Disaster at Hilshire

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					11 Feb 1997
Soc 313
Film Review 2

Disaster at Hillsborough


Summary
      The movie "Disaster at Hillsborough" showed the complexity of a
stampede.
From the build-up of people outside the gate, to the disaster that ended
in the death of 95
people.
      The film started out outside the stadium where 95 people died at a
soccer game.
The stadium was not equipped for the masses of people to show up all at
the same place at
the same time. According to the officer interviewed there was no plan in
case of an
emergency and no problems anticipated. The atmosphere outside the gates
was pleasant
and people were looking forward to a good game. The stampede started
when the people
in the rear realized that the game was to start before they were going to
get in. The
stampede could possibly been averted if the kickoff were delayed but the
man "in charge"
refused to delay. Just as at the "Who" concert the people in the rear of
the line were in an
acquisitive panic to get into the stadium. This pressure was recognized
by the police in
the front of the line and due to poor communication nothing could be done
to stop it. A
large gate "gate C" was finally opened to let off the pressure in front.
This is when the
true disaster occurred. People funneled straight onto the already full
pens and created the
stampede which killed the 95 people. People in the rear were in an
acquisitive panic and
the people in the front who were getting crushed were in a fearful panic.
The emergency
gates would open but the police, not realizing the situation, kept people
in and closed the
gates.


Critique
      This example could not be anymore perfect to show a stampede and
panic. All
four components were met. (1) Partial entrapment; the reality is
complete entrapment.
As at the Who concert the only avenue of escape was blocked by the
police. (2)
Perceived threat; this comes from both ends of the panic. The people at
the rear were
threatened by the fact that they would miss the kickoff of the game or
even not be able to
get into the game. The people at the front were facing the threat of
being crushed. (3)
The partial breakdown of escape routs is obvious from the front. The
gates to get out
were blocked by the police and there was a high fence blocking everyone
on all sides
except the tunnel which was blocked by people trying to get into the
pens. (4) Front to
rear communications breakdown occurred when the people at the fence
realized the
situation and could not communicate it to the people at the rear to keep
the people from
crowding up the tunnel. The biggest thing that caused this disaster was
the failure of
control by police and the communication breakdown.
Personal Reflection
      I see a correlation between this stampede and the riot in L.A. in
that the leadership
failed. The chief at Hillsborough froze and lost his capacity to control
the situation. In
L.A. the chief also lost his capacity of control. In both situations
there was no plans for
emergency procedures. In L.A. the police were undertrained and in
Hillsborough there
was just no plan in case something went wrong. The saddest part about
these disasters is
that they could possibly been prevented