10 October, 2017 Legal
On 5 October, Kate Taylor of the Business Insider wrote an article titled, “The hotel where the Las Vegas gunman stockpiled weapons for 3 days has been quiet about what happened — and legal experts say it could be in hot water.”
Ms. Taylor’s main points in the piece, heavily condensed here, are as follows:
For certain, violence at hotels is not uncommon. Criminal assaults happen on occasion, and terror attacks, political violence, high order criminal violence, and war all impact hotels, as Muir Analytics’ hotel attack database demonstrates.
And there are cases roughly parallel to Las Vegas where belligerents have used hotels as attack platforms. For example, on 9 May 2016, in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, three men checked into the Days Inn and Suites, Columbus East Airport, a Wyndham property, and fired multiple rounds at passing cars from their second story hotel window. While this was nowhere near the premeditated, hyper violent episode that occurred in Las Vegas, it was, nevertheless, the same concept. Someone with malicious intent checked into the hotel and used it as a shooting platform against civilians outside.
In a similar case, on 21 February 2010, a man checked into the Hotel Panorama (or Panorama Balas) in Cairo, Egypt, and, from his hotel balcony, hurled a homemade bomb at the Shaar Hashamayim Synagogue across the street. The device fell instead to the hotel’s sidewalk below and only partially detonated. While the damage done was merely slight, the attack concept was similar to Las Vegas. The hotel was used as a base of premeditated attack against a target outside the hotel.
In other cases, insurgents in Pakistan and Afghanistan have used hotels as shooting positions against their enemies, and the Afghan National Army once took over a hotel to use as a shooting platform against the Taliban who had seized a neighboring building.
And then there are cases in places like Russia and Lebanon where terrorists have been discovered in their hotel rooms prepping for attacks outside the hotel, and they ended up turning their weapons on the hotel and/or its staff.
The point is that these cases and others like it clearly demonstrate the totality of circumstances regarding violence at hotels. More, such cases can be used to help hotels prevent violence, or lessen the impact of violence, or at least increase security to the point that lawsuits might be lessened if violence still occurs.
Hotels need to take a comprehensive, intelligence driven approach to protect guests, staffs, and properties in the current threat environment. Security, lawyers, and insurers should combine their resources in this effort.
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