September 10, 2017

Not So Secure at Long Beach Comic Con 2017

Conventions in Los Angeles and the LA area have been increasing security over the last few months. Where you’d once have a weapons check if you cosplayed and just a look to see if you had a badge or wristband to enter, now involves metal detectors and bag checks. Long Beach Comic Con has jumped on board these extra security measures, but have they been implemented well? Let’s find out.

All of these items would be considered contraband so it’s a bit redundant to be on there.

When you first arrive you find the new security check-in with a sign that makes little to no sense the further down you go. Thankfully, with the exception of weapons (maybe, we’ll get to that), they allowed in any and all other items listed since I brought a backpack, snacks, and a cell phone which are listed as not allowed. This whole sign seemed unnecessary since many people were worried they couldn’t bring in their water bottles. This was also placed with the nearby ramp blocked off and not labeled clearly for those who needed it. When asked if a stroller could use it, we were met with some curt resistance before allowing it in. This didn’t feel like we were made safer as much as it made the convention center act like it tried to keep us safe. If you post ridiculous rules that you never meant to uphold, no one believes you are trying.

The website said you couldn’t walk in here with these but they never said you couldn’t walk out with them.

Conventions are known for selling knives and swords. It’s a staple as much as it is a cliche. You can buy all manner of archaic weapons as well as replica firearms and airsoft guns. These are frequent sights for almost any comic convention, in fact, the smaller the con, the more likely you’ll see them, I find. Long Beach Comic Con is no exception. The problem is, if the con bans weapons but then allows vendors to sell them, they aren’t really banning weapons since you can now get armed while within the banned area. You could buy a knife, go out to lunch across the street and return to find your con purchase was not allowed in. This seems like poor and contradictory planning on the convention center’s part. You can buy all manner of the items not allowed on that list and get kicked out for it as the con deems fit. The Long Beach Convention Center could not be reached by the time of this writing.

They are allowed or not. PICK ONE

Despite these genuine loopholes in their proud security theater, Long Beach Comic Con was a fun time, many came out dressed in great cosplay. Only, mildly miffed at the fact that they couldn’t bring their weapons in at what felt like a last minute inclusion to the rules. Several said as such when complimenting them on their outfit, they’d mention they had the cool gear, but it wasn’t allowed in. Not having a weapons check because they were told “that’s too expensive” seems silly compared to the many other conventions that do that.

Somehow, even these shouldn’t be sold by their weird rules out front.

Hopefully this security theater fad for cons ends by the end of this year. No one feels safer and nor are they. Conventions can’t have it both ways, either ban weapons and don’t allow in such vendors, or be willing to allow the fake weapons and genuinely on the look out for real ones. Theme parks do this security system as well but they are much faster at it even though it’s roughly just as safe as the cons. Too many lines all for the sake of trying to keep their hands clean of being a responsible party with no actual work put in to make it so they don’t need to be in such a problem. See you next time.

Dr. Bustos



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