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September 6, 2017

Dragon Con Takes One More Step Toward Catastrophe

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Written by: Rodney Brown
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atrium-crowds

Three years ago I wrote that Dragon Con had become so big and was so full of drunken attendees that it was just a matter of time before someone was killed and the legal issues around that would end the con.  This past weekend no one died thankfully, but a couple of people came much closer than even three years ago.

Dragon Con, something needs to be done.

The latest incident of injury happened at almost the same hour as three years ago — this time at 1:40 Sunday morning — and in the same hotel, the Marriott Marquis, considered the party HQ for Dragon Con. In this case, some one or some people threw metal convention seating chairs (the kind we have all sat on in panel rooms) off the outside balcony on the 10th floor, down to the street below. One chair hit Kelly McDaniel, cosplaying as lady Loki. The other hit Jamie Temple-Thompson Amador, cosplaying as Jessica Rabbit. Both women were identified in multiple local news reports, such as this one from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The 10th floor exterior balcony at the Marriott Marquis. Image from WSBTV.com.

The 10th floor exterior balcony at the Marriott Marquis. Image from WSBTV.com.

Both women were taken to separate area hospitals. McDaniel, who has been more outspoken since the attack than Amador, was hit on the head and had to have two staples in her scalp to close a large scalp wound. She credits her Loki horns for absorbing some of the impact and possibly saving her life.

The impact on a brass railing from one of the glass bottles dropped three years ago.

The impact on a brass railing from one of the glass bottles dropped three years ago.

The incident three years ago happened inside the Marriott Marquis. Some people dropped glass bottles off an upper floor interior balcony onto the atrium floor below. Thankfully no one was struck directly, but many people were injured by shards of flying glass. A friend of mine, luckily a nurse, treated one of her friends on the scene back then, helping her remove glass shards from her leg.

In regards to the chair tossing, Dragon Con’s head of media relations Dan Carroll said in a release that was partially quoted in WSB-TV’s article:

We are grateful that the injuries were not more severe.  And we are proud of the Dragon Con attendees who stepped up quickly, realized the severity of the situation and provided immediate assistance. 

Atlanta Police Department is investigating.

While I don’t have the entire release, nowhere in what was quoted does Dragon Con say that it is trying to address the problem at the root of the incident — too many people with too much easy access to alcohol for the hotel or convention staff to handle. In fact, in a separate statement, Dragon Con touted that it had its largest attendance on record, with an official count of more than 80,000, up from 77,000 last year.

Three years ago I said the crowd size was already too great for the convention and hotels to handle. The latest information on crowd sizes makes that even more plain a problem. The Marriott Marquis told WSB-TV news that it was working to “make sure this doesn’t happen again” but didn’t give the station any details of how it would do so.

It would be a shame if the Marriott Marquis had to ban room parties during Dragon Con, but it may come to that. And it would be unfortunate if ticket prices had to go up to cover the cost of extra police details overnight from Saturday night into Sunday morning. But both of those solutions are better than waiting for someone to die. Whatever Dragon Con and the Marriott Marquis decide to do, it needs to happen and it needs to be done before the next convention and in a loud and public fashion.

 



About the Author

Rodney Brown





 
 

 
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One Comment


  1. Joshua a Hart

    Its simple, remove same day badge sales, no walkins. Solves so many issues. Even better, stop single day sales a week out. Make sure the people who are at the con are part of the con, and con culture.



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