The Tragic Death of Christina Grimmie - and some insight to fans on why security is important...and might be tougher now
A name that many people never knew before they woke up Saturday morning to hear about the death of this musician that was on The Voice a couple years ago. Myself included.
When I first heard the news of her shooting last night I knew instantly this was not good..... and I do not mean just for the simple fact someone was shot. I meant for how/where it happened and what it could mean in the bigger picture.
The Youtube developed, The Voice elevated singer was doing a meet & greet with her fans, most of whom are quite young. She was taking time out of her day, as most entertains will since they know they are in a business where pleasing the public often equates to more success. She was doing everything right. Then something terribly wrong happened. A person (I refuse to name this coward) decided, for reasons we may never know due to his suicide after the events unfolded, decided to shoot Christina several times including in the face. Marcus Grimmie, her brother instantly tackled the shooter but not before he shot himself.
Thanks to social media, we pretty much know most or all of the pertinent details. We've seen 1st hand reports of how a member of Before You Exit yelled at fans to run away, worrying about their safety first, and his second. We know of course about her brothers heroics. We know most everything there is to know.... except maybe why. But this blog post isnt here to dissect why it happened. There will be plenty of places talking about that.
I am going to talk about the fact that almost everyone is going to be affected by this. Some more than others. If you are currently rolling your eyes at that assumption...read on.
The shooting of Christina Grimmie is unusual for a couple reasons. First, it was at a free promoted event that anyone could attend. A concert, a place MOST people would feel safe, or at worst not on guard of a potential violent threat. Even more shocking was the fact the shooting happened at a meet & greet. The idea this guy got a pair of guns & a knife into the venue is mildly shocking (I'd like to say its more shocking than that, but its the U.S..... so no, mildly is unfortunately right), the fact he got it into a meet & greet scenario, got close enough to her without any security picking up on the fact he likely was acting out of place prior is appalling.
The security for this event seemed minimal to non-existent according to tweets I found HERE and HERE from 2 from attendees saying security never even checked their purses. or a tweet where a fan says security actually ran away HERE. If this is true, thats 1 of the more cowardly acts I have ever heard of. At the very least, it is quite clear security was inadequate at this event. have been to a LOT of low security events, and while I have obviously never considered "how easy would it be to....", I have wondered a few times looking at some people "what do they REALLY want here?". So far, I have never encountered anything as scary as the events of last night, but I have definitely seen celebs, and other fans intimidated/scared/uneased by the actions of people. I have had a female actress tell me personally she doesnt feel comfortable when shes 5'3 with no one else around her being approached by 2, 6'0 tall men....and that was in a VERY public place. Its not a feeling I will ever know, but I can understand that hesitance/nervousness still on some level. Celebs, especially female celebs DO wonder much more than you or I ever will about security & are they truly safe in any situation.
This is where last nights events will have an impact on YOU...probably at some point. This didnt happen at Madison Square Gardens, venues like that have pretty detailed screening, it happened in a smaller venue where security is usually pretty lax by the sounds of it....especially for an audience coming to see a 22 yr old singer who is famous for being on youtube & a music competition. Right now, around the world, especially in the U.S., tens of thousands of people at varying levels of celeb status, security, management and other facets of the industry are talking with venues, hotels or their own people about safety and security.
The most obvious reaction to it, will be increase security getting in, at every point. It wont likely be JUST for 20something musicians either, accomplished long time musicians always have that concern as well, as do athletes, actors and even youtube stars, like Philip DeFranco who talked openly about how at VidCon, an event seemingly full of people similar to him, he walks around with off duty Police as security in this video posted today. Everyone will be reviewing, and very likely stepping up their security protocols in light of this tragedy.... as they should. So you, the consumer of the products will probably be inspected a bit closer before you are allowed to go see a show, a sporting event, or a convention because of the very public attack on Christina Grimmie. That little bit extra waiting around that some of you are going to selfishly feel annoyed by isnt just to annoy you, it is for the entertainers safety, as well as everyone else including YOURS. this likely will even stretch beyond the entertainment industry. Businesses with any level of wealth constantly see news stories like this and go over their own security with a fine tooth comb. Something that your workplace might implement in the following weeks or months might be because of what happened last night.
