Archive for Friday, July 20, 2012

No security changes at Lawrence theater after Colorado massacre

July 20, 2012


Lawrence residents are still going to the movies this weekend — and theaters don’t appear to be taking any special precautions.

Twelve people were killed and 59 wounded in a shooting during a late-night screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” early Friday morning at a megaplex in Aurora, Colo. News outlets and social media were flooded with coverage, speculation and outcry throughout the day. Ahead of the 2:30 p.m. screening at Hollywood Theaters, 3433 Iowa, people continued to line up, aware of the national tragedy but, as Brian Grover put it, “thinking of it as a freak, isolated thing to happen.”

Many multiplexes across the country stepped up security, having employees search through bags before entry. In New York, police officers stood outside some 40 theaters, according to a report from The Associated Press. But in Lawrence, no such precautions.

Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police spokesman, said there were no plans in place to devote officers to any Lawrence theaters. Private companies wanting extra security would have to hire off-duty officers or other private security services, he said.

Jon Ratzlaff, general manager of the theater, said that his security policies would remain the same — security guards on the grounds during the weekends. Staff members there check larger bags, he said, but not handbags, and that will continue.

Ratzlaff said that he didn’t want to speak to the Journal-World further in an effort to not bring negative publicity; nor would he say whether ticket sales had been affected. He said Hollywood’s corporate headquarters told him not to talk about events in Colorado. Several messages to the Portland-based company’s head of marketing were not returned.

Hollywood Theaters has some branches in Colorado but does not own the one in which the shooting took place.

Here in Lawrence, moviegoer Kendall Kraus still looked forward to her Friday afternoon entertainment. She felt safe here as she waved hello to a friend also arriving for the Batman blockbuster.


Steve Jacob 5 years, 9 months ago

I think all theaters should have only one way out. Many people go through the lobby exit doors, those need to be "emergency exit only".

meggers 5 years, 9 months ago

That wouldn't work too well in the event of a fire...or a mass shooting. Some of the people in the theater escaped from the same exit the shooter entered. The multiple exits probably saved some lives.

dipweed 5 years, 9 months ago

The perpetrator in this case left through the emergency exit, but propped the door open so he could get back in. There should be a mechanism to prevent this somehow, maybe an alarm of some sort that sounds if the door is left open for a set period of time.

Evan Ridenour 5 years, 9 months ago

Treating the doors as actually emergency exits and enforcing it by tying the doors with alarms would solve that specific problem.

Steve Jacob 5 years, 9 months ago

You can't walk into your childs school anymore without checking in, an Columbine was 13 yers ago.

bandito 5 years, 9 months ago

Take down the "gun free" zone signs that advertise for a psycho shooter to come and get away with it. The Aurora shooting took place in a "gun free" zone. Clearly psycho mass murderers are concerned with breaking a gun law! Dumbest thing ever! If people were packing heat he wouldn't have killed 12

ksjayhawk74 5 years, 9 months ago

You're delusional. More guns does not solve the problem.

By your logic, if everyone carried a gun with them everywhere, there would be no more violence... Does not compute.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Yes. Clearly all that theater needed was more people shooting randomly into the foggy darkness.

ksjayhawk74 5 years, 9 months ago

The attack on Gabby Giffords happened in Arizona where all you have to so to get a gun is want one... Yet it still happened and the people that did stop the shooter were unarmed, one of them was an small old lady.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Well, there was the one armed guy who came later onto the scene and helped subdue the shooter. However, he came within two seconds of shooting the wrong person. By the time he got there, the shooter had been disarmed and he mistook the person with the gun for the bad guy. A natural mistake, but one that could have added to the tragedy.

AreUKiddingMe 5 years, 9 months ago

Why would they need to up secuity?? I agree A complete knee jerk reation. As bad as wally world talking about pulling the toys off the shelfs. The movie had nothig to do with this mad mans actions "the joker" had nothing to do with this guy going off the deep end. It looks like that happened LONG before

Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 9 months ago

You say knee jerk reaction I say peace of mind in bigger city where a copy cat could and in some cases has happened. dipweed those kind of devices for doors are out there and I am sure be put in play for the exit doors inside each theater to alarm if left open, I know many hospitals and nursing homes use them. I know people say not here would never happen but remember this guys was from cali and was only there for school so?

