How truly safe are US FRC events? (Specifically Champs)

They’re looking for outside food and drink more than weapons, I’m pretty sure.


Yup, that is the primary reason those bag checks exist.

The security check points are likely put in place by the venues more than the event organizers. They protect the venue’s interests in terms of concession sales more than they protect the participants and spectators from violence.

Good, old fashioned monopolistic capitalism at work.


I didn’t give a second thought this year to being safe in the venue, but that hasn’t always been true. When KC was at the MCC venue a few years back, there was a sudden realization of danger, when both the head regional director and regional partner came rushing towards the exit while warning to keep students inside the venue. My mind immediately went to a FIRST student being in mental distress, possibly with a weapon. It didn’t seem like a large leap, we all know the challenges kids face and the possibility of this all in our events.

It turned out being a worrying incident, but different than first imagined. There was a gunman, but across the parking lot in an abandoned hotel, in a standoff with police. Not a student and unrelated to what was going on inside our event.

I think there are reasons that this real feeling then has been less, including being in a smaller event and being generally with teams with a number of mentors and volunteers to have more eyes. Also, maybe more event awareness on mental health, though I didn’t keep up with those this year either.


We are merely lucky that nobody has chosen to target a FIRST event yet. The idea of safety in America is straight theatre considering have 1.4-2+ mass shootings a day (depending on where you grab data.)


The real scary part - There are more guns than people in America - about 1.2 guns per person.

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I’m sure that like me, everyone here who attended Champs can think of 20 ways that weapons could have been brought into the venue without much effort.

I’ve lived within a 30 minute drive of Columbine, Arapahoe, the STEM School, the Aurora theater, and the Boulder King Soopers. I’ve three times held my hands over my head while police pointed their rifles and guns at me and my students as they searched my school. I avoid crowded places like concerts and public celebrations, and accept the risks of grocery shopping and going to work. I still choose to take students to FRC tournaments but I know it’s just good luck that we’ve made it without a shooting, at this point. @MikLast is right. Worse than sad.


Apparently my bag of Cheetos hurts their bottom line more than the statistical potential of an active shooter.


This is like the easiest thing FIRST can fix. GRB has a ton of doors but most of them are closed at champs. Literally why?


The exit doors by Carver were numerous and available for anyone who wanted to leave. You just couldn’t get back in (one team loaded in through the exit doors).


You’ll be safe…until you aren’t. That’s kind of America in a nutshell when it comes to gun violence.

I have never seen security at a FRC event that would a) identify or b) deter an armed individual with intent to do harm.


The sole exception was Champs 2008 and even then only for one day.

WWE for smart people…

Are you kidding? You think you can bring an item marked as “dangerously cheesy” into an event and expect everyone to come out fine?


Far more likely to get injured or killed in a car on the way to the event then a human hurting you at the event. I have never felt unsafe at a FRC event.


Even if security were effective at finding food in people’s bags (They’re not, I may know people who have snuck full KFC meals or entire pizzas into the stands before), I doubt they would be able to deal with a gun. Also, I would expect shooters to come in guns blazing which security people I don’t believe can stop.
That’s just on the physical side of safety, I’m not even mentioning other easy to conceal weapons like knives.
On a less physical note, there are some states such as Texas where I believe some people, particularly the LGBTQ+ community, would not be very safe. I’m not going to go into this since there’s a thread here, but I have serious concerns about the safety of some people if many of these laws are allowed to stand.


To the OP. Some random thoughts I will try to coherently tie them together at the end.

The place public place I felt the highest physical risk was in a northern Ontario Town in Canada. I was in a bar/restaurant with a work colleague from southern Asia. For those who have not figured it out I am southern white American. It was made quite clear that we were not wanted, would not get served, and had best leave. I don’t know if it was because of my colleague, me or something else not explained. Another colleague was badly beaten a few months later in the same place. This is very atypical of my experiences in Canada. Canadians as a group are the friendliest people I know. I would go back (and did) even to that town in a heartbeat given an opportunity.

In college. the local college hangout was also the local biker bar. The club was a full patch group associated with the Outlaws. Never had a issue or felt threaten. I also never injected myself in their business. They are a group that will positively thump you if you gave them a reason. They are also the sort to be armed or have weapons readily available.

The risk of gun violence at an FRC venue is very low. I think somewhat because the participants are not the sort that settle their conflicts with violence. Other risks present: Going outside the venue at the wrong time in the wrong direction. Caravaning over multiple days with the drivers sleep deprived. To decide if you should go. Survey the various risks. Modify the ones you can. Multiply the risk with the consequence. When the juice is no longer worth the squeeze, don’t go. Every person has to decide that ratio for themselves. In my judgement the risk of gun violence in the venue is vanishingly small. You should make your own assessment.

Yep, plenty of doors you could exit through (though be careful, people were often sitting against them outside).
You’ll get weird looks but I never dipped out through one to find it not opening.

Probably should have had those labelled better though…most people take the long way around.


Back when the Pittsburgh Regional was actually in Pittsburgh…

I used this article because the photo shows the police cars parked immediately in front of the front entrance to the Petersen Events Center - the venue of the 2012 Pittsburgh Regional, which was in the middle of its Thursday practice session when things got real next door. I believe security/campus police locked the doors and barred anyone from leaving until the all clear was given. They did the same across the street at UPMC Presbyterian.

Someone with better memory than I would have to recount exactly how everyone inside the arena was informed of what was going on at the building across the way, but I recall the situation being relatively calm as teams were informed, and I do believe the event proceeded as scheduled, only with a heavy police presence around the locked down facility.

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254’s trailer is obviously too big of a risk then.

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