Knott's Berry Farm adds metal detectors

Posted Wednesday, April 5, 2017 8:44 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Knott's Berry Farm has begun using metal detectors to screen park guests, becoming the latest Southern California theme park to upgrade it's security measures.

Read more from The Orange County Register.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 2:53 PM

Jeff said:
The bad guy can waltz in with no screening.

True, but historically there have been no problems, that is why I think it is a knee jerk reaction. I have a membership at the Cleveland Zoo, a venue that has much in common with amusement parks. No type of security screening and their have never been any incidents. It is very pleasant just to show your pass and walk in.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 3:28 PM

The zoo, really? I was a member there, too. The average Chipotle is more crowded most of the year. "Historically there have been no problems," sure, until people crashes some hijacked planes, or detonated bombs outside of stadiums or decided to shoot up clubs in Paris and Orlando. Yeah, other than that, no history, right?

I get that the odds of being killed by a terrorist are astronomically low, and that's why I find all of the Trump nonsense so irritating (as well as the people who play into his universe of fear). However, the idea that overstated or unjustified fear exists mutually exclusive to creating deterrents to harmful acts isn't something I can get behind. It's not binary.

It was widely reported that Disney had surveillance of him scoping out the place.

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Friday, April 7, 2017 3:32 PM

kpjb said:

Hasn't it been confirmed that the Pulse shooter scoped out the Magic Kingdom and decided not to shoot the place up because of the security checks?

Yes. So putting up some sort of security potentially deters "bad things" in that case, in lieu of no security.

Path of least resistance.

So what happens if everywhere has similar security measures? Do "bad things" stop happening in these sort of public places? Or does it just force the bad guys to take the next step and work around it? And, if so, what kind of bizarre arms race does that turn into?

And all of this assumes "bad things" happen enough to warrant needing to stop them. I tend to disagree with that in the first place.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Friday, April 7, 2017 3:37 PM
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Friday, April 7, 2017 3:38 PM

It was not media speculation. His wife confirmed it. Last I checked, she wasn't part of the media.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 2:50 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

And all of this assumes "bad things" happen enough to warrant needing to stop them. I tend to disagree with that in the first place.

I honestly think that they would happen enough to justify it if these measures weren't in place. I'm not talking about terrorism, lSIS scoping out Michigan's Adventure, Dennis Hopper putting a bomb on the mine train, etc. I'm talking about your normal old run of the mill assholes.

Not at every park, not every day, but the financial hit you'd take if something happened even once is tremendous.

I hate commenting on these threads because I walk a thin line of what I can and can't say, not only for my home park but also for others where I have good friends. I'm not going to get in to specifics. Suffice to say, I think that in addition to fast passes, VR, and parking prices, this is right up there on the list of "realities about amusement parks that enthusiasts simply don't understand."

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 3:04 PM

Some do understand. Some just like to complain. Some have thoughts they express but don't care enough to stop going. And some just like to complain a lot.

It is really such a non issue that it doesn't affect my day one bit. I don't care. I'm an enthusiast, I do this a lot, and I know how to plan my trips to get in and attempt to have the most fun with minimal complaining.

Actually I very rarely complain about parks. Just enthusiasts.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 3:16 PM

kpjb said:

I hate commenting on these threads because I walk a thin line of what I can and can't say, not only for my home park but also for others where I have good friends. I think that in addition to fast passes, VR, and parking prices, this is right up there on the list of "realities about amusement parks that enthusiasts simply don't understand."

Point taken.

And who am I to argue? You win that one no matter what anyone has to say.

I guess I just have to wonder what makes amusement parks different - espeically in the "everyday run of the mill asshole" sense. By that logic, I should be seeing metal detectors everywhere I go or serious incidents involving everyday run of the mill assholes.

Again, you win by default. But in the end I still think it's more "one size doesn't fit all" on both sides of the fence.

But this is still interesting to me:

Not at every park, not every day, but the financial hit you'd take if something happened even once is tremendous.

Which implies it's very much a CYA measure. (and we almost touched on that along the way, but seems to just get skirted)

I'm still curious as to whether a property would be more liable if their security failed or if they didn't have security in place? Or would it not make a difference?

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 4:05 PM

I had a friend who was shot and killed by one of the run of the mill asshole types at an LA Fitness. I don't know, but I assume it didn't affect their business as much because they're everywhere. If someone shoots up an Embassy Suites or Burger King, people will notice, but then they'll think "was that the one by the airport or the one downtown or the one down the road?"

If someone dies at Kings Island, there's only one Kings Island. That place could lose 75% of their business overnight.

