By now you've probably heard the news: a Phoenix Comicon attendee was arrested at the Con today with three handguns, a shotgun and several knives. He was also wearing armor.
Someone reported the man after seeing threats he'd made on social media toward the police, including photos of officers he'd taken at the Con. He was apprehended; PHXCC responded by outlawing prop weapons for the event and adopting tighter security measures. If you're headed to this Con this weekend, you may want to give yourself extra time to get in and out of the different buildings and adjust your cosplay as needed.
Here's what you can expect:
- 3 dedicated access points for people with badges - 3rd Street at Monroe, 3rd Street at Washington, 2nd Street between Washington and Monroe
- Only 1 access point for people who need to pick up their badge - 3rd Street at Monroe
- All costume props - shields, sabers, etc - are not allowed. If you buy a prop on site, the vendor will wrap it and it will have to stay that way. PHXCC prefers you take your purchased weapon to your car or hotel as soon as you can.
- Any events or panels altered by today's security incident will be posted on the Phoenix Comicon site.
And that might be the end of this story - but it's not the end of the larger security issue, one I know most of us have been thinking about after the Manchester bombing. San Diego Comic-Con is high profile, the dense perimeter crowds offer an easy target for anyone without a badge, and half of everyone is masked or lugging packages around. When terrorists target 12-year-old girls at an Ariana Grande concert and mass shooters take on movie theatres, there's no reason why nerds - or the celebrities at SDCC - would be exempt.
CCI has addressed this in the past; last year they announced that we would be protected by a variety of federal, city and country officials and bomb-sniffing dogs. I expect that this year security will be increased even more. As for whether security measures could affect Con entry, cosplay rules, bag checks and other policies, we'll just have to see.
And on a side note, I apologize for not posting much recently. My ex-partner and one of my best friends died last Friday. We went to our first San Diego Comic-Con in 2002 and every one thereafter through 2009, and I haven't much wanted to think or write about SDCC this last week. I'll be back to regular posting after Memorial Day.
ETA: Several people I've talked to are peeved because they worked hard on their cosplay and now they can't bring their cardboard props, light sabers, etc. PHXCC is giving refunds if you feel that strongly about it - you can email firstname.lastname@example.org. But I'd advise going anyhow.When you're not in cosplay and posing for photos, you can find all kinds of things to do at the Con.
I've also been asked if I think this will affect the Dick Van Dyke extravaganza on Saturday. My answer is no. However, I do think the line for general seating will be insane, so I'd advise getting your Exhibit Hall meanderings in today and scheduling line shifts with your friends for tomorrow.