On Saturday night, 3 November, in Caracas hordes of young Venezualan techno fans gathered at La Rinconada Terrace to hear Carl Cox DJ as part of the Network Noise festival organised by local promoters Pacific Productions. What should have been an ordinary night out turned into a horror show as a gunman opened fire in the crowded club. The footage of the event and its immediate aftermath on YouTube starts like any of a million and one other YouTube videos, red and blue lights swirl around as Carl Cox's head bobs along to the beat. Suddenly there's a flurry of noise: it sounds like popcorn popping, or fireworks going off.For a full 20 seconds or so nothing changes, Cox is still mixing, the lights are still going then someone pulls him down behind the decks, the music fades out and the sound of screams and chaos fades in. The next three minutes of the video are among the most disturbing imaginable. After a few seconds focused on the empty decks the camera turns and faces the room. People are standing around, confused. Someone is helping a visibly wounded partier while two or three other bloodstained bodies lie sprawled on the floor. Kids are milling about, directionless; there are whistles and shouts. In the front of the shot a girl with waist-length black hair twirls frantically, looking for help.
What’s striking, simply from watching the video, is in the four minutes immediately following the shooting there is no form of official intervention. No one gets on the mic to tell the clubbers what’s happened, or ask them to clear the room. Security seems non-existent. There doesn’t appear to be any medical staff at all. “Por DIOS que pasa con la seguridad en este tipo de eventos? ” demands one blogger – echoing what must be on the mind of anyone who sees the video footage. While one blogger remarks “Este es el reflejo del país que tenemos: un país sin ley” [“this is a reflection of the country we have: a country without law”] the majority of the witnesses and those close to the event place the blame squarely on the security and promoters.Surely, the more dangerous an environment around a club the more stringent care promoters should take to make their events safe. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a traumatic event to shake things up. In London a spate of club shootings and stabbings prompted increased security measures and use of metal detectors. If that happens in Caracas perhaps something positive will come out of this tragedy.