Sunday’s mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas underscores the security vulnerabilities of open-air attractions, shopping malls, tourist destinations and venues around Southern California, experts say.
At least 59 people were killed and more than 520 injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman has been identified as Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, who reportedly shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. He was later found dead.
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The security vulnerabilities “are virtually infinite” in Southern California, given there are so many public places and open-air venues, said Brian Jenkins, an authority on
terrorism and security at the Santa Monica-based RAND Corp.
“You think of anything where there is an assembly of people; that can be an open-air concert, it can be a tourist venue, it can be anything,” he said. “You can think of all
of the open-air attractions we have in Los Angeles — all of them are vulnerable.”
Certain venues, such as airports, can be protected all the time at great cost and with significant disruption, Jenkins said. Temporary rings of security can be set up around
events for short periods of time, such as during a rock concert, a New Year’s Eve celebration or a political convention.
“But we also have to be realistic and know that we cannot protect everything everywhere all the time,” he said. “If one is determined to kill and willing to kill indiscriminately, then any assembly of people anywhere is a target and we cannot stop that — so we just have to be realistic about what can be done.”
Los Angeles is “constantly refining our look at large events” ranging from sporting events to concerts to Academy Awards ceremonies, Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference at the Central Library downtown Monday.
“This is the kind of thing that keeps you up late at night as a mayor,” he said.
While there’s no way to stop every attack, Garcetti said they do regularly add both visible and invisible sources of security using technology, plain clothes officers and
resources from other agencies.
“We will continue to do everything we can to protect life in the city from these mass shootings, both in policy and in protection,” he said. “We can’t make that a hundred percent secure ever but even as we think forward to all the things that are…