DillonBarnes 5 years, 9 months ago

A copycat crime is a real threat, but a copycat crime isn't so much about emulating the previous scenario, but achieving the same level of recognition and attention. Extra security make you feel better, but realistically, you're not much safer. A person who is committed to causing this violence will find a way.

Christine Pennewell Davis 5 years, 9 months ago

I do not live in fear larry just saying this why some people want the extra security and alarm on door not a bad idea just on principal of kids being kids, sneaking in friends, sent my kiddo to movie today no big deal and for the most part do not have any fears of living here never have. And cloudy is cloudy when I hear the thunder then I make sure not to be under the tree. Dillon you are right one way or another they do but if it makes people feel better for awhile do it, people will forget by next week when something else happens or the big party starts.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 9 months ago

The shooter bought a ticket and went into the theater like everyone else. If I am understanding this right he put on the swat gear after he was in, so did he carry all of that and the weapons though the lobby and down the hall.

That would have been a pretty big bag and obviously not checked. Or did he prop the door open to get the stuff that he had stashed. Why did no one notice him putting on the swat gear?

I always go out though the lobby exit doors, I thought that is what they are there for.

This is a movie movie if you know what I mean, best seen on the big screen. Beyond great.

northtowngrl 5 years, 9 months ago

According to news reports late this afternoon, he bought a ticket, sat in the front row and either took a call or pretended to and stood by the emergency door. While over there he somehow propped it open, then left about 15 mins into the movie (by the propped open emergency door) got dressed in his gear out at the car and brought is tear gas and gun in and got it going on. people in the third row saw the light from outside as he came back in just before all hell let loose.

For this reason, I think that those emergency doors should be alarmed or monitored, If for no other reason than to impede unauthorized access even if its just sneaking your friends into a free movie.

dipweed 5 years, 9 months ago

What is it with fresh air and mountain scenery that brings out the nut-jobs?

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Some of those nut-jobs don't actually live in Lawrence, and it's easier to type incoherently than it is to drive in from Linwood.

triplegoddess13 5 years, 9 months ago

There was more security at the theater today. Even on a weekend I've never seen any security inside each movie theater as well as outside in the main lobby.

doc1 5 years, 9 months ago

What a kneejerk reaction. No need for beefed up security.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 5 years, 9 months ago

Businesses with no gun signs let killers and nut cases know it is open season in there, and they will face no armed resistance. Unless an off duty armed peace officer happens to be in there. Certain places like courthouses, jails, etc. need to be no gun areas, but they usually have armed peace officers inside. Other businesses need to think hard about what putting a no gun sign in the window can mean and be prepared for the consequences. I bet the theater in Aurora, CO is realizing it, they will be sued many times over this.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

I do not get this argument. At all. The guy put on protective armer, so he was already prepared for armed resistance. Having more armed people to shoot in the hazy darkness would have just increased the body count.

Missingit 5 years, 9 months ago

Chootspa, I do not know about you but I do not randomly fire. As I have seen combat I know enough to fire back at muzzle flash. Next if you are being shot at, even if you are in body armor, you either find cover or engage that new target. If he was shooting at me then his rounds would be focused on 1 target. Plus police were on scene in 30-60 seconds. If one person engaged him for 10 seconds then perhaps there would have been less death and carnage!

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

So you happen to be the hero moviegoer in this hypothetical story and not some random person attending the show with no combat experience. You happened to immediately recognize that this was gunfire and not part of the movie special effects. You shoot toward the correct muzzle fire in the caustic fog that's tearing up your eyes, and you correctly guess the muzzle of the actual shooter and not that of any other people who had a similar reaction. You also manage to not take out the other people in the theater in close proximity or have your bullets go through the thin theater walls and hit other innocent moviegoers. The shooter, who was not militarily trained, happened to act in a rational manner and not like someone trying to commit suicide by cop, and you managed to make less death and carnage for the few seconds of ammo you have, since you didn't happen to take your 100 round clip into the theater that night. Meanwhile, the terrified audience is totally clear on which direction to flee, since having multiple shooters doesn't at all confuse the situation.

That about sum it up?

