Lessons Learned from the death of Christina Grimmie
The death of Christina Grimmie displays fully a problem that has been occurring in event security for quite some time; poor decision making on behalf of promoters and entertainers alike in choice of security personnel and protocol. It certainly is understandable. Promoters promote, entertainers entertain. The world of security and threat assessment are foreign concepts to them, which is fine. The hiring and promotion of professional security services during performances is a not only a financially sound business practice, it is the right thing to do.
While little information on exactly what happened in Orlando after the Christina Grimmie performance has been released, what we do know is that a shooter entered into close proximity to her in an area away from the stage carrying two pistols, two spare magazines and a large hunting knife, then shot and killed her then himself. A CNN article on the subject stated that no metal detectors were present, and that the security was “unarmed”. These statements show a fundamental lack of understanding of even the appropriate questions to ask. The question is not “Why couldn’t the security engage the attacker in a firefight?” It is quite concerning that no one seems to have spoken with the promoters or Ms. Grimmie about any stalkers or unusual contacts by aggressive fans. Security Professionals know the questions to ask to bridge the gap between the entertainers lack of knowledge and/or their perception of the risks to allow them to provide the protection required. Another question is; “Why were all the pre-incident indicators missed that this man attended the event with the intent to attack Christina Grimmie?” Pre-incident indicators are rarely missed by competent security personnel. If your security personnel cannot discuss pre-incident indicators with you at length comfortably, it is time to evaluate your security personnel. A lack of layered security is also of deep concern. Long before her assailant got within striking distance of Christina Grimmie, he should have been wanded at a minimum.
Brad Pitt comes to mind as another assault on an entertainer which shows a lack of security protocol and knowledge within the industry. While his incident certainly does not compare to the tragedy that befell Christina Grimme, Brad Pitt’s assault at the ‘Maleficent’ premiere shows how woefully unprepared the security personnel were in that instance as well. While proper experience and training greatly reduces the chances that an attack will occur in the first place, knowing exactly what to do and exactly who will do what in the event an attack does occur is vital and this lack of planning is on full display in this instance.
Brad Pitt was not evacuated even after he was attacked. Pitt’s security personnel became solely focused on fighting the attacker, leaving him standing unguarded for all practical purposes. Proper security comes with a plan of escape. Talk to your security personnel. If they cannot properly explain these plans to you, then it is time to evaluate your security. Skydas Group International can solve these issues. We can provide security personnel adequately trained and experienced to deal with the threats that face the entertainment industry today. We can also evaluate your security personnel to find any deficiencies they may have, then offer a custom tailored training program to ensure that those deficiencies are addressed and corrected.