest; since you seem to think bombings don’t count if a white guy does it.

You miss the point. When you open the mall doors early, you have to have security to watch the mall, and you have to pay them for that. Why should they have to pay for that when the freaking stores aren’t even open yet? If they just unlock the doors and don’t have anyone watching the mall, then yes, I absolutely think it would be easier to plant something.

You think it would be easier to plant a bomb with a lot of people watching you. Interesting. All I can say is I disagree.

And your point is…?

So you rail against airlines for not taking precautions, and you rail against mall owners when they do take precautions. Nice.

Oh, that’s a cute way to word it. The “mall walkers” have nothing to do with it; you’re just using that as a red herring. I would phrase it like this: “Not leaving the mall unlocked when it’s not open for business could prevent something from happening.” If you really believe that nothing bad could possibly happen by leaving a place unlocked, then I would ask you why any buildings have locks on their doors at all.

But your position seems to be not that we should just focus on those areas, but that the midwest ought not to take even the simplest of precautions. We’re not talking about sending half the National Guard to Iowa; we’re talking about only opening a mall an hour early instead of several hours early. Ooooh, those evil bastards! How DARE they only open the mall one hour early.

Boy, we’ve got enough red herrings to make soup now. Please tell me exactly what resources have been diverted away from the fight against terrorism by Simon Property Group’s decision.:rolleyes:

Los Angeles, circa 1970. The bomb in that case supposedly would have made the one in OKC look like a firecracker but fortunately it didn’t detonate. I believe it was caught in time because the nut parked his truck in front of a fire station.

Also in Reno, 17 December 1995 but that too was unsuccessful.

Alert my ass. I heard the speeches after 9/11 that talked aobut how terrorists weren’t going to change the American way of life.

Right they were, it’s my government doing it.

Homeland Security my ass. They should call it the “Let’s instill as much fear as possible Agency.” That “almanac” memo is a perfect example. That should/could have been part of routine LEO training (Along with a number of other examples) now that the threat of terrorism is a part of their daily job.

And, some simple guidance for citizens is sufficient. WTF, I am suppose to relax if the threat level goes down, I don’t think so.
I have been on this planet for over 1/2 century and I am not comforted by the Bush administration’s security policies and “threat levels.”

As far as “Simon and Simon Property Security” goes, that’s just another off-shoot of this BS; some idiot “making a decision” in the “best interests of the organization” - I hope the company goes broke.

For some reason, I suspect there might be a little political motivation in all this shit. (IMO)

There were also the Olympic park bombing incident (domestic terrorist), and various bombings by radicals/protesters during the Vietnam War, including one at the University of Wisconsin in 1970 by war protesters, which caused extensive damage to the building it was in.

Some of the official story about the latest reason for the increased alert included threats to less populated areas, as well, so don’t assume you’re totally safe. If Al’Qaeda or any other terrorist group, domestic or foreign, really wanted to freak out this country, all they’d have to do is blow up something in some Midwestern or prairie state, and watch everyone who’s not in a big city lose that complacency damned quick.

If a mall’s management thinks that the increased security costs due to larger security forces during a “closed” time period just aren’t worth it, that’s their prerogative - though if they get protesters, they might change their minds. And if they’re not foolish enough to think “nothing could happen here,” then good for them.

Well. Blowero, if anybody sends the National Guard to Iowa they are going to have to send somebody else’s since the better part of the Iowa National Guard is in Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan, or Saudi Arabia or enroute to one of those places.

The problem is telling the difference between any risk and an unreasonable risk. The risk presented by allowing the general population to wander around malls before the various stores open is pretty minimal but surely appears unreasonable to people who tend to look under their beds every night for burglars, and people whose employment depends on their ability to perceive risk (here insert joke about snapping fingers to keep the elephants away). If you are paid to find risks and you fail to find a new one every week then somebody may think that you aren’t doing your job or that your job is not worth doing. That some one whose job requires him to perceive a risk does not mean that the risk he sees is unreasonable or anything more than conjectural.

It is worth noting that before 9/11 it was not generally seen as an unreasonable risk to allow airplane passengers to carry pocket knives, at least in the US. Before 9/11, in the face of ten or twenty years of airplane highjackings, is was not regarded as reasonably prudent to lock the doors to the cockpit despite the fact that the unlocked door gave anybody access to the controls. We had all gotten use to the idea that all highjackers wanted was a trip to Cuba or Libya. Apparently the powers that be had decided that it was safer to deal with highjackers on the ground. I suppose the parallel theory is that you are better off not to resist a rapist–which in general is true, but not in the case of a homicidal rapist. Now the guys in charge see fingernail files as too dangerous to allow on a flight. I am somewahat supprised that ball point pens are still permitted.

The idea is that it is reasonable to inundate Times Square with police for the New Year’s Eve blow out but that it is unreasonable to exclude exercise walkers from a mall in Davenport, Iowa, because there is a perceivable risk of a terror attack in both places. The places are different and the level of risk is different. In one time and place the risk is substantial while in the other it is not. If we can’t tell the difference then we all ought to get in bed, cover our heads and stay there.

First of all, the “mall walkers” are not being excluded from the mall; they simply have one hour before the mall opens instead of several hours. Everyone is still free to walk in the mall to their heart’s content; they’re just not gonna open the doors quite as early. I agree with you that the risk of a terror attack in Times Square is greater than the risk in Davenport, Iowa (duh), and to inundate the mall with as many police as were posted in Times Square would be a little ridiculous. But that’s not what they did, is it? It’s apples & oranges. So while we’re on the subject of “being able to tell the difference”, might I suggest you work on the difference between a major police presence and not unlocking the doors to a mall quite so early before it opens.

I’ve never really understood the reason why malls opened their doors to mallwalkers at 7 AM when most or all of the stores didn’t open until 9 or 10. I’d think that opening the mall MAYBE an hour early would generate some good will…but then, I don’t run malls. I can understand a mall wanting to discourage mallwalking during actual business hours, back when I went malling I hated the mallwalkers who seemed determined to steamroller anyone in their paths.

I think it would be…interesting…if the malls charged a nominal fee for early morning entrance. I’m not sure that mallwalkers DO actually shop at the malls they walk in.

Some stores in our mall are open earlier than others, too.
I wonder how early Security would be there, previous to workers coming in?
Wouldn’t it be better for Security to keep an eye on suspicious activity when it ISN’T so crowded?
I never understood driving to the mall, just for exercise, but then we aren’t close enough to make it worth it, either.