Happyfeet1971 5 years, 9 months ago

Last night I took kids to see Ice Age 3D movie. The lines for Dark Knight were long and there was a posted armed security guy there. Of course our theater room had less than 10 people in it. What I found odd, was a teenage guy sitting in the back row that seemed too old for this film with no kids. He didn't have on 3D glasses and spent most of the movie working on something with his cell phone as a light. I was close enough to see that it wasn't anything nasty happening, but his actions were suspicious. He may have been just trying to waste time until he could sneak into the batman movie, I don't know.

wtfusa 5 years, 9 months ago

They definitely had an armed mil-spec security guy posted when I saw the afternoon showing of the Dark Knight

Missingit 5 years, 9 months ago

You are soooo right chootspa. The shooter had a mask on that makes his vision great, which in smoke only fler does that, but he hit at least 71 people!! 71 people!! That means he was probably not just randomly hip firing his rifle like you believe. So maybe someone could see?? Next you are right everyone could sit there frozen in fear and refuse to act! Perfect! Also the terrified audience was ALREADY terrified. The shooter came from a exit and fired a round an threw a smoke canister. Then he leveled the rifle. I am guessing the movie was going so there was light and after a couple of round I am sure most people would figure out who was continuously firing, say enough to hit 71 people. Sit at home and quarterback a situation I am guessing u have no knowledge to quarterback. Or have u seen combat or had special training in combat? Have u ever been gased before, I was so I would have a clue what to do to try and see. . Also when people were being shot at they left the theater, aka sought cover, so it seems to me a shooter, rational manner, would do the same. He did not want to die or he would have engaged police when they came on scene.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

I didn't say he was randomly hip firing his rifle. That's a strawman, but let's go with that for a second. In a crowded theater, he could kill quite a few people by just aiming lots of bullets toward the crowd and having the element of surprise in his favor. He started firing during a shootout scene in the movie, and witnesses initially thought it was fireworks. Add more people shooting, and no, I'm not sure that someone would be able to figure out that other shooters weren't part of a conspiracy. Just because one person is continuously firing doesn't mean the other shots aren't coming from people trying to kill you.

I do undertand your urge to quarterback it by telling yourself how you would have responded in that situation, how you could have saved them or somehow made it better, but armchair quarterbacking is all you're doing. You've failed to convince me that adding more guns would have ameliorated the situation.

Armored_One 5 years, 9 months ago

One more reality to add, Choot, but I do agree with you much more than with Missing.

When the average citizen is encountering gunfire, they tend to react much like cochroaches when the lights come on. Mr. Heroic over there, attempting to preserve life, wouldn't just fire all willy-nilly, but would wait for at least a vaguely clear line of fire. Mr. Wacko was obviously not as interested in such nobility.

Or, to put it plainer, while yer waiting for the guy in front of you, climbing over the chairs in an attempt to get away, to get out of the way, said wacko would have no qualms shooting you.

It's also assuming that the college girls sitting behind you don't knock you to the ground, or worse, knock your gun out of your hand while climbing over you in a panic.

Missing wants to live in a fantasy world. Sadly, I'm still stuck in the real world with Choot. A fantasy world would probably have fewer bills, fewer politicians and a lot less stress. LOL

Missingit 5 years, 9 months ago

Just to be clear, 1 person can make a difference. If 1 person had a chance to fire a weapon at the individual perhaps there would be a different outcome. Also in this hypothetical story if someone had a gun I would hope it was someone trained in its use and versed with its capabilities. If 2 people were in the theater shotting at the shooter perhaps an innocent person became injured or killed. But perhaps just the shooter have have been stopped.But 1 person shooting at the shooter may have caused him pause allowing others to escape down those important lighted straight exit paths. But hey chootspa dont look at any other possibilities behind your pc. To me it is a horrible tragedy that I wish could have been averted. Both hypothetically and in reality!

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't think anyone but the shooter wanted the shooting to happen. One person can make a difference, sure, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'd make a positive difference. People die from friendly fire during holdups, and that's a lot more common of a situation to an encounter than a shooter on a killing spree.

Missingit 5 years, 9 months ago

I feel horrible for everyone involved loss.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 9 months ago

Do people still frequent Hollywood theatres in Lawrence? Given our town's size, we have the worst quality theatre around. This town is begging for aome competition.