I have a job where interacting with famous people is a necessity obviously. To the locals, they know who I am, they know what I will/wont do. They know how to deal with me. We essentially have a mutal toleration of each other. But when I go to a different city, a different group of people in charge of assessing threats, I'm far more understanding if someone asks me a few more questions than seems reasonable. I get the place they are coming from. So if you are at an event, and that guard asks you a question or two, remember, they are doing it to minimize possible problems for everyone. Someone might see your actions differently than you might have meant them.... dont take offense to their inquiry. If you are somewhere, and you see someone that you feel isnt acting normally, dont be scared to report it to someone either. Several times I've reported something at a set or at an airport that turned out to be nothing, but never have I thought afterwards "that was stupid, it was nothing".
As for me. This is surely going to have a major impact on my business. Every time something similar to this happens, celebs, understandably, get more guarded than they were before. Sometimes those feelings disipate with time, but sometimes the celebs just go into shutdown mode & refuse to interact with anyone. My world is sure to get a lot more tougher to do my job due to this. It was after all at an autograph signing this happened. How much more relevant to my job could it be? For awhile, I will absolutely be far more patient and understanding when/if some guard asks me something or a celeb nervously tries to avoid an interaction. I'll still try, I still have particular points I will bring up to try and put them at ease, but I will also understand that hesitation.
Also, I know I stated this on twitter, but I will say it here in more than 140 characters. If you have ever emailed me, or tweeted at me, or even asked me in person "where can i find so & so?" and youve wondered why I am reluctant to share that info, perhaps this tragedy makes you understand far more. I generally consider myself nicer than most of the autograph hounds you'll meet. I'm willing to help out within reason, but I am also very cautious of giving people info that I feel they shouldnt have. I have always told people "well you can find them at set, or they are doing a meet & greet here..." instead of giving them their home address or their flight schedule. It is NOT because I am trying to keep that knowledge to myself, it is because I find the venues I stated more suitable for a celeb to encounter with someone they dont really know. If youve ever had the random luck of seeing a celeb while they are out at dinner, or at an airport and seen them get found by a flock of fans, you surely know, they are not comfortable with the situation more often than not. They might still take the time to meet them, but they are far far less at ease doing it than if they were at their film set or a meet & greet event where there are some level of safeguards in place to minimize risk to them.
A story I have retold 100s of times in Vancouver is of an actress who still works here telling me & another autograph hound "you guys, I have no problem with, because I know what you want... its fans I dont like, because you never know what they really want". It isnt that this woman hates her fans, its that she has a comfort level with autograph hounds she can never have with a fan, because she never knows what it is they truly want from her, where as with us, she knows. I've heard similar stories to that from others in the past as well, just the way she put it sort of summed it up best. A lot of time I see fans gripe & bitch because I met someone, and they didnt. Sometimes, theres a reason for that, and its that the entertainer prefers dealing with people they understand as opposed to a wild card. In my experiences, far more celebs than you might expect prefer dealing with someone like me compared to a random 1 off encounter with a fan. This is why I dont give out details to people that arent public. A film set, a meet & greet, those are things where there is some control for them to deal with it. Their personal time is a terrible place for fans to find them, and I wont encourage that. So that is why I likely ignored your request in the past.
Lastly, & most importantly in all of this. My condolences go out to her family, especially her brother who will feel things few if any of us ever will, to her friends, and to her fans. To any of her fans that were there and had to witness this, I wish there was something to tell you to make this better but it doesnt work like that. Only time will help minimize this feeling. If you are having trouble dealing with it, talk to your friends and family. This is why they are there. Or talk to a stranger if you feel it will be easier. There are plenty of places you can call/go to have someone listen. Rest In Peace Christina Grimmie, I am sorry I had to learn who you were like this.
There is a Gofundme page set up for the Grimmie family. You can find it HERE
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Canadagraphs personal blog page - rants, praise, observations and opinions.