Movies are the medium through which people escape from the real world, so to what extent should the fantasy world be protected from the cold world that greets audiences with the light outside of theater doors?
At the midnight premier of the “Dark Knight Rises” on July 20, 2012, James Holmes opened fire on a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 and injuring countless others. 1,200 miles away I sat in another theater with no idea of the fear and grief caused by the deadly attack.
The next morning, amid tears, all my mom could think was that while I was in one theater, I could have easily been the other.
There is no doubt in my mind that my experience was not unique in the wake of the shooting, and I am certain that it will not be the last time a mother says, “What if….”
This summer had two instances of violence in movie theaters, the first in Lafayette, La., where 11 people were shot, two of whom were killed, and the second in Antioch, Tenn., where one person was injured by a hatchet, and the shooter was killed by authorities, according to CNN.
When a news story repeats itself time after time a pattern emerges: a mass of people, an unstable individual and no security.
Regal Entertainment group has recently implemented a policy of possibly searching bags and barring patrons to enter with large bags, but in general, most theaters have few security measures in place. In a survey of 250 people, conducted by research firm C4 R&D, more than one-third support the implementation of security measures like bag checks, security personnel and/or metal detectors.
Theaters are one of the last public venues that have not increased security in the post-9/11 world with measures in place at ballparks, airports, and even schools. In Holmes’ diary, Time Magazine reports the convicted murderer debated whether he should attack an airport or a movie theater but decided against the former because it has “substantial security.”
There are flaws in security, notably concealed carry laws which can be flexible in certain states. Regardless of varying views on gun control, is it not reasonable to know if the person sitting next to you is carrying a hatchet?
Eighty-five percent of the C4 survey say that the Lafayette shooting would not impact their movie habits, so if people are still going to movies, the only way to insure another Aurora does not occur is through security.
In an ideal world, audiences should be allowed to watch a movie and escape from the world without needing to keep tabs on someone every time he goes to the concession counter. However, until we live in an ideal world, perhaps it is time to expect the worse and hope for the best.