The day after a man walked into a Texas church and opened fire, killing 26 people, I was standing outside an auditorium getting pat down, having my purse checked, before I could walk inside. I had driven up to LA for evening (madness, I know) with two friends to hear an author speak. Throughout the whole evening, there remained one security guard onstage, eyes continuously scanning the crowd except for the moments he bent his head down to listen to an ear piece. Two other security guards took turns walking around the packed auditorium, one standing up front, the other strolling around. Every 10 minutes or so they would chit chat quietly, and then the other would take his turn walking (I’m assuming) the premises.
The author was riveting, I have been looking forward to hearing him for weeks, but I couldn’t stop focussing on the security guards. I couldn’t stop staring at them, looking for any signs there was danger – either inside the walls, or outside, about to burst in. I was in a packed auditorium, the kind where people can barely squeeze by you to their seats, even when you stand up to give them room. There were roughly 1200 people in attendance, including those sitting in the balcony. I kept wondering what we would do if someone were to open fire.
This is what it means to be an American in 2017. Read More