That's why I think parks are different. They're high profile if someone wants their name on the news, and everyone knows where they are/had memories there so their familiarity and fear will be that much higher.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 4:12 PM

Lots of places that have crowds like the zoo (it does get sizable crowds on a nice Sat. in the summer), casinos, malls, ski resorts, etc. have no checkpoints.

The night club shooter in Florida or the various school shooters didn't shoot up a venue with 20,000 people in attendance, just a concentrated crowd.

Cedar Point up to 2015 had no checkpoints yet somehow nothing happened. What is different now that parks feel the need for checkpoints? At least at both Disney and CP, they always had excellent in park police and security that makes these checkpoints just theater.

The inside of an amusement park is really no different than walking around a downtown of a city, it is very different from let's say an arena or nightclub. If someone wanted to shoot up Disney, why bother even to go into the park? Just shoot up the gate. The headlines would be the same: "Gunman fires on Disney crowd, 75 dead".

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 4:22 PM

Maybe it's as simple as something like insurance rates being lower if they do it.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 5:51 PM

What is different now that parks feel the need for checkpoints?

Obviously that's something hes less than able to be explicit about beyond what he said.

I'll give the guy with the reputation who's worked in the industry a long time the benefit that maybe he knows a little someting more than your speculation.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 5:55 PM

The "nothing ever happened" argument is predicated entirely on the idea that the world hasn't changed. That strikes me as... naive. What kpjb said resonates with me, because if you haven't been on the inside, you don't know what the parks know. If you think that the parks are doing this as an arbitrary reaction to non-events, I don't think you give them enough credit.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 6:38 PM

Jeff said:

If you think that the parks are doing this as an arbitrary reaction to non-events, I don't think you give them enough credit.

Another really interesting statement.

Because it implies that either:

1. There have been events. (and I've not read or heard of any, so kudos for the media control)

or

2. There have been events that have been thwarted. (in which case the security in place was sufficient)

or

3. There has been the threat of events on legitimate enough of a scale to completely change operational procedure.

Otherwise, they are indeed reactions to non-events.

And I post this as someone who is skepitcal, but reasonable enough to know who to listen to.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 6:47 PM

Well do the math... if Disney, Universal and SeaWorld all hastily implement more intense screening on the same day, do you really think that's just coincidence?

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 6:49 PM

But this story is about Knott's.

(spoken exactly like the "But this goes to eleven." line in Spinal Tap)

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 6:59 PM

And I still find it kind of funny. Who does it stop? The casual terrorist.

Casual Terrorist is my new favorite term, by the way.

I still don't see how this stops real attempts at terrorism that are focused on the target specifically.

And I really do get what you guys are saying. For everyday kerfluffles it works. Hell, even for things a "real" as something like Pulse, it was entirely effective deterrent.

But if someone wants to do real damage and is intent at doing it at a specific location - in this case a park like Six Flags or Knott's or Cedar Point or whatever - it can still be done. And I'd argue that it could be done with relative ease.

That's the two general thoughts I struggle with in this case.

You guys aren't wrong. But I don't think the side that says it will do little-to-nothing to stop a persistent, location specific, incedent is entirely wrong either.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017 8:32 PM

Fine, but that side seems to believe that doing nothing is just as good, which strikes me as ridiculous.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017 2:55 AM

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm not saying amusement parks -- or zoos, or museums, or baseball stadiums or what have you -- should do nothing. Rather that the money spent on security theater should be spent on tracking actual threats.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017 9:45 AM

Aren't security theater expenditures (wherever you think any given expenditure may fall on the theater versus true security spectrum) like theming? Don't make the actual experience better but just the appearances of it. Parks may well be viewing the theater expenses as a type of marketing.

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Sunday, April 9, 2017 10:34 AM

I'm going to go out on a tiny limb and bet that the folks putting these measures in place are well aware of the limits of their use.

They must see it as a worthwhile expenditure. On that same limb, there is some measure of benefit they are getting out of it, or it wouldn't be there. Arguing that "they should spend their money elsewhere" is akin to questioning a coach's call from the sideline while you're sitting in the E-deck or at home on the couch.

You may not get it, you may not understand the why, and you might disagree with it for whatever reason, but I have a very difficult time believing that there weren't plenty of meetings discussing the pros and the cons.

I don't think anyone anywhere would think metal detectors would stop a meticulously planned directed attack on any location, but whatever they are stopping or whatever psychological reaction (real or imagined) they create in a majority of guests must be worth it to the park's bottom line.

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