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Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie 1431

Posted by timothy
from the remember-you-can-only-trust-cops-with-guns dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports that an argument over texting ended in a cellphone user's death when a retired police officer in the audience shot him in a theater near Tampa, Florida on Monday. The report notes that 'cinema executives acknowledged during a trade conference last year that they debated whether to accommodate younger viewers by allowing text messages during some movies.'"
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Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie

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  • by korbulon (2792438) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:17AM (#45951763)
    Cell phones or guns: take your pick.
  • Double bind (Score:5, Funny)

    by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:17AM (#45951769) Homepage Journal

    Texter gets what he deserves vs. more cop brutality. My brain can't handle it.

    • Re:Double bind (Score:5, Insightful)

      by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:20AM (#45951815) Homepage Journal

      It's not hard: shooting people in theaters because you are mentally disturbed makes you a horrible monster. Shooting people in theaters for doing something that annoys you makes you a hero.

      I wish I could say that this was 100% sarcasm.

    • Re:Double bind (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DodgeRules (854165) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:24AM (#45951893)

      The local reports state that the movie hadn't even started yet when this happened.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      It was a retired cop.

      And I do wonder why people would carry a gun when going to the movies.

      • by ThatsDrDangerToYou (3480047) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:32AM (#45952031)
        Because freedom!
      • Re:Double bind (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:32AM (#45952037)

        It was a retired cop.

        And I do wonder why people would carry a gun when going to the movies.

        Aurora, Colorado. If there had been one armed ex cop in the theater, probably less than 12 people would have died.

        • by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:40AM (#45952195) Homepage Journal

          Because only six people were texting that day?

        • Re:Double bind (Score:5, Insightful)

          by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:42AM (#45952249)

          In this case, had there been one less armed ex cop in the theater, there would be one less dead person.

    • Re:Double bind (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lexlthr (2038974) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:43AM (#45952251)

      Texter gets what he deserves vs. more cop brutality. My brain can't handle it.

      Really? He deserves to be shot to death for texting his 3-year old during the previews? The PREVIEWS! His child has no father now because the stupid old man couldn't let it go. I've watched the previews before while someone ahead of me is texting - you look UP to see the movie, DOWN to see the phone in the row ahead of you. I can't believe how many posts are applauding this - a man is dead.

      • Re:Double bind (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Common Joe (2807741) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @02:29PM (#45955363) Journal

        Texter gets what he deserves vs. more cop brutality. My brain can't handle it.

        Really? He deserves to be shot to death for texting his 3-year old during the previews? The PREVIEWS! His child has no father now because the stupid old man couldn't let it go. I've watched the previews before while someone ahead of me is texting - you look UP to see the movie, DOWN to see the phone in the row ahead of you. I can't believe how many posts are applauding this - a man is dead.

        You got a +5 insightful for your concern as have a few others. You're horrified that someone can make fun of something like this. Unfortunately, no one has responded to your concern and rebutted with a legitimate response. I will.

        GP never condoned what happened. He was spot on with a good joke. Actually, GP was sheer genius because he did more than crack a joke in 14 words. He made several comments about our society if you look deeper: people being rude to one another (in this case, texting at the movies), a person mentally unable to have a gun has a gun, an ex-cop who can't handle a gun properly, police brutality in today's society, and maybe the inability of people (in this case the cop) who need mental help that aren't getting the help they need because of health care issues or societal stigmas. I applaud GP.

        There's a time and place for dark-humor jokes. Slashdot is an ok spot as it is unlikely that the victims of this atrocity will come to the comments section of this particular article... even if they read Slashdot. Our unwritten Slashdot rules are concerning dark humor is jokes don't make them too gruesome. I like to crack jokes about people who really died and I laugh at them. It's the only way I can make it through life without going crazy... and I mean literally crazy. Do you know who the worst offenders are about dark humor? Police officers. Firemen. Paramedics. Military. The people who see the most gruesome that life has to offer. I picked up my sense of humor from my father who saw lots of dead bodies in his profession. They aren't the only ones who laugh at stuff like this, though. Lots of people love to laugh at those who are honored with the Darwin Awards. How many people on Slashdot crack jokes about stupid users in tech support? It's the same thing. We have to. It's the only way most of us can survive the perpetual onslaught that life gives us.

        Is it morally wrong to make fun of this kind of situation? No, generally it is not. Did something horrible happen? Absolutely. Should the guy have been shot? Absolutely not. Not even if he were texting during the movie. There are some situations where it is morally wrong to crack dark-humor jokes. True story example: Motorcycle accident occurred at high rate of speed, guy flipped over and became road pizza. (He died.) One cop cracks a joke about what happened in front of the family because he didn't know said family member was standing next to him. Was the cop wrong for making jokes in front of the family? Absolutely. Should the cop be disciplined? Absolutely. Was the cop wrong for making a joke about the situation? No. He should be allowed to make jokes even about awful real-life situations. He just needs to be absolutely sure of his surroundings.

        Most of my family and friends were affected by Katrina. Why shouldn't I and they be able to make light of what happened there? Why shouldn't the rest of the country?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Parents on a night out to relax together, notably not bringing their children to the theater with them (would that also have drawn this bastards ire?) sent one last text to their child at home before the PREVIEWS ended and the movie began. Lets drop the *golf clap* and other snide remarks praising a murderer that destroyed a family.

      I take this one pretty personally for multiple reasons: My wife and I love to go see a movie to relax and unwind while the kids stay home with a baby sitter, and only 2 years a

  • Only in America (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:18AM (#45951787)

    If a fight broke out in a british cinema, there'd be a punch-up, the police would be called and someone would be spending the night in the cells. In America you get shot. Thank fuck i'm british.

    • This was a retired cop. Police in America are privileged to wield guns whereever and whenever basically. And truth be told, law officers have a far poorer record than concealed carry permit holders.

      • by bugs2squash (1132591) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:55AM (#45952475)
        This was the poster child "good guy with a gun". Clearly we need to get more guns into the hands of bad guys to prevent these senseless tragedies.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:15PM (#45952827)

          This was the poster child "good guy with a gun".

          I respectfully disagree. Retired police officers do not undergo background checks nor are they required to submit evidence of training or qualification before getting 50 state concealed carry for life. To the best of my knowledge, no police officer undergoes any kind of background check or psychological screening when they retire. My point being that where I live, a typical citizen undergoes an evaluation every 5 years whether they can qualify to concealed carry. Moreover, there's a 20-point list of stipulations that would immediately disqualify them. At the same time, active duty or retired police are given concealed carry without any review whatsoever. Meanwhile, stories abound of one-off incidents of individuals who probably should not have qualified to be police officers in the first place abusing the authority given them. This is one of them.

    • Re:Only in America (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zerobeat (628744) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:16PM (#45952837) Homepage
      You know I have to disagree with the "Score:0, Flamebait" on this post. It points out a very relevant point. In poor, third world countries with corrupt policing you see this sort of thing.... and the USA. But not else where. Why is life so cheap in the US? This isn't in Mendellin, Colombia or Waziristan. But I guess for some people it is.
      • Re:Only in America (Score:4, Insightful)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:47PM (#45956695)
        Indeed. Look at the rate of gun homicides per capita. [wikipedia.org] The US is 13th on that list (when you sort by decreasing homicides).

        The countries ahead of us: Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica, Swaziland, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa , Panama, Mexico, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Costa Rica

        The US has 6 gun homicides per 100k people, the closest country we'd consider "safe" and "developed: is Luxembourg with 0.6. You'll also notice that a lot of countries on the list ahead of us are countries where we're funding and arming both sides of a drug war.

        There's a lot of likely contributors to that number. Full blown cancer isn't caused by one mutation, the economic collapse wasn't caused by one thing... relatively high gun violence in the US isn't caused by one thing like gun culture or wealth inequality either.
    • Re:Only in America (Score:4, Insightful)

      by smchris (464899) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:10PM (#45953829)

      That was my thought. He couldn't have just beaten the guy up?

    • Re:Only in America (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @03:26PM (#45956357)

      If a fight broke out in a british cinema, there'd be a punch-up, the police would be called and someone would be spending the night in the cells.

      As an American (and as a Texan who knows several people with concealed carry permits, including retired and former police officers), I can honestly say that until today, I'd have thought the same would be true in America. With the people I know who carry, I never suspected any of them were carrying until I happened to walk into an in-progress conversation about what types of holsters they used, and realized that they were all using them right then. And that's how it tends to work: there are people carrying all around, I guess, but you'd never know it 99.9% of the time (if you're a layperson who wasn't trained to recognize someone carrying), since those people understand what's at stake, take their responsibility seriously, and know that there are laws barring them from even hinting to someone else that they are carrying.

      In America you get shot.

      This whole story is just weird, but it's not at all indicative of a typical occurrence. There's a reason something like this is newsworthy: it's incredibly bizarre and abhorrent (well, that, and the original article's reporting was also rather abhorrent, since it tried to twist an insane gun tragedy into a cell phone etiquette debate with this line which they later removed, "The killing underscored the increased debate about when to use smartphones in public").

      I'm not trying to suggest that America is a perfect place, free of gun violence. Let's be clear: it's not. But your sort of generalization isn't helpful either, since it overexaggerates an outlier, rather than recognizing that America's gun violence problem has seen a massive decline over the past two decades [pewsocialtrends.org], one which, ironically, has largely gone unnoticed (in fact, according to that report, the vast majority of Americans believe that the problem has gotten worse or stayed the same, despite the fact that the violence has been halved since 1993).

