After Vegas Shooting, It’s Time to Take Private Security Seriously, by Ryan McMaken

What is the responsbility of venues where terrorist acts could potentially take place for security? From Ryan McMaken at

In the wake of the Aurora Theater shooting, I suggested that private sector establishments ought to be expected to be more concerned about the safety of their customers. In the case of the Aurora Theater, this was magnified by the fact that the theater was a “gun free zone” and did not allow patrons to carry their own firearms as self defense. At the same time, the theater owners themselves couldn’t be bothered with taking even the most rudimentary steps against allowing a gunman to casually carry multiple weapons from his car into one of the theater’s back doors.

The issue came up again with the Orlando shooting in 2016, when the perpetrator simply walked into a private establishment with a rifle and started shooting. Again, we find ourselves with a situation in which the owners of a private establishment refused to take simple steps such as checking entrances for people with rifles, or employing reasonably well-trained security personnel to be present inside the club.

I wasn’t the only one to suggest that maybe, just maybe, private establishments such as the Orlando nightclub and the Aurora Theater may share some responsibility in preventing violence on their own premises. 

In response to this position, numerous commentators — mostly conservative and libertarian — took the position that it is outrageous to expect private owners to take steps to prevent events like these. At the time, I noted Reason magazine’s response as representative of this type of thinking:

Reason magazine has … hopped on the bandwagon of pre-emptively and unconditionally absolving the theater owners of any possible responsibility. Reason writer Lenore Skenazy claims that a focus on worst-case scenarios is “worst-first thinking” and that such thinking “promotes constant panic. The word for that isn’t prudence. It’s paranoia.”

In other words, Skenazy’s position is that private owners should simply assume terrible things won’t happen and proceed accordingly. If bad things do happen, then let’s all just throw our hands in the air and declare “who woulda thunk?”

To continue reading: After Vegas Shooting, It’s Time to Take Private Security Seriously



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