Scared of Sochi

If there was a website that did nothing but publish journalists hard luck stories from Sochi, I’d be on it a dozen times a day. No doorknobs. No floors. Toilets that won’t flush toilet paper. Yellow water. Digital hacking so thorough, NBC’s Richard Engel had his cellphone compromised in under a minute!

You can’t make this stuff up–though it’s not unexpected.

Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, is a victim of a type of government that favors ‘every man for himself’ thinking. It is a country which has watched the most dishonest among its populace become the most wealthy and where gaming the system is a national pastime.

That the Sochi infrastructure was built half-assed is, again, no surprise. Overseers who were supposed to insure a well planned outcome had other priorities. Police are corrupt. Inspectors are corrupt. Government officials are corrupt. Every hand is out!

So, we’ll all spend the next few weeks laughing at Sochi’s inadequacies, until something major goes wrong. I am scared that will be terrorist related. CNN reports most Americans feel there will be a terrorist attack at the Sochi Olympics.

The central Russian government has many enemies among its own citizens. Rebels who are powerless socially and politically often see violence as their only viable option.

Starting from the end of the 20th century, significant terrorist activity has taken place in Moscow, most notably apartment bombings and the Moscow theater hostage crisis. Many more acts of terrorism have been committed in Chechnya, Dagestan, and other parts of the country. Some of them became a matter of significant controversy, since journalists and scholars claimed them to be directed by the Russian secret services, often through their Chechen agent provocateurs. – Wikipedia

Will terrorists attack the games? I am petrified the answer is, yes.

The State Department issued a memo to athletes, reported in the Wall Street Journal.

“The U.S. Department of State has advised that wearing conspicuous Team USA clothing in non-accredited areas may put your personal safety at greater risk.”

I never shied away from New York City after 9/11. I understood the risks and felt them minimal. If offered the chance to attend these games, I would pass.