Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bizarre WFTV segment calls Lake Eola a terrorist 'soft target'

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 3:27 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett
Following Monday's bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K., local television station WFTV stated in an extraordinary segment, that on any given day, downtown's Lake Eola Park could be a target for terrorists.

In the segment, "Security expert breaks down safety at Orlando venues, parks," WFTV's Karla Ray calls upon security expert Zach Hudson to point out that the bridge in International Plaza at Lake Eola has multiple choke points, therefore it's a terrorist "soft target."

“These are all choke points. You have hundreds of people who would pass through a particular area like that. That’s a choke point,” said Hudson to WFTV.  

Here's the bridge Hudson is referring to:
According to Hudson, other possible Orlando terrorist soft targets include the theme parks, the Amway Center, Orlando City Soccer Stadium, and Church Street– pretty much every Orlando destination that's fun.

Now, a soft target is defined as "a person or thing that is relatively unprotected or vulnerable, especially to military or terrorist attack," meaning you could argue that almost any place and any thing could be a "soft target" if you label it as such.

While the segment suggests that extra security measures should be put in place at local venues – like screening people before they even park their car at events, and that you should be constantly aware/paranoid of things like trash cans – no tangible advice is given for preventing attacks in public places like Lake Eola.

This raises the question, what's the point of this story? I can't speak for WFTV, but one could argue the reason this piece exists rhymes with "beer mongering." Essentially, all we can take away from this segment is that terrorists love crowds, anyone could be a "terrorist," and don't go out in public.

Look, it's par for the course for local media to localize a major story, but there's a fine line between giving context to a tragedy, and sensationalizing it to the point you're just trying to scare people from walking around a musical fountain.

Maybe we should just let people enjoy the park for what it is before we start installing metal detectors at the Sunday farmers market.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 12, 2022

View more issues


© 2022 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation