Wednesday, May 23, 2012

RIP Thunder Alley, Maybe...

"Gunfire that left at least eight people wounded and a pregnant woman injured is prompting Oklahoma City officials and the Oklahoma City Thunder to re-evaluate the watch party held during playoffs outside Chesapeake Energy Arena."


There's always some dick weed that has to ruin a good time.

"Thunder Alley originally was an occasional pregame party that included interactive games, concessions, and merchandise. It began three hours before tipoff and would shut down once the game started.

During this year's playoffs, a watch party was added and fans were invited to bring chairs and blankets to Thunder Alley to view the game on a new video display board (74 feet tall by 20 feet wide) that was mounted on the northwest side of Chesapeake Arena during recent renovations to the facility."

I was in Thunder Alley with some friends the other night watching the Thunder send the Lakers packing along with an estimated 6,000 fans packed into roughly a one block area. It was a pandemonium. Luckily we left the area early to avoid traffic and missed out on the violence that happened after the game. Even if we had stayed we were parked well west of Bricktown to be involved or even near by. Speculation is swirling as to whether or not the shooting had anything to do with the NBA playoffs and the watch party. I've heard many rumors including that the incident was completely separate or that the shooting was the result of OKC fans taunting a Lakers fan. In the end I guess it doesn't really matter. It looks like the city is going to shut down the watch party portion of the festivities at the very least.

So what went wrong?

Supposedly the city had an added police force in the area, a force I didn't feel was present walking through the throng with the exception of a police watch tower added to the mix.

Why is it that the city can provide a relatively safe environment during Opening Night (New Years Eve) with an estimated group of 100,000 people but not do the same with a group of 6,000?

The younger crowd mixed with alcohol probably didn't help matters. There was a beer garden area selling drinks as well ice chests all over the place. It seemed to me that everyone had a beer in hand. The prospects of having a beer before the next game look bleak now even if they cancel the watch party portion of Thunder Alley.

Finally I wonder what could've happened if our open carry law was in effect on Monday. Not that the shooting wouldn't have occurred but maybe it would be worse with some idiot gun owner trying to be a hero, causing more injuries. The law was recently signed by our Governor and goes into effect on November 1st.

Just some thoughts to chew on. What was really a great event for OKC and Thunder fans has just turned into a big turd. Welcome to the big leagues OKC! If this had been the NBA finals would fans be expected to riot, loot, and turn over cars? An arrest has been made in the shootings and hopefully it will come to light that it had nothing to do with a silly basketball game. I'd hate to think that OKC has joined a long and pathetic list of fans that act like fools after a sporting event.

Edit: oh and by the way, no one got shot up this weekend at the Gay Pride parade which had a much bigger turnout. Just saying...

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