Dragon Con’s Statement In the Wake of Jacksonville Shooting

On Sunday, August 26th, 2018, gunfire erupted at a Madden Video Game Tournament in Jacksonville, FL. Tragically, after the shooting stopped, 3 people were dead and almost a dozen more were injured. One of the deceased was found to be the shooter.

In the wake of this horrific event, those in charge of all kinds of fan events are looking for ways to keep such terrible scenarios from occurring. Dragon Con, one of the largest gatherings of fandom in the United States, is no exception.

From their official press release:

Statement on the Shootings in Jacksonville AUG 26 2018

We are deeply saddened by the events in Jacksonville earlier today, and our thoughts and condolences go out to the friends and family of all impacted.

We are still evaluating the events that have unfolded, and are working with the Atlanta Police Department, our host hotels, and our security team to continue to ensure that our event is safe and enjoyable for everyone. The safety of our attendees remains our top priority.

Dragon Con anticipates attendance this year in excess of 85,000 people. It is being held in Atlanta, GA from August 30th to September 3rd this year.

This event already has policies banning firearms, and restrictions banning other weapons that could do serious harm. In years past, eagle-eyed security would approach and examine the props of many cosplayers, tagging them if they are found to be within the guidelines. But as the convention is spread over 5 host hotels and the nearby America’s Mart building, such roving patrols are really the only way to police such props without seriously impeding the flow of people as they move between the various buildings.

It is unknown at this time what steps might be taken. Whatever form they may take, we urge attendees to be cooperative and patient as the staff tries to balance the safety of those attending with allowing people to express themselves and have a good time.

This is also a time when it is important that Dragon Con staff can rely on the attendees to help in this situation. While there will be numerous prop weapons around, if something seems different about the appearance of a prop or the mannerisms of the person holding it, please inform security. While it may be nothing, it could also be a situation in which your information averts a tragedy. One sign would be someone trying to conceal a weapon, since most cosplayers quite proudly display their props as part of the costume. If security asks to speak with you, cooperate with their examination of your prop.

While by no means do we want to foster an atmosphere of suspicion, a little awareness might go a long way. And should you suspect someone has brought a real weapon into the convention, do not approach the person. Contact the nearest volunteer, hotel employee or law enforcement official with your concerns. Allow them to handle the situation.

Overall, the attendees of Dragon Con are devoted fans who just like to celebrate their fandom. As a community of fans, we can go a long way to ensure the safety of our community.

For more information about handling cosplay guns safely, please check out this video here.

About Kyle Williamson

"Captain" Kyle Williamson is a cosplayer, actor, writer, fan and author of "The Elements of Cosplay: The Costume and Beyond." He has also interviewed hundreds of actors, authors and cosplayers and has moderated panels for conventions such as Wizard World, Retro Con, Terrificon, Farpoint and Shore Leave to name a few. You can follow him on Twitter @captainkylepa and Instagram @captainkylephilly.

View all posts by Kyle Williamson

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