Paul Barrett at Business Week has weighed in on the Aurora theater shooting. I was pleased with what I didn’t see but expected. In the past and as recently as last Friday he as pushed for a 10 round maximum on magazine capacity. This is despite me showing him a video of me shooting 35 rounds in less that 16 seconds with 10 round magazines.
In his most recent editorial he suggests something else:
If you really want to stop mass shootings in public places, demand that owners of movie theaters, supermarkets, playgrounds, and you-name-the-venue hire armed security guards to keep watch for people dressed in body armor and carrying weapons. We know how to do this. We do it at airports. It’s not foolproof: Remember the would-be underwear bomber and the shoe bomber, stopped not by X-ray machines but by their own incompetence and alert fellow passengers? Still, rent-a-cops are a step toward greater security. Heck, every major professional sports venue checks fans for outside alcohol and weapons. Why couldn’t every movie theater?
If there had been a guard at every door of the multiplex in Aurora, the killer would not have been able to stroll out and back in through the emergency exit. This mass killing would not have taken place.
Barrett is a smart guy and acknowledges it’s not foolproof. Obviously the security guards are wearing “shoot me first uniforms”. There is a reason Air Marshals are always in plain clothes. But this obvious loophole in the idea is not the biggest problem. The problem is economics. Since Occupy Wall Street did their thing last fall with ground zero Seattle being across the street from where I work the sidewalks and lobbies of many of building have unarmed security guards. What does it cost for one security guard per year? I can’t imagine that after all the overhead it would be less that $50K/year. Add training and equipping guards and insurance for what probably would be higher risks would probably add another $5K per year.
Does anyone think every playground, market, and theater is going to be able to afford that?
But the suggestion is a step in the right direction. If people accept the concept it’s a smaller step to accept “volunteer” security guards wearing plain clothes. Signs stating “Concealed Carry Welcomed Here” and discounts for people open carrying might be a bigger deterrent than the unaffordable, easily defeated, uniformed security guards.