Patted down at the opera

Rio de Janeiro may pass an aggressive metal detector law.

By J.A. Getzlaff
March 30, 2000 10:00PM (UTC)
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The world's a dangerous place -- there are more Travis Bickles out there than you can throw handcuffs on. Rio de Janeiro is the latest city to fight back against the temperamental and gun totin', with a proposed law that will require metal detectors in all places of entertainment.

According to a BBC report, that will include nightclubs, cinemas, theaters and even opera houses. Patrons will not just pass through the machines, they'll get patted down, whether they're wearing jeans and a T-shirt or a beaded evening gown.

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If the law passes, establishments that fail to install the detectors could risk fines of up to 270 reals (U.S. $150) and possible closure.

The law was drafted by City Councilor Ruy Cezar in 1997, after a man was shot to death outside a chic nightclub. It was vetoed last year by Mayor Luiz Paulo Conde, who said the costs of installing the detectors, which go for as little as 100 reals (U.S. $55), could put some places out of business.

That veto has now been overturned, thanks to a 24-year-old medical student, who recently decided to open fire on patrons outside a Sco Paulo cinema. However, it could still be declared unconstitutional by the mayor.

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Cezar defended his proposed law to the BBC, claiming, "A life is more than 100 reals."


J.A. Getzlaff

J.A. Getzlaff's Daily Planet appears every weekday. Do you have a tip or tale for J.A.? Send it to DailyPlanet@salon.com.

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