Musings on security theater

I’m pretty sure at some point here I’ve mentioned how much I hate security theater.  The supposed security they do at music venues is truly the worst.  I went to see Muse with my son David at PNC Pavillion in Charlotte (your typical outdoor concert venue) last night.  Great show.  I love Muse.  David loves Muse, so it was awesome to be able to share that with him.

Anyway, we were a little late getting into the show (would have liked to have seen unannounced opener, MISSIO) because of absurdly long security lines while they ran metal-detecting wands over every body and even did a little light frisking while you held your phone, keys, etc., in your hand.  This is so dumb.  I swear, you could easily hide a 6″ blade behind plenty of today’s larger cell phones and they’d never notice.  Also, just feeling under arm pits will never catch something in the small of the back or the groin area.  It’s all for pretend.  I suppose, some lawyers somewhere have determined that this is due diligence in security to avoid potential lawsuits.  Also, when some supervisor decided the lines were just too long, they stopped the frisking and were even more perfunctory with the wands.

So, either we need that stuff to be safe, or we don’t.  Hint: we don’t.  Anyway, the total lie that was the concert security theater was revealed after a lightning delay.  All those in lawn seats were told to return to their cars after the opening act.  After a 80 minute or so delay (actually kind of a fun communal experience being packed under the covered area of the pavilion while a storm blew 30 mph rain sideways over us), the arena announced that Muse would be coming on in 15 minutes.

How to let thousands of lawn seats holders back into the venue in just 15 minutes?  Easy.  Totally drop the pretense of security theater. I’m dead serious, if I lived near this venue, I’m pretty sure I would just follow this twitter account and waltz right into concerts (would have taken to long to re-check all the tickets and they could only be scanned once anyway) for free after storm delays.  Anyway, point is, apparently, after a thunderstorm, security doesn’t really matter.  You could have walked back in with a sawed-off shotgun and a ninja sword.  So, there’s two options here… 1) the pre-show security is truly just security theater and there’s actually absurdly low risk for letting people in with only the most perfunctory metal screening, or 2) thunderstorms magically remove security threats.

And, just because I’m writing about the show, I’ll mention that opening act, Thirty Seconds to Mars, features former actor Jared Leto and damn does he love to perform.  We were right behind the handicapped row and he came and sang to this teenage boy with cerebral palsy, who clearly loved it.

Image may contain: 11 people, people smiling, people on stage and crowd

Sorry, no good Muse photos.  But it was pretty much like this.  Nobody comes close to Muse for opening guitar riffs.

 

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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