Security experts are urging business owners and local officials to do more to prepare for active shooter situations. Just in the last two weeks there have been four shootings at so-called “soft targets” around the country. Those places traditionally have little or no security in place.
Like Wednesday at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Thursday night was college night at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s a massive honky tonk near three Texas colleges and considered a local landmark. A night like that could bring in 1,000 students, and the folks in charge there are serious about ensuring their safety.
Chris Knowles is Billy Bob’s manager. He said about 6,000 people show up on weekends for a big concert, which makes security a chief concern.
“Before a person enters the building, they’re already looked at two to three times,” Knowles told CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca, referring to the surveillance cameras. “And then they pass two check points where they’re eyed by individuals as well.”
Despite a security presence that includes armed Fort Worth police officers, Billy Bob’s goes one step further with its own employees by offering active shooter training to its management staff. Still, Knowles said “you can never protect yourself 100 percent.”
Robert Smith trains security personnel at venues nationwide and said soft targets like Billy Bob’s need to have a plan in place.
“There are active shooting incidents in bars around our country every weekend,” Smith said. “There is no change in the training for a nightclub, a bar, a sports venue, a church, a synagogue….and if the plan is to duck and hide, duck and hide. And if your plan is to run to the nearest exit, get out.”
After the shooting at Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California Wednesday night, police said that kind of thinking may have saved lives.
“They ran out of back doors, they broke windows. They went through windows. They hid up in the attic. They hid in the bathroom. Unfortunately, our young people or people at nightclubs have learned that this may happen,” Ventura County sheriff Geoff Dean said.
For patrons at Billy Bob’s, knowing the venue is prepared makes all the difference — especially for people like Graham Weatherspoon, who brought his kids to play a couple rounds of pool.
“Especially for my kids, myself it’s a different story. My kids, I want them to be as safe as possible,” Weatherspoon said.
In Texas, you can open carry and conceal carry a gun if you have a permit. But many places that serve alcohol, like Billy Bob’s, don’t allow you to bring your gun inside.
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