Less than two weeks ago we were flooded with stories of how security of the Olympics was a grave concern and that the company (GS4) retained to hire and train security personnel was woefully understaffed. They originally were contracted to hire 2,000, but as security was evaluated, the number ballooned to 20,000. (Note: I've seen various figures here. I am not sure exactly what the total requirement is.) They fell short by roughly 3,500 persons and the government had to step in and bring in members of Army and local law enforcement to make up the difference.
West Midlands Police Federation chairman Ian Edwards said the situation was "chaos, absolute chaos."
On July 15th, the Mirror wrote "It's pathletic: Police and army seethe as G4S admits Olympic Games shambles."
As recently as July 18th, a writer for the UK's Guardian, Simon Hoggart, wrote "Olympic security boss couldn't plan a pig-out in a pie shop."
Also from the the Guardian on July 19th, writer Hugh Muir pens "Olympic fiasco. We'd name the guilty parties, but we'd run out of space."
Nick Buckles, the head of the G4S security firm that received an $89 million management fee to help police the Olympics, admitted the plan was "in shambles."
Ten days later, Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney visits London and uses the word "disconcerting" to describe the security situation at the Olympics.
Today's British headlines? "Party Pooper" -- The Daily Mail, "Nowhere Man" -- The Times of London, and "Mitt the Twit" -- The Sun.
I'm not an apologist for Mitt Romney. While I lean conservative I can't admit to being Mitt's biggest fan; however, I find these criticisms ridiculous in light of the security disaster news our heads were filled with only 10 days ago. Also, Presidential aspirations aside, Mitt's qualifications do permit him to be one of the few qualified politicians to question security measures at the Olympic Games. After all, he was the President and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics! A role that I assume came with significant responsibilities and scrupulous oversight requirements.
Maybe it's just the British media being, well, the British media.
That said, let the games begin and let's hope for a safe and successful London 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Mike Collins is a resident of Wauwatosa and works as a sales manager.