Imagine attending a concert of one of your favorite bands. Imagine rocking out for the entire show, singing along and having the time of your life. Then imagine yourself hanging out after the show ends, waiting to meet them. Finally, while you’re standing there, imagine hearing a gun shot out of nowhere and seeing someone get shot in front of you, or even worse, getting shot yourself.
Last night, a lone gunman came to a concert and shot the singer, Christina Grimmie, a musician who got her start on YouTube and also competed on the Voice. She was touring with a band, Before You Exit, and this was their stop in Orlando. All she was doing was signing autographs and taking pictures with fans when the gunman (who had not one, but TWO guns) came up and shot her. He then turned the gun on himself. Christina died early in the morning at the tender age of 22.
I saw Christina in 2011, opening for Selena Gomez. I also used to be a fan of Before You Exit, and have seen them twice, as well as interviewing them. My best friend Kaitlyn is a HUGE fan of them. This really hits close to home, especially when it’s at a concert.
Security absolutely needs to get better at doing their jobs. I would rather be safe than have to worry the entire time I’m at a concert if someone is going to take out a gun and start shooting. I don’t care what it takes. Start searching everyone’s bag, no matter how small. Have someone open their jacket to make sure nothing is concealed. Even if someone has a gun permit, guns should not be at concerts! Concert venues are quick to confiscate a water bottle because it might have alcohol in it, but a gun somehow gets inside? It doesn’t make sense to me.
I wrote a blog post about security at concert venues last year after the attacks in Paris, and I would link it to you, but frankly it’s 7 am and I’m writing this on my phone. (EDIT: I’m on a computer now, so the link is here). So here’s the thing:
Concerts are meant to be safe havens, for both the musicians and fans. Going to a concert means you can see your favorite artist live and enjoy their music. You can let loose and have fun and not have to worry about what’s going on in your personal life, just for a few hours. That’s why I love concerts so much. But concerts aren’t going to be like that anymore if we don’t get some type of control so we no longer have to worry if someone’s going to start shooting up the place.
To venues who don’t check bags: START DOING IT. I’ve been to at least 8 different concert venues in just Massachusetts and I only know 3 who actually check bags, two of them being stadiums/arenas. I want security to check my bag. I want security to check everyone’s bag and clothes, and I don’t care how long it takes. If an extra hour of waiting in line means I can enjoy myself without worry all night, I’m okay with it. Stop busting the girls who bring in a water bottle to prevent dehydration and start checking more thoroughly. I have seven concerts this summer, and while most of them are all at the large venues, I still have anxiety in the back of my head that there’s going to be another shooting in the future and it could be at my concert
Events like this shouldn’t happen at all, and they’re now happening a lot more than ever. I am so unbelievably sorry, and still in shock that Christina passed away at such a young age when she had so much ahead of her. I also want to thank Before You Exit, who ran to tell fans to get out of there and risked their lives as well.
I want to be safe at one of my favorite places in the world, but that’s not going to happen if nothing changes.