Monthly Archives: July 2012

Theater Security, not Security Theater

For obvious reasons, there has been a fair amount of discussion on the news and elsewhere about how to increase security in movie theaters.  While I am not a security expert, nor do I play one on the internet (except, perhaps right now), I do have some ideas that would increase theater security without creating “security theater.”

First, all doors, except for the front doors, should have monitored alarms.  If any of those doors are opened, the theater security team should be alerted – either by having someone constantly watching the alarm board, or by an automated notification over the radio network that any coordinated security team should be monitoring.  And, any time one of these doors is opened, security should respond to see if it was someone exiting out the back, someone or many people exiting due to an emergency that has otherwise gone unreported, or someone trying to sneak something or someone into the theater without passing the ticket takers.

Second, ticket takers should have enough training to note suspicious packages coming in, and the authority to ask that patrons with the suspicious packages have them checked out by security.  This would probably need to be accompanied by signage that says “we maintain the right to inspect all bags and packages entering the theater.”

These two combined would probably have minimized, if not prevented, Friday morning’s events in Aurora CO.  For the theaters, these will have the bonus of also adding additional checks against two of the ways that they can loose revenu: people sneaking friends in, and people sneaking in their own snacks.

They both would also require that the theaters maintain a security staff who may, or may not, also serve as ushers or in other roles.  It also will probably require some training for the ticket takers and others so that they can identify suspicious packages and individuals.  However, this would probably be less cost than some of the other, possibly less effective, suggestions such as adding magnetometers and entrance screening like found at courthouses, and some other places.

Open Letter to Churches That Want to Reach the Comic-Con Crowd

All weekend – that is Thursday through Sunday – a Christian group sat near the train tracks on 5th avenue with signs and megaphones attempting to reach the attendees and others near Comic-Con.  (See this link – but note that it is to a gallery and the photo may move).  By Sunday, they were joined both by other sign holders and preachers with stronger messages, and by Comic-Con attendees holding up humorous counter-signs.

Early on, I realized the best this outreach could accomplish was to gain a few souls for Christ, and drive an equal but small number further away – and once it reached the level it was on Sunday (one person with a megaphone was all but actively condemning the activities of everyone at Comic-Con as I was boarding the trolley to head home) it was actively driving people away, including the few seekers who might have been saved by the earlier effort.  But, I also came up with something that would probably be orders of magnitude more effective at reaching attendees of Comic-Con for Christ.

Instead of holding signs with provocative words and linked bible verses, the sigs should simply say “Free Water,” or perhaps “Free Water, no strings attached.”  And, instead of boxes full of tracts, the group should have coolers full of water bottles, with a label that says something along the lines of “Courtesy of [name of church/congregation],” and nothing more – except the existing label on the bottle.  They should have someone standing by in case someone wants to talk more, but beyond that, this should simply be an outreach to meet a need (the body thirst of people outside in the San Diego summer weather).

Accident – No Injuries

On our way down to Comic-Con, a motorcyclist was forced back into our lane, and our rear end. No injuries, and both vehicles drivable, but since I was on 911 as soon as Tara said it was a motorcycle, we had to wait almost an hour for the CHP to show up. We should be on our way shortly

Future Travel Pondering

I’m pondering some plans for future years, mostly regarding moving conventions and related vacations in areas in the western US.

For reasons that people around Westercon last weekend are probably aware of, it is fairly likely that at least I will be at the next two Westercons (we’d considered passing on one or both before some recent developments).  Depending on what cars we have, and how many of us are going, it could potentially be cheaper for us to drive to Sacramento and Salt Lake than to fly.  (I’m guessing that that tipping point would if more than one member of the family is going).  I just checked, and google reports that the obvious routes are the fastest.  No surprise as Sacramento is just up I-5 a ways from San Diego, and Salt Lake City is about the same disstance up I-15.

With a bit more certainty (but still predicated on events in San Antonio next year), I think we’d all enjoy making an extended vacation out of the 2015 Spokane Worldcon (I’ll exude confidence at least at the moment), by driving up to the Seattle area and spending some time there (so Tara and The Kid can see some of the Seattle sites – Pike Place Market, Seattle Center – for the first time, and I can enjoy these and possibly The Olympics Mountains, Mt. Rainier and other such natural sites before heading over to Spokane.

For this trip, I’ve determined that we’d probably want to overnight in Reading CA (not Sacramento as I’d first guessed) as it is as close to half-way as I can find.  {I used the hotel where Westercon was last weekend as a target address for Seattle, although I might choose a different hotel base camp for that trip when it comes to pass}.

What I had forgotten is that google reports that the fastest way back from Spokane to San Diego involves taking I-90 into Montana before heading south on I-15.  Of course it might actually still be faster – and definitely shorter – to take US-395 through Reno, or even work our way back to I-5 on some sort of an angle across Oregon.

At least I now know a bit more about what driving to these events would take.  I just need to let time and other factors develop before final plans can be made.


I Should Post This Here

I posted this earlier to Google+ and Facebook, but I’ll put it here to:

Overnight, probably under the influence of Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s stories, my brain started working on a story:

The son of Ambassador and Mr. Key, Wesley, grew up moving between embassies and consulates as his mother’s career with The State Department grew. By the time he was sixteen, his parents realized he was turning into an unreliable, selfish, person.

So, they sent him to live with some relatives of mine who run a horse farm in Northern California on the site of an old wine cask factory. A couple of years later, the next time they saw him, they were at first surprised at the hard-working, self-reliant young man who they were meeting with, until they realized that it was natural for Wes Key to have matured in the Oakes’ barrel.