Category Archives: terror attack

>REACT: Children’s museum or mausoleum?

>Even after 9/11, I have not been one to cower in fear. On the other hand, it is prudent to take whatever precautions seem reasonable.

I was reminded of this when officials of the Chicago Children’s Museum announced a new location for the facility. They would move it from Navy Pier to the north edge of Grant Park, near the Harris Theatre and Millennium Park.

Given the congestion in that area, and the Chicago tradition not to clutter the park (as Daniel Burnham advised), my initial reaction was negative. Seems to me that there are a lot better locations for this very excellent museum.

These concerns pale when you consider that the new site is just a bomb’s throw away form the Aon Building – an edifice that law enforcement officials often designate Chicago’s second mostly like terrorist target. The first is the Sears Tower, of course.

Gads! Had those good folks at the Museum even given this a thought? I think not, or the proposed location would have been eliminated at the onset. Fortunately, it is not to late.

I know. I know. The likelihood of a devastating attack on the Aon Building maybe be rather low. Maybe. Not sure how to even calculate that. But, it doesn’t matter. In a worse case scenario, Aon is close enough to come down on the Museum like a sledgehammer. Mayor Daley, himself, believes that section of the city has potential as a terrorist target. He said so when he demolished Meigs Field. Look at how the Aon Building has been fortified and security pumped up dramatically since 9/11. The Aon folks obviously recognize the danger. Since there is no compelling reason to put the Children’s Museum at what could be Chicago’s ground zero, why take any risk at all. Like I said, there are plenty of even better places to put it.

You may recall in my blog item of September 21, 2007, I proposed that the Museum be put on the south end of Grant Park, where there are no serious terrorist targets. But hey, that’s only my opinion. I am sure the Mayor and the people at the Museum can come up with any number of better, and safer, locations than in the shadow of that Aon Building.

Least you think I am making too much of the terrorist thing, let me tell you. My family was living in the Loop on 9/11. I still vividly recall the high anxiety (you might even say terror) my wife and I felt as we raced to retrieve our son from his school near the Sears Tower – even as we listened to news accounts (inaccurate, thank God) of a possible hijacked jet liner flying towards Chicago’s tallest building. It is not the kind of experience one forgets, and I see no reason to put other parents needlessly in that situation – ever.

I hope the good people in charge of relocating the Museum will not be so ego committed to their plan so as to put the children in harm’s way. Chicago’s children need a first-class museum, not a childen’s mausoleum.

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