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Protecting Parties


I had a bang-up birthday party with some close friends and family. There were a few bottles of grocery store wine, a new ukulele and cake — though there wasn’t room on top for all of the candles. Still, a good time was had by all.

Incredibly Lucky

Looking at the news, I’m thinking that I was incredibly lucky. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t read about a shooting at some party. People die at parties. Did you know that? How incredibly weird and stupid! It could be a tailgate or a wedding reception or something as sweet as a child’s birthday. What the heck is wrong with people these days?

At a friend’s home recently, the host asked if I was carrying. I didn’t want to answer straight-up so I said something like, “Would you ask me to leave if I was carrying?” I was, of course. Through a quick conversation, I told him so. He revealed he just wanted to know because he also was carrying.

A group of people gathered together on a sunlit patio, enjoying beverages out of red Solo cups.

Do you carry when you attend a party or reception? If you carry, you shouldn’t drink. Would hired security be a good idea?

We’re not usually afraid of the people we invite to a party, though perhaps we should be cautious (especially if the conversation turns to politics). I think it’s generally the people who don’t get invited and feel they have been snubbed or otherwise dissed. They may crash an event and create mayhem. This violence isn’t something that only happens in a certain region of Mexico or a U.S. inner city. It’s a phenomenon that makes the national news regularly.

Recent Party Tragedy Headlines

  • From CBS News: “4 killed in Halloween party shooting at Airbnb rental in wealthy California neighborhood.” (Another party-goer has since expired.)
  • From the Associated Press: “2 dead, 12 injured in shooting at college party in Texas.”
  • From the Tampa Bay Times: “Person shot and killed at Spring Hill house gathering.”

You can ask “What the heck is wrong with people these days?” until the long-lost cows come home. (I definitely have some ideas.) However, I’m concerned most with the apparent increase of violence at events and in places where joy, happiness and celebration should be the No. 1 emotions.

Party Security

If you were planning a house party, would you hire a professional armed guard? Would your party include someone to stand vigilantly at the gate or front door in a dark suit and sunglasses? Is a person who doesn’t participate or drink but simply watches who comes and goes and notices which guests get drunk and belligerent required? Someone needs to note who raises a voice, who slams out the door toward the car and comes back with a hand inside a jacket.

A hired guard would not prohibit you from carrying at your party. But if you have a sip or two of punch, your judgment — and certainly your aim — will be affected. So sure, go ahead and carry. First think of the consequences if there is a disturbance and you are forced to pull a gun with one hand while holding a beer in the other. Not many prosecutors are going to let you get away without asking some serious questions.

About Rick Sapp

After his stint in the U.S. Army, including time as an infantry platoon leader and working with West German KRIPO during the 1968 Soviet invasion, Rick Sapp returned home to earn a Ph.D. in social anthropology. Following his education from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Catholic University of America and the University of Florida, he moved to France for a year. Rick worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service before turning to journalism and freelance writing, authoring more than 50 books for a variety of publishers.

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