When gunman, Paul Anthony Cianca, took a high powered assault rifle from his bag today at LAX, he terrified and terrorized an entire airport, and that includes the celebrities in there. These are people who are usually shielded from all the niggling routines the rest of us have to go through. They don’t stand in line to check in. They have Meet and Greet who whisk them through to the Executive Lounges. They have Fast Track to get them through passport control. Sometimes they even have a private plane waiting for them out there on the tarmac. But they cannot protect themselves in the bubble of fame completely. Sometimes they get scared too. Like when a lunatic decides to start shooting people. You can have all the entourage around you, you can have a make-up artist powdering your nose as you go through the gate, and a stylist adjusting your coat, but you cannot do anything to quell the basic human emotion of stark fear when you hear gunshots, and know that a potential scene of real-life carnage is opening up before your very eyes.
One of these affected today, as the tragedy unfolded, was actor, James Franco. He was stuck on a plane out on the runways, as he posted a picture of himself on Instagram, looking deeply concerned, with the caption, “Some s***bag shot up the place.” Another celebrity was Nick Jones, from the band the Jonas Brothers that has only just split up. His flight had touched down after the shooting, and he too was stuck in a holding bay. “I am safe” he tweeted “Praying for the victims of this shooting.” These guys might be stars, but they are thanking their lucky stars that they are so close to danger and unscathed.
Inside the terminal was Chris Harrison, who hosts the shows “The Bachelorette” and “The Bachelor.” He was immensely respectful of the work done by the emergency services as he saw at first hand how they responded to the extreme emergency. “This place was locked tight w precision quickly” he posted “God bless first responders!.” He later told his followers that he must have made it out on one of the last flights to depart before the airport was subject to mass cancellations, and once again he reiterated his approval of the law enforcers, “Police very quiet…Everybody very calm and respectful.”
Tory Belleci was in the airport a little earlier than Harrison and was subject to evacuation procedures. Belleci, who appears on Discovery’s “Mythbusters” series, was exposed to the full force of the event. He spoke to CNN about the mass panic, “It didn’t register until everybody started, like, flying down the hallway” Eventually, he said “we were kind of trapped at the end of the terminal.” This experience for Belleci and fellow panic stricken passengers went on for what “seemed like an eternity.” When they were eventually released from their hiding positions by the security staff they scurried out onto the airfield area and hid themselves underneath the plane. Belluci may be a celebrity, but it is clear he was as scared as the next person, and fame could not protect him from this crippling and awful fear.
Another to tweet was “The Voice”s MacKenzie Bourg, in LA to record his new CD, who had missed an earlier flight and was asleep, waiting for his connection to be called. He woke to the gunfire and was thereafter detained for many hours. He pleased on Twitter,”literally can’t believe the shootings were in my terminal at LAX and only steps away, what is wrong with the world cmon love somebody already.”
No-one, famous or not, ever wants to be in an airport terminal, or in any other situation in life, when a deranged shooter is at large. Given the massive conglomeration of stars who live, work, and preen in the City of Angels, it is only surprising that not more celebrities were caught up in the horrors of today’s happenings.
As TSA workers now come to terms with the terribly sad loss of one of their own, and nationwide hopes go out for the recovery of the wounded – numbers of which are yet to be verified – all travelers, seasoned and frequent, or irregular and infrequent; from Club Class to Coach, give thanks for the brave and brilliant responses of the law enforcement and emergency personnel who responded so quickly and so decisively to limit the destruction of this incident. Thousands of flights may now be delayed but in these circumstances, everyone, whoever they are, is just grateful that a violent gunman was caught and detained as quickly as possible.
It doesn’t really matter if you happen to be in the class of celebrities or civilians. At the end of the day we are all fellow human beings and subject to the same threats and terrors. Fame cannot offer protection from fear, however much it can cushion the other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
By Kate Henderson