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I was at the Phoenix Comic Con when the police arrested Mathew Sterling for threats, unlawful carry, and possession of illegal weapons. He claimed that he believed he was an incarnation of the Punisher and was there to kill one of the guests. Before he was arrested, the story was a little different and very scary for one young woman who was being stalked by this individual. Someone in California saw what was going on through Facebook and alerted the local police. The police managed to arrest the suspect before he could do any harm. He was trying for suicide by cop. I didn’t know anything about what was going on until a friend texted me to find out if we were OK.

Because of that, there was a no weapons policy for the convention instituted including any prop versions of weapons. This was the policy put in place so the convention could stay open for the next three days.

This made for very long lines to get in Friday. By Saturday they had gotten the check down to something reasonable.

The Internet blew up in certain sections as people cried out about the unfairness to take their ‘right’ to carry fake weapons as part of their costume.

Phoenix ComicCon offered refunds for those who did not care to attend. They did ask for understanding that this would happen AFTER the convention because they were in the middle of it when this did happen.

The blanket ban seems absurd but it was the easiest way to allow the convention to be held. Imagine the lines if every person who wanted to bring in a prop weapon had to defend why their prop is NOT a weapon. Security would have been nickled and dimed to death for ‘why light saber handles but not full light sabers’? Why proton packs with the ‘gun’ but not Holtzman’s small pistols? And on and on until no one could get into the place. I have been in that situation at a convention on the security side of the fence and it is a royal PITA.

People’s costumes were still recognizable. Maybe a few that are very prop heavy got lost in translation but nothing I saw. Even the anime characters were recognizable if you knew the anime.

Sure the plethora of Negins didn’t have their barbwire baseball bat, but I still knew the character. And it was nice NOT having to bob and weave around those baseball bats for a change. I have been clobbered more than once by someone turning to fast with one of those up on their shoulder. Always gotten an apology too. I didn’t have to avoid oversized mallets that are the choice weapon of Harley. The ability to get through the throng quickly became easier because I was not ducking or avoiding oversized props.

Because of what happened in Phoenix, conventions are going to have to change their weapons policy before we do have an incident within the convention itself. The Alamo City Comic Con banned duffle bags, large backpacks, and oversized tote bags and I don’t think they will be the only ones to do so.

I don’t think that the prop weapons should be banned but I do think that some common sense on everybody’s part will go a long way to solving this issue.

Now for something else I witnessed at the convention. Furries seem to get a lot of flack for various reasons most of which have nothing to do with a majority of people who like to wear animal costumes. There was a toddler who was not having a good day or rather was done with it all. The tantrum was epic. But when he saw someone in a realistic fox mask (like those made by Clockwork creatures), he just stopped and stared. The Fox noticed the boy and got down to his level. The Fox allowed the boy to pet him and talked to him quietly as the boy calmed down to the point that the kid fell asleep in their stroller. The parents were grateful. All those around who had been listening to the howls were grateful. The Fox tipped their hat and went on their merry way with some friends their good deed done and we all appreciated it.

I am grateful for people who were sensible in this whole matter and that Fox for taking the time to take care of a child.
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