This is a sad week in the country and the events industry. Last weekend, a total of seven active shooter incidents left a trail of death and destruction from California to Washington, D.C. Some of these attacks occurred at events. A gunman at Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California opened fire and killed three people—a six-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a 20-year-old man. More than 15 were injured. Police said the shooter bypassed metal detectors and security personnel by cutting through a fence.
The reality is that our events have become targets. While we need to continue to take every precaution and learn from each incident, we may have to come to terms with the fact that until we change the culture, security guards may not be enough. Anything can happen anywhere and we, unfortunately, have to be prepared to deal with it.
During difficult times like this, it is important to talk to each other about what we are doing, feeling and hearing. We excel at sharing best practices, thinking fast and being there to support each other. I am putting my hope in the strength of our event professional community and the resiliency that has served us so well in the face of tragedy. As the people responsible for the safety of our attendees and as citizens of the world, we have to do everything in our power to protect 6-year-olds—and everyone who trusts us to create a safe place to come together.