  • Not "during movie" (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:19AM (#45951807)

    He was texting during the previews, which, unless things have gotten even worse, do not constitute "the movie". Get your headlines right.

    • He was texting during the previews

      You mean before the 3D cartoon advising to turn off cell phones? Then he was not given adequate warning.

  • by Freedom Bug (86180) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:21AM (#45951839) Homepage

    Note that the title is wrong -- he was shot for texting during the previews, not during the movie itself.

  • by unimacs (597299) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:23AM (#45951867)
    He was shot as result of an altercation that started over his use of a cellphone.

    I don't know if the shooter ever felt that his life was in danger or not but that will likely be his defense. In any case this is another instance where a simple argument turns into a murder because somebody was carrying a gun and either panicked or allowed their anger to get the better of them.
    • by PortHaven (242123) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:32AM (#45952041) Homepage

      He went out to his car and retrieved his firearm. The question will be asked, if you were concerned for your safety....why did you return to the theater?

      • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:31PM (#45953083) Journal
        Living in the area and having been to that particular theater and having watched this unfold locally, I would like you to provide a link to a reputable news source that states that. Every news source I have seen states Reeves either left the theater to talk to a manager or simply left the theater and came back a short time later. And, in all cases, Oulson confronts Reeves about Reeves possibly reporting him to the management.
  • Dead (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hypotensive (2836435) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:23AM (#45951869)
    In English: shot dead. "Shot to death" implies a long and lingering shooting, with many small bullets that cause you to gradually lose your grasp on life.
    • Re:Dead (Score:5, Informative)

      by GungaDan (195739) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:28AM (#45951955) Homepage

      Congratulations! You win the award for most incorrect obnoxious pedantry of the day. "Shot to death" is a perfectly acceptable phrasing.

      • Re:Dead (Score:5, Funny)

        by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:13PM (#45952763)

        Congratulations! You win the award for most incorrect obnoxious pedantry of the day.

        I won't enter the debate, but I must say that I find it extremely distressing to see how lightly you treat the topic.

        There are people who spend long hours and enormous efforts to achieve that award. I demand a fair and accountable judging panel to take the decision in such matters.

  • by FilmedInNoir (1392323) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:42AM (#45952237)
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/ex-police-officer-curtis-reeves-shoots-dead-chad-oulson-texting-cinema-1432197 [ibtimes.co.uk]
    This way you can decide guilt and innocence based solely on physical appearance like Reddit does.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:47AM (#45952329)

    I know its only one example, but it supports my personal theory that US cops are programmed by their job to think that you can fix every problem with a gun, and that they are arrogant enough to think that shooting people is always OK if you are (or maybe ever were) a cop.

    The texter was very much in the wrong too though. Every movie I've ever been to includes at least one info-trailer to let people know that phoning and texting are not OK in the theater. For all you saying it was 'only' during the previews, the trailer never says anything about "only during the main movie". And what about people who enjoy watching the previews?

    >> "The man using the phone explained to the irritated man that he was simply texting his 3-year-old daughter"

    This made me laugh as it so represents the apparent socialised blame culture in the US...like somehow the age/gender/personal relationship of the recipient is somehow now a justifiable reason for why everyone should put up with his selfishness. ..and what kind of parent gives their 3 year old kid a cellphone anyway?

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:51AM (#45952411) Homepage

    They are no different than Street gang thugs. Even retired they believe they are above the law.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:47PM (#45953369) Journal
    I live in the area and have been watching this unfold in the local news. I am amazed at the comments coming from users who are apparently basing their comments on this one report and their preconceived assumptions.

    Let's have some facts:
    • The shooter, Reeves, is 71. The victim, Oulson, was 43. Oulson's wife is 33.
    • Reeves left the theater for a short time. There are no reports locally that he went to retrieve his gun. There are reports that he went to get a manager.
    • Once Reeves returned, he was confronted by Oulson as to whether Reeves reported Oulson to the manager. It was at this time that a physical altercation ensued and Oulson was shot.
    • All reports I have seen say a bag of popcorn was thrown. Some reports seem to indicate that Oulson threw the bag of popcorn at Reeves.
    • Reeves shot once, hitting Oulson in the chest. Oulson's wife was shot in the hand because her hand was between the gun and Ouslon's chest.

    There is a very recent article [tbo.com] about Reeve's appearance in court and what

  • by gerardrj (207690) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @02:06PM (#45954901) Journal

    I just don't understand how the shooter thought that discharging a firearm inside a crowded movie theater was in any way going to aid in his effort to quietly watch the previews and later feature presentation.
    In what possible way was shooting another patron NOT going to stop the projection, evacuate the theater and end up with the shooter at least detained if not arrested and in jail for the next few hours?

    Did he really think: "Well, if I just shoot this one guy then we can get on with the rest of the film?

    There must be some mental instability lurking in there somewhere: anger/rage issues, delusions, drug use, etc.

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