Gunfire at the Ft. Myers charitable event created a real-life running zombie herd, but the organizers’ security safeguards may have helped prevent further harm.
Shootings have become a depressing fact of life here in the U.S. — and for those of you who spent a fair amount of time in New York and other large cities back in the day can testify, it’s not exactly a new phenomenon. Last night, Ft. Myers’ ZombiCon joined the ranks of gatherings making headlines as the result of a mass shooting.
Twitter user Savannah Holdenn posted video that shows the scene described in eyewitness accounts on this Reddit thread, as attendees start running away from the scene. An Instagram video by attendee Sarah Basco from a few yards away shows the chaos erupt in real time, with a mingling of party and panic.
Fortunately, as indicated on event organizer’s website — a charity named Pushing Daizies — and confirmed in both contemporaneous accounts and the charity’s Facebook page, police and private security were hired for the event, a prudent strategic decision that may very well reflect lessons learned from last year’s Zombie Walk car accident outside the San Diego Comic-Con, which brought substantial attention to the issue of crowd control. Inasmuch as ZombiCon involved costumed attendees shambling to multiple venues (and bars), the risk of harm at ZombiCon was real even without a shooting, and it’s not hard to imagine a fatal cascade as people run in panic through city streets.
I could go on about the lessons tragedies such as this hold for pop culture con organizers – security, insurance, parade permits, being careful re associating the event with trademarked properties such as The Walking Dead and managing inherent in events having a citywide scope are a few issues that came immediately to mind – but for now, we’ll just take a moment to keep the victims in our thoughts.