During a performance at the Hollywood Bowl on 3 May 2022, 23-year-old Isaiah Lee charged on stage armed with a knife and a “replica” gun. He ran across the stage and tackled the performer, Dave Chappelle, to the floor. Fortunately for Chappelle, the assailant was stopped and removed by security before he was able to seriously harm Chapelle. However, this incident highlights, just another of a growing list of threats faced by personalities and prominent figures. Reportedly Lee was driven by what might be considered as “explosive anger.” He had allegedly been angered by Chappelle jokingly mocking the transgender community. Lee’s anger grew to the point of exploding into violence, yet able to maintain a level of control allowing him to premediate his act, unlike an enraged person who is more likely to act erratically and spontaneously.
The Hollywood Bowl (the Bowl) like many performance stages, arenas, and any venues where large crowds might gather, employs security staff, establish rules, and deploy devices such as metal detectors to further provide security for events. The Bowl has in place many of these measures incorporated into their security for its attendees, staff, and performers. However, their principal focus, as expected, centers on entertainment first. Their security concerns while important, primarily revolve around maintaining order and attendee’s obedience to the facility’s rules of conduct. The rules include a weapons ban inside the facility. They also use a metal detector scan before entering the facility. In the case above, it is reported that the assailant Lee was carrying a replica gun, meaning it could have been made of plastic or other non-metallic material. Security also offers a text line for attendees to discretely report disruptive behavior. For the most part, these types of measures are sufficient for maintaining order and proved somewhat effective on 3 May, but they were unable to stop the assault on the performer. Why?
They lacked a sufficient “Personal Security Shield.” Personal security shielding comes in many forms; from arm length security as seen when guards are placed literally within arms-length of the client, to long-range sniper surveillance, typically reserved for government officials, to cyber-surveillance – in search of potential personal treats appearing in social media and other Internet sites. Many venues do not provide sufficient personal security to their performers. Certainly not at a level required by Chappelle.
Given today’s political, social, international, and economic environments, it is easy to find division between differing opinions. This division seems to have escalated beyond simple anger and frustration to explosive levels. Heightened levels of frustration allow even simple disagreements to kindle into acts of “explosive anger.” Under these conditions, your personal security warrants a review. Not all clients require arm-length security at all times, but when needed, it is better to be prepared than not.