Film and TV

Would You Submit to Pat-Downs and Metal Detectors at the Movies?

This morning the nation woke to the news of the shooting and slaughter inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater last night during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. This whole sad incident reminded people that nowhere is safe these days from horrific violence and the crazed machinations of an unstable person.

Our own Terrence McCoy reported on the shooting this morning on the Hair Balls blog. The shooting began about 15 minutes into the showing.

Of course, this morning there was also offhand talk of installing body scanners, metal detectors and mandatory pat-downs at theaters across the country, much like the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does in airports and cruise ships.

Who would have thought the day would come that a movie theater, where we go to escape for a few hours, would become deadly? I'm sure the folks eating at Luby's in Killeen on October 16, 1991, thought the same thing, too.

Would you go to the movies if safeguards like this were installed? I know plenty of people who would rather stay in the comfort of their homes and watch DVDs or NetFlix than be subjected to searches, no matter what the reason.

This could lead to more scrutiny for attendees of other public events. As it stands now, only a few music venues and sporting events have security patting and wanding of the public as they make their way into the buildings. Sometimes it is at the discretion of the team or the performer, and judgment calls are made based on the demographics of fans.

Let's just say no one gets frisked and wanded at a Disney On Ice show, but you will get a good pat-down at a Slayer show.

Violence in and around movie houses is not a new thing. There was a stabbing at a showing of Shutter Island in 2010, and gang violence claimed a life during a showing of Boyz n the Hood in 1991. Not to mention all the fights and arguing that are prevalent whenever people are stuck next to each other in a public place.

Events like this will more than likely keep pushing us all back into the safety of our homes and the Internet to consume feature films. The film industry is already hurting due to piracy, and this will only make it more difficult for exhibitors to make money, but they aren't sympathetic characters since they charge $20 for a bag of popcorn and you need to get credit approval to see a 3D film these days.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty