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In Las Vegas, Concert Security Met a New Threat: Aerial Assault

PhotoIn Las Vegas, the scene of the Route 91 Harvest Festival, the open-air country music festival where at least 59 people were killed.Credit John Locher/Associated PressIt was a “watershed” attack, “one in a million,” an all-but-unforeseeable “black swan.”In the aftermath of the mass shooting at the Las Vegas country music festival, event security professionals — many with years of experience thwarting bad actors in bustling crowds — are characterizing the ambush in darkly exceptional, almost fatalistic terms. But they are also reckoning with ever-changing threats in their field after the aerial assaults that killed at least 59 people and injured more than 520 on Sunday.The specter of calamity is especially worrisome for open-air events in urban environments — including the Austin City Limits music festival, which begins Friday in a Texas park and is now undergoing renewed security assessments.“There is no manual for this,” said Chris Robinette, the president of Prevent Advisors, a security subsidiary of Oak View Partners, a company that advises sports and entertainment venues like Madison Square Garden. “It is a dynamic process that requires promoters, venue managers, local authorities and other stakeholders to work together.”Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, standard security protocol at concerts, festivals and other large entertainment events has become increasingly sophisticated, mirroring the mainstream adoption of previously unheard-of safety precautions at airports around the country. Music gatherings — long bastions of ephemeral intimacy and relaxed inhibitions — have become the site of bomb-sniffing dogs, body scanners and high-definition closed circuit cameras, particularly in the wake of recent large-scale attacks on concerts including the Bataclan rock club in Paris and the Manchester Arena.Jeff Dorenfeld, a music business professor at Berklee College of Music with a focus on touring and festivals, recalled a time when concert security barely existed. “I was at Altamont,” said Mr. Dorenfeld, who went on to tour with Ozzy Osbourne and Boston, of the 1969 concert infamous for deaths and violence. “There wasn’t real security.”But even with the gradual ratcheting up of protections, a new wave of mass casualty events has highlighted the ways determined attackers can wreak havoc by shifting their focus to the areas immediately surrounding venues.GraphicChaos at a Concert and a Frantic Search at Mandalay BayHow one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history unfolded.OPEN GraphicIn Las Vegas, the gunman, Stephen Paddock, executed his killing spree from a towering window at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino — around 400 yards away from the festival site — well outside the usual security perimeter of pat-downs and metal detectors that is created for such events. He slipped the hotel’s own security apparatus, and chose an open-air target that is by definition vulnerable from a high elevation.“We have to go back to Lee Harvey Oswald on the book depository to conjure a similar scenario,” said Steven A. Adelman, vice president of the Event Safety Alliance, by telephone Monday afternoon, referring to the assassination of President John F […]

Live Briefing: Las Vegas Shooting Live Updates: Multiple Weapons Found in Gunman’s Hotel Room

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Cycling trail in Canadian Rockies is a brilliant idea, so why the big fuss?

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Dad makes his son walk home, ends up in jail with child endangerment charge

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Smart urban commuter bike features built-in sensors, navigation, & performance tracking

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Photo: In a rare occurance, poppies explode across California

The state’s official flower is on the wane, but every so often they bloom with a vengeance. Here’s why. […]

Ride a Pineapple: Fat tire two-wheeler is essentially an electric moped

The Pineapple Bike seems to be following the trend of e-bikes that are more like pedal-able mini-bikes than bicycles. […]