If the worst could happen there, could it happen here?
That’s the likely mindset of country fans waking up to the news that a gunman walked into a country bar and killed 12 people in a California on Wednesday night (Nov. 7).
Because that bar in Thousand Oaks — Borderline Bar & Grill — is just like every other country bar in cities from coast to coast. So if suspects can walk into one with a handgun, they could potentially walk into any of them.
Ed Warm — who owns Chicago’s iconic Joe’s on Weed Street, is a partner of Joe’s Live and Bub City, and is the visionary behind the Windy City Smokeout — told CMT.com that this kind of tragedy has him seriously rattled.
“We take security very seriously,” Warm told us. “My heart hurts. Going out to a show or dancing is a break from the headaches of the real world. Sadly all these shootings have grown to feel distant. But this one is terrifyingly close to me.
“My thoughts are with those in California who were forced to witness pure evil while just trying to live their lives.”
Joe’s on Weed and Joe’s Live are very similar to Borderline, which opened 25 years ago and calls itself Ventura County’s largest country dance hall and live music venue. Over the years they’ve hosted artists like John Rich, Lee Brice, Tyler Farr and more.
Bars like these don’t always have the heightened security of a big arena show, but this might be a wake-up call to bar owners across the country.
According to Warm, his security team conducts pat downs at the bigger shows, and they always do pat downs before meet-and-greets with the artists. And at the Windy City Smokeout, they use metal detectors for everyone entering the three-day festival.
But what about at the bars on a regular mid-week night? Midland, Lee Brice, Lanco, Mitchell Tenpenny, Russell Dickerson, Carly Pearce and more are scheduled to play Warm’s venues in Chicago in the next few months. And that’s just in Chicago. When you think about all the country artists playing all the country bars, it’s almost impossible to find a safe solution to prevent the unthinkable.
Would metal detectors be enough? Should come-and-go privileges be revoked? Will clear plastic bags be the new normal? Would pat downs be necessary?
And even more importantly, would safety measures like that give country fans a little peace of mind in a very threatening world?