JackMcKee 5 years, 9 months ago

Isn't that development across the river talking about a new movie theater? I know Schumm wants to block that development. He doesn't want any competition for his precious little downtown nest egg.

beatrice 5 years, 9 months ago

The theater shouldn't make any changes, either. This time it happened to be in a theater. Previously it has happened in restaurants, and in churches, and at schools, etc.... and next time it might be at a pee wee baseball game. We can't predict where the next attack will be. The fact is, in America today virtually anywhere you are there is the real possibility that at any moment someone might start firing off a weapon that might kill you. The odds are extremely tiny that it will happen to you, but we can no longer do anything about trying to stop it. It has happened before and it will happen again. It is part of being an American. Live with it.

JackMcKee 5 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence desperately needs a new movie theater. A modern one with dining options, adult beverages and IMAX would be nice. Hollywood has to be nearing 20 years old. A town of 100,000 residents should have a more respectable theater.

On the reaction to the shooting. I agree it is knee jerk and unwarranted. There should be alarms on the emergency exits. That's as far as security needs to be beefed up.

Mark Currie 5 years, 9 months ago

Jack, I have to agree with you here. Thanks

pwenke 5 years, 9 months ago

I attended the 9:30 showing of Batman on Friday evening. When we arrived at the theater, there were 2-3 LPD cars circling the parking lot. Inside the main lobby, there was one security guard, who looked to be from MILSPEC.

We sat in the upper level of the theater, 5 rows up. While watching the movie, about 30 minutes in (when the gunfire begins in the movie), a man in the first row of the upper level got out of his seat and then stood by the stairs at the left entrance/exit for the remainder of the movie.

Perhaps it's been a short while since I've been to a Friday evening movie in Lawrence, but I'm not sure how this constitutes "No security changes at Lawrence theater." I've never seen that kind of security at any movie I've ever been to.

I'm not arguing whether there should or shouldn't be heightened security at theaters after the event that took place; rather, I'm suggesting that this article might be factually inaccurate.

Bob Forer 5 years, 9 months ago

There are too many gun nuts in Kansas for a tragedy of the same magnitude to happen. If the guy had opened fire in a Lawrence theatre, there probably would have been ten or more Rambos in the audience pulling out their Glocks in response. The cross fire would have been horrific. Still would have been a lot of killed and injured, but not as many as in Colorado.

You don't response to events like this with increased security. You simply make it more difficult for the nuts to put their hands on guns.

beatrice 5 years, 9 months ago

There is not telling how adding more guns to the situation would have turned out. If multiple people are shooting in a smoke-filled, dark theater, think everyone would be able to tell the difference between the bad guy and the good guys? It is just as likely to imagine that more guns would have meant more deaths.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

I find it very odd that the first response here to this situation is for people to call for better security for theater exit doors.

I don't think that was the problem. He could have done the same thing in the parking lot, although it would have been somewhat easier for people to duck behind cars and so forth.

The problem is that a crazy person, although apparently not crazy enough that people noticed, was able to amass an arsenal of weapons and armor.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 9 months ago

You and I have discussed guns before, and I mostly agree with your post. I certainly don't think the mentally incompetent should be able to own guns. However, I think the focus should be more on identifying and helping these individuals before they start acquiring their weapons. Buying these weapons and planning the attack is a symptom of the illness, not a cause

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

I absolutely agree that this was a symptom, not a cause, but many time there were big signals that something was very wrong with a person. This time there didn't seem to be and that is what is scary.

I was thinking about the conversations that always come up at a time like this and why we can no longer seem to be able to have a rational one.

I expect to get thoroughly castigated and called ugly names for what I am going to say and that is part of the reason we can't have a reasonal conversation, but I am going to say it anyway.

Whenever any gun control is mentioned there is a very vocal contingent that starts yelling loudly about 2nd amendment rights. I don't know if they are a large majority, a small minority or somewhere inbetween, but it seems very evident that in a large part they are supported and even instigated by the NRA.

Now I strongly suspect the the NRA is less interested in 2nd amendment rights and more interested in the the bottom line of gun manufacturers and sellers, but they are able to get people worked up by saying things like: the president is going to take away your guns. So people buy up guns and ammunition in anticipation of something that the president can't do even if he wanted to.

Then I see posters on here, whenever there is a chance to talk about it, fantasizing about how they would blow someone away if they were in whatever situation. One often gets the feeling that they are just itching to do so.

Are there no reasonal compromises that can be made so that these kinds of things don't keep happening? It is really reasonable to think that more guns are the answer?

