North Texas Daily

Venues need better security to keep us safe

Venues need better security to keep us safe

June 20
21:26 2016

Morgan Sullivan | Staff Writer

@sadsquadch

After singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed in Orlando on June 10, many people blamed gun violence. People are skittish to place the blame on one underlying issue: venue security.

Since age 14, I have attended concerts on a regular basis. I have been in venues as large as AT&T Stadium and Gexa Energy Pavilion, as well as venues that hold no more than 20 to 30 people. I have lost count of how many shows I’ve been to, but my guess would be upward of 100.

Shows have always been safe space. For a few hours, I get lost in the music with the people around me. It’s comforting to know I am surrounded by like-minded people who need an escape from the terrifying world outside. I met many of my friends at shows and always felt like venues were my second home.

However, in the past six years, I can remember only a handful of times when the security guards vigorously searched my bags. I have seen people sneak in anything from flasks and drugs to prohibited food. By storing these items in zipper pockets or hidden parts of a bag, this so-called contraband is easily snuck into most venues.

Just a few weeks ago, I snuck into a show. After showing up to find the show was sold out, I did some quick thinking and managed to walk through a side door and disappear into the crowd. Although I’m not proud of this moment, I found a real problem with venue security. If I could easily sneak myself into this venue, who knows what could be coming through those doors.

If you aren’t entering the venue with a bag, you’re given a pat-down. There are very few, if any, venues that use any kind of metal detection technology. Combining this information with the fact that most mass shootings are carried out by men, venues are putting their patrons at risk by not frisking everyone walking through the doors.

One of the arguments made after Grimmie was shot was that it was a pop show with kids in attendance, and security didn’t “expect anything like this to happen.”  If I have learned anything from the news lately, it’s that these things aren’t to be expected. Shootings and violence occur in every city, state and neighborhood.

It doesn’t matter if the audience was mostly 14-year-old girls. The venue is expected to keep both the artists and the fans safe. No one expects these things to happen, but there are ways you can prepare for the worst.

Unfortunately, in the state our country is in, businesses have to step up and make sure that customers are safe. Peace of mind isn’t something that comes easily these days. Whether it’s metal detection or more security guards, there isn’t a concrete answer on how things should get better.

However, it’s important that venues try to make things safer. By choosing to do nothing, we are sitting ducks. There may not be a solution right away, but there’ll never be one if we don’t hold venues accountable.

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