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Friday, March 18, 2016

Life Post-Bataclan: Metal Detectors at the Theater

On an early date, at the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, my husband turned to me and whispered, “You know, four storm troopers with machine guns could take out most of this audience.”
I gave him a look between a gasp and a glare.
“You don’t think of things like that?” he asked.
I turned around at and looked at the house. 
“No,” I said.
“It’s not normal?”
“Nope,” I said. “It’s that Second Generation Holocaust Survivor thing.” We’d been reading about children of Holocaust survivors and their inherited sense of panic. This fit to a tee.
A while back, we went to a lovely old theater for opening night of If/Then. When we arrived, twenty minutes before curtain, the crowd huddled before the exterior doors, unmoving. 
This is how crowded it was, though this is not the same crowd.
It was past what should have been curtain time before we learned why: inside, across the ornate entryway were several metal detectors, the ones like giant, open-sided coffins standing on end. Polite and calm TSA workers (Theater Safety Associates) told well-dressed theater-goers to empty their pockets of metal and place phones and purses in small plastic baskets. As we waited, I turned back to the crowd and said, “Please put your liquids in small plastic bags,” and then realized by the horror on their faces that people didn’t know I was joking.
Finally, we walked through, but not before being wanded. It wasn’t until we were inside that I thought of my husband’s much earlier comments.

Bataclan audience just before attack
In the shadow of the attack at the Bataclan Concert Hall in Paris, in the shadow of near bi-weekly mass shootings in this country, we have entered a new era. Now we are all Holocaust Survivors’ children. I shudder at the thought.

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