DillonBarnes 5 years, 9 months ago

I wouldn't be surprised if in the next few weeks we start hearing about more signs that people missed or ignored. There was a gun range owner who talked about how Holmes' voice mail message "spooked" him. I'm sure we'll hear about similar incidents, but I'm also confident some people won't admit to noticing a change because they feel guilty for not speaking up when they noticed.

I can tell you that there are many NRA members who are upset with their behavior over the last year or so. I joined the NRA because I believe in the 2nd Amendment, but it sure feels like they are in the Republican's pockets right now. They have been using fear tactics to try and scare the American people into voting Republican. Do they really support Mitt Romney for President? His record is no better than Obama's, yet they have been Obama bashing for months. As you can tell, I have my own problems with the NRA.

Never mistake willingness for "wanting-ness." After incidents like this, there people who say "I wish I had been in that theater." That is not because they want to kill someone, but because they believe they could have saved someone. There are definitely posters on here and other places who use the anonymity of the internet to chest thump about how willing they would be to use their firearm. The truth for many of them is that shooting someone is not something they actually look forward to. I am very willing to shoot someone who is threatening me or my family, that doesn't mean I WANT to kill anyone.

Finally, I'm willing to talk about what we can do to prevent future incidents, even changes to current gun policy. However, I generally won't support anything that makes it more difficult for the vast majority of law abiding gun owners to own or buy a gun. Also, many arguments I hear come from passionate individuals who just don't know that much about firearms. I was reading Jason Alexander's response to the Aurora incident, and he wanted to legislate against AR-15s. His post was filled with inaccuracies about AR-15s, the biggest being the idea that outlawing it would somehow stop these events. What compromises do you propose? I often read these posts about more gun control but they almost never come with any real ideas.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

I just received a rush project that was needed last month, so I don't have much time to answer you right now, but I think the first thing is that we have to come to some kind of agreement on what the 2nd amendment really means---and that right there is the rub.

As you well know, there is a fundamental disagreement on what those rights are.

You state that "I generally won't support anything that makes it more difficult for the vast majority of law abiding gun owners to own or buy a gun." But what do you mean by that? I am quite ignorant regarding firearms, but I do know there's a wide variety. Do you think that any law-abiding citizen should be able to stock pile anything and everything he/she wants? That would be where we part ways.

I would like to know what changes to current gun policy you would be willing to make. Also, why do you think the NRA is doing what it is doing?

Must get back to work---

DillonBarnes 5 years, 9 months ago

My belief on the 2nd Amendment comes from my own reading of it, reading text on it from the time it was written, and The D.C. vs. Heller decision. The Supreme Court ruled (just 4 years ago) the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual's right to own a firearm.

You say "stock-pile," I say collect. James Holmes used 3 guns, is that a stockpile? An individual can only use so many weapons at one time, what does it matter if he has 1 or 100? Or are you talking about stockpiling something else?

It's hard to say what changes I'm willing to make, I believe I have an open mind on the issue, but I've never been presented with an idea that makes much sense to me. It either restricts gun owners and/or wouldn't actually make a difference. Since I don't necessarily see guns as a problem, I don't think of ways to change it.

As for the NRA, who knows. I would hope there isn't some back room dealings going on, but I wouldn't put it past our politicians. Though Romney's record on guns is no better than Obama's, he's much less likely to get pressure from his party to institute some form of gun control, but it's still so much of an unknown, it doesn't quite constitute the hounding they've been giving Obama. I would suspect part of it is that the leaders of the organization may have let their personal feelings get in the way of their mission as an organization.

verity 5 years, 9 months ago

Somewhat related, and a tangent I will admit---what's with any number of women and their huge purses/bags?---which they often inadvertently use as a weapon because they don't realize where the purse is in relationship to them and to other people. After you've been battered by them while standing in line, you have to wait while they dig through it to find their billfold or their cell phone which they have set to play a whole very loud song. Then, at places where there is a security search, we all have to wait while they paw through the bags. May I suggest pockets?

OK, through with rant.

DillonBarnes 5 years, 9 months ago

Now that... I can't argue with that at all. :-)

Centerville 5 years, 9 months ago

I assume that everyone with a concealed carry permit is trained to react the way that guy in the internet cafe did: used both hands, advanced while firing and kept shooting at the perps. It was a heartwarming youtube experience!

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