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A Gun-Free Zone in Name Only

July 20, 2012

59 people were injured in a Colorado movie theater.  12 of them were killed this morning.  More may die in the coming days.  Many may never recover.  This makes me sad and furious for several reasons.

We won’t screen crazy people and limit their freedom.  We didn’t do it after the Tuscon shooter shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords.  We played guns-are-good versus guns-are-bad political soundbites instead.   We dare not touch the issue that some humans are bad and will hurt people.  We dare not infringe on the rights of a crazy person.  We wouldn’t put the Tuscon shooter on a list of mentally disturbed individuals, yet politicians will discuss making millions of us disarmed and vulnerable.  That is crazy.

Another thing bothers me.  The Cinemark theater chain where the shooting happened has a no-guns policy.. almost.  The theater management only allows law enforcement officers to bring weapons into their theaters.  That means the people watching the movie were disarmed.  By far, most of the people in the theater were not shot, yet out of hundreds and  hundreds of people, no one was armed except the shooter.  Maybe concealed carry holders don’t go to midnight movies.

I heard that the shooter wore body armor.  That may save your life, but it won’t save your arms, legs, shoulder or neck.  Few helmets have bullet-proof face shields.  A broken limb or a neck wound usually takes you out of the fight.  It probably would have stopped this shooter.  Yes, you can shoot a concealed carry pistol in low light and at night.

I know what a security plan looks like,  but the theater only put up a sign.

They did not establish a physically secure perimeter to control entry and exit from the theater.
They did not control access through locked, alarmed and monitored gates.
They did not establish a gun check-in area with locked storage for firearms brought by their patrons.
They did not have a guard question each patron, each employee and each deliveryman who entered the theater complex.
They did not search each handbag, backpack and each load of goods delivered to the complex.
They did not pat down each patron, employee and deliveryman to conduct a physical search for batons and impact weapons.
They did not inspect each patron, employee and deliveryman with a magnetometer for guns, knives or other edge weapons.
They did not establish ballistic barriers behind which their patrons could hide.
They did not have a local emergency call buttons or emergency lighting in each theater.
They did not form a security plan to minimize  the risk to their patrons.
They did not educate each new employee to implement their security plan.
They did not train their staff with regular security exercises so they would react properly to an active shooter.

Putting up a sign made their patrons more vulnerable by disarming them.  Theater management put up a sign and decided their lawyers, risk managers and their insurance company could deal with any problems after the loss.

Well, let us see how that legal theory works out.  Maybe Cinemark can find a sympathetic judge in Boulder, Colorado.  As for me, I hope plaintiff’s lawyers take everything they have.


I can’t put up pictures to make this more pointed and poignant.  I don’t have the stomach for it, so  search the web yourself.

I very much hope I’m wrong about all this.  Yeah, I’d like some comments.

Robert the angry and hurt

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2012 7:34 pm

    That’s about the size of it. Put up signs and guys like you and I will check weapons at the door. Businesses, who disarm their customers and then take no action to guarantee compliance should be liable (but we both know they wont be)

    I share your hurt and anger. The more these events happen the more I realize that self-defense is not only a right but a responsibility.


  2. Andrew Zappone permalink
    July 20, 2012 8:06 pm

    From films we see that, in the old west, there was much gun violence. Well, that’s only because violence always sells a movie. It’s not true. Crime in the ‘old west’ was minimal.

    Crime rates we not low because of law enforcement. They were low because criminals don’t like potential victims who can shoot back.

    The most famous historical gunplay in the old west was the gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. It’s not a coincidence that the law in Tombstone, the Earp brothers, were enforcing strict gun control in the town. This insured only the bad guys and the law were armed.

    Guns and alcohol (or drugs) don’t mix well. It seems the friend of the Earps, Dr. John Holiday was permitted to be armed despite his drug and alcohol use.


  3. July 21, 2012 12:11 pm

    Reblogged this on fields685 and commented:
    Interesting read


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