Sunday, September 11, 2016

Armed in a Non permissive environment- Walt Disney World

I detest security theater. The security measures that have been put in place at various public venues have not done a thing to actually make us safer, and actually make us less safe. All these measures have done is make people FEEL safe, while providing no real safety. There is a lot of crime on the property of the theme parks, even being perpetrated by the very employees of the parks themselves, and not just a few times, either.

For at least the past ten years, I have tested the supposed security at local theme parks by entering the parks while legally armed. Year after year, they tighten procedures and make searches of the people entering these parks more an more intrusive, even to the point of using dogs. I have entered the theme parks while armed over 100 times, and I have only been caught once, and that was entering a Penn and Teller show in the Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Studios while armed with a 1911. I have since found out how to beat the security measures in place that night, and have routinely done so on more than a dozen occasions.

The theme parks began by conducting bag checks. That was trivial to beat: just carry a weapon on your person, and have no bag to check. Even so, carrying a gun in a bag was easy as well. For example, the bag checks at Universal Studios only checked people as they left the parking garage. People who valet parked, arrived by bus or taxi, or who entered the park by taking a water taxi from one of the  on property resort hotels were not subjected to the search.

Disney was no better.

Then last year, the parks announced that they would be adding magnetometers to the bag searches. I thought for sure that this would make entering the parks far more difficult, if not impossible. I was wrong. It proved to be a trivial exercise in getting past security with a firearm on my person. In fact, I have entered the theme parks since they began using magnetometers on no fewer than 15 different times, and have actually only passed through them three times, and they only caught the fact that I was armed once. This means that there is an 80% chance than an armed person will not be screened at all, and if he is, there is only a 33% chance that he will be caught. Think about those odds.

This weekend was no different. I went to the Disney parks to test the security. I was wearing khaki shorts, a polo shirt, and sneakers. I was carrying a Smith and Wesson Bodyguard with a spare magazine in a belly band, a 4 inch boot knife in a back pocket, and a container of pepper spray in a front pocket. This is 100% legal, since I have a concealed weapons permit.

At the Magic Kingdom, there was a bag inspection, but since I was not carrying a bag, I bypassed it. Beyond that, there were three magnetometers, but only one of them was being used. People were occasionally being pulled from the line and forced to walk through it, but the selection process was not random. Watching it for just a few minutes, it was obvious what was happening: anyone with a large untucked shirt, any sort of 511 pants, or other typical CCW clothing were being selected for the supposedly random searches. Since I have been carrying for a long time and do not wear clothing that obviously gives me away, I guess I am not suspicious enough to be selected.

Those who set off the magnetometer were then forced to go through secondary screening where they were checked with a hand wand. I have gone through this magnetometer three times, and set off the machine twice. The first time, I was caught and had to go out and leave my firearm in a locker in order to enter the show. I have not been caught since.

Why? Because the second time that I set it off, I was wearing the firearm in a Thunderwear holster, and when I was wanded, the guard noticed that I was wearing a large belt buckle. (Show them what they expect to see, and they will usually buy into it) They are not cops, and do not have qualified immunity against lawsuits, so cannot ask you to disrobe or frisk you without incurring some significant legal liability. Most of them are either mall ninjas, or idiots who are not all that motivated to do more than make a few bucks while doing as little as possible.

This is where I do have a question. As a backup to the unarmed security at Disney, there are off duty Orange County Deputies who are working there on the Disney payroll as armed security. They wear their county issued uniforms, carry county issued badges, radios,  and guns, while carrying out private employment. What can they legally do or say in the support of this private regulation?

This is why I have a real problem with Disney. They are both a private entity and a local government. The Deputies in this case are both acting a cops and as security, and all parties here change hats in order to take advantage of the powers and rights of both, while neatly dodging the legal responsibilities, restrictions, and constitutional protections of both. This is fascism, pure and simple. I will continue to resist it as much as I possibly can.


Anonymous said...

Just figuring out Disney is both a private and a municipal enterprise, eh?

The Reedy Creek Water Management District is a "special taxing district" that was created solely to allow Disney to exist; Disney overlaps both Orange and Osceola counties and didn't want to have to deal with different ordinances, regulations, taxes and inspectors for different sections of their parks, so POOF ! a Special Taxing District that has its own fire department, security, water wells, sewage treatment, etc., etc. Guess who is the only "resident" of that Special Taxing District?

As for the OCSO deputies, technically, they're Sooper Special Rent-A-Cops while in the employ of Disney (or anyone else who hires off-duty LEOs to provide security for an event or location; off-duty is pretty lucrative - no idea what the rate is now, but "back when" it was $26/hour and the deputy had to reimburse the agency $3/hour for use of the agency vehicle and uniform. If he drives his POV that rate drops. OCSO HR has an Off-Duty Employment Coordinator who handles the requests, determines how many deputies are required for "officer safety" (a birthday party may get by with 1, a large wedding reception may require 3, some events or venues are turned down for off duty work because of the type of establishment or event).

Anyway, should "something" occur that would ordinarily be handled by a LEO in the normal course of their duties - like a fight, on-view theft (think pickpocket) robbery or identifying a wanted suspect for whom there is an open warrant, etc. - off duty employment ceases at that moment and the deputy "goes on the clock" as an OCSO on duty employee and performs law enforcement duties.

That does not mean that during off duty work they do not have the power to arrest, because they do, but if they reach for the cuffs they're no longer working off duty (see above). Deputies (heck, any LEO working off duty) will use the uniform to intimidate to gain compliance (that's really what they're there for). As far as guns at Disney go, assuming you have a valid CWP, under Florida law they can ask you to remove the firearm from the premises or to leave, your choice, and that's from a Disney employee or an off duty LEO working for Disney. If you refuse to remove the gun or to voluntarily leave as requested it then becomes Armed Trespass, which in Florida is a felony, and you'll probably break out in handcuffs.

As an FYI, Disney used to prohibit plain clothes LEOs, bothlocal and tourists, from being armed in the parks. Don't know what the policy is now.

Divemedic said...

Of course I know that. If you have been reading this blog any amount of time, you would know it as well.

The point of concealed carry is concealed. As long as I leave when requested, there are no laws being broken here.

Divemedic said...

I would also add that the way the RCID is set up, is that each property owner in the district gets a number of votes based upon how much property is owned. Since Disney owns the lion's share of the property within the district, they are the ones who make the laws there.