Fear of a common pastime: Prevention of movie theater shootings

Gun laws have been somewhat of a controversy as of recent, due to the various shootings across the country. The U.S. has been split down the middle as many people are calling for more regulations, while others are supporting the right to bare arms. Within the last three weeks, there have been two shootings at movie theaters. This issue produces the question, what steps should be taken to keep us safe while in movie theaters?

The country was shocked on July 23, when news of a movie theater shooting took place in Lafayette, La. Most citizens immediately thought of the Aurora shooting, which took place back in 2013. In the July shooting, a man brought in a concealed handgun into a movie theater  and targeted movie goers. In all two people were killed and nine were injured. The two victims killed were 21 year old Mayci Breaux and 33 year old Jillian Johnson. Being so young, one can only think that their own children or loved ones can be gone like that. Once the police force arrived, the cornered man committed suicide.

A few weeks later, the controversy began to fade away as other issues arose. That was until August 5th, when another individual  attempted the very same act in Nashville.  Armed with a hatchet and pellet gun, the man pepper sprayed three people and injured another with the hatchet. The gunner was shot down by police and pronounced dead at the scene.

It’s evident that the kairos, or audience that this matters to, is just about every American. On one side the gun rights activists are in favor for keeping full rights to have guns, while other Americans are becoming frightened and want safety for them and their families. I myself think that an increase in security may need to commence. Going to the cinema is one of the greatest escapes a person can do. The last thought on a moviegoers mind should be anything safety related, as they should be focused on the  movie while relaxing. If no steps are made, the idea of relaxation would become obsolete as people continue to live in fear.

Metal detectors would be a very viable option. It’s the first step that would prevent weapons from being carried into the movie theaters. Some politicians have begun making the move towards this. South Carolina Rep. Wendell Gilliard spoke out on the issue, stating that a bill in being constructed that will require metal detectors be implemented into movie theaters in South Carolina.

Stronger security should also be implemented as people continue to terrorize moviegoers. In Newport beach, several suspects entered a theater via a fire exit to “prank” people. With a leaf blower, a man pretended to be armed with a chainsaw. By stepping into the minds of the audience present you could only imagine what they were thinking. After two recent theater attacks, an overwhelming amount of fear would arise with the sight of what looks like another attacker. People panicked to the point of trampling others, injuring three individuals in the process. If security was present, the suspects would’ve most likely not been able to enter the theater.

The use of metal detectors and increased security is one initiative that many people are supporting. An article in Variety covered such opinions; however their data seemed to not support their argument as strong as it could have been. A study showed that a third of moviegoers would like bags to be searched before entering a theater, and 34% wouldn’t mind paying the an extra fee for an increase in security. This opposes the obstacle of even higher movie prices for personal safety. Objections have been proclaimed that metal detectors could push moviegoers away from movie theaters due to this raised price.

Metal detectors have already been implemented at most sporting arenas as well as some schools across the nation. An argument can be made about privacy or going overboard, but it shouldn’t stop politicians from pushing towards the extra safety precautions. Metal detectors should be the next and final step towards security, for body scans like in airports are pushing the boundaries. If security starts to go out of hand, the magic and safe feeling of the theaters will cease to occur. Safety is the number one concern for the citizens of the country, but privacy shouldn’t be overlooked. Security isn’t the only major aspect that should be investigated, as other components are just as viable to the issue of shootings.

Mental illness has been thrown into many discussions relating to mass shootings. According to various sources, the Nashville Vincent Montano suspect was suffering from mental issues. His mother stated that he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, which may be the reason why he attacked innocent people. Word that Montano’s mother reported his son missing two days prior to the incident was also said. Vincent Montano has had a run in with the authorities several times. He was committed in total four times, including resisting arrest and assault. Although Montano didn’t have an actual gun, it’s safe to say that mental illness can be held responsible for most crimes. There seems to be a lack of focus on mental stability in the country, which can be seen on a day to day basis. Just about every person has seen a homeless individual who is suffering from a mental illness. The country has turned their back on the people who need help the most, which only makes the matter worse. Without compassion and aid, these people are left alone to suffer or even worse attack others.

A counter argument would be that people use mental illness as a scapegoat to lessen terms in prison; however that shouldn’t be the initial thought when someone proclaims a mental illness. Yes people can say they are ill when reality they aren’t, but that isn’t a reason to disregard the component completely. Doctors should put more care in their patients to prevent these incidents from happening or at least minimizing it. Instead of removing guns all together, the focus should be on mental illness and how individuals can be treated.

While many people are requesting for stricter laws, the NRA suggests that more guns should be put on the streets in an effort to prevent these attacks. Several local Lafayette individuals spoke out on the matter along with the article’s writer Lorena O’Neil in a very opinionated article. O’Neil said , “residents aren’t talking about gun control in the wake of the tragedy; rather, they say if someone that was properly trained had been in the theater, he or she could have stopped Houser from shooting as many people as he did. All of the locals interviewed agree that if others had concealed weapons, then the assault would have been prevented. In other words, instead of installing metal detectors or placing gun control laws, allow everyone who is applicable to have a concealed weapon. To be honest, having more guns in people’s hands wouldn’t be the best tactic to prevent shootings. Indeed there will be a larger number of protection in public areas, but it also raises the chance of another incident occurring.

A much better way to go about the situation is to implement harsher gun laws. Rather than taking away guns from civilians, more in depth background checks and extensive gun classes should be seen across the nation. This would weed out the individuals who are unstable or act on impulses.

Looking at all the proposed steps, there are many options to eliminate or at least lessen these horrific attacks on innocent people. For best results, I think that each step has their own positive spin on the matter. No one aspect should be focused more on, as many factors come into play. In simple, the country should work towards stronger security, better care for the mentally ill as well as stricter gun laws. Not everyone will be happy, be when safety comes into play it’s hard to argue.

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One Comment to “Fear of a common pastime: Prevention of movie theater shootings”

  1. I don’t see how metal detectors would help prevent movie theater shootings. The shooter from the Aurora, Colorado incident came in through an emergency exit, so a metal detector wouldn’t have prevented it from occurring. I think after Aurora, the media has a knee-jerk reaction to pounce on any kind of violence that occurs in a movie theater. I don’t see movie theater safety as a problem; I see the media constantly publicizing these incidents, showcasing the shooter, talking about the motives, and stuff like that to be the true problem. The Nashville incident wouldn’t even have made a blip in the news if the Aurora trial and the Lafayette shooting weren’t being talked about. And for all we know, if the media wasn’t even talking about it, then maybe Vincent Montano wouldn’t have even gotten the idea of going into a movie theater in the first place.

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