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Crime Movies United States News

Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie 1431

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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Alomex ( 148003 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:27AM (#45951943) Homepage

    When I hear news like these I always wonder what type of idiot thinks that shooting the texter solves anything?

    Thank you for providing an answer.

    p.s. The shooter will spend the rest of his life in jail, how's that preferable to someone annoyingly texting in a movie?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:29AM (#45951973)

    So now a 3 year old girl is going to grow up without her daddy, and you think this is a good thing? Did the thought cross your mind that maybe, just possibly, annoyance is not a good enough reason to deprive this little girl of her daddy?

    I'm not saying he was a good man or that he didn't make a dumb mistake. But your cheering is disturbing.

    Sincerely hope you don't have a Coexist bumper sticker on your car, because you could sure take the advice of one.

  • 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 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 niftydude ( 1745144 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:33AM (#45952053)
    Yes, because shooting a 43 year old man and his wife is totally an appropriate response if one of them sends texts during a movie.

    I mean, since he was retired, the shooter would've paid around $10 for the privilege of being in that cinema. So he's entitled to shoot anyone who slightly annoys him during that time. Especially considering it was a Mark Wahlberg movie.

    That was sarcasm. But this isn't: You are an idiot.
  • by Jamu ( 852752 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:34AM (#45952079)
    Well he's not texting anymore. And the guy with the gun isn't shooting people anymore. I think this is a win for movie-go'ers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:37AM (#45952167)
    At least it shows how full of crap the NRA's argument is, that guns are safe as long as they're in the hands of well-trained "good guys".
  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:41AM (#45952227) Homepage Journal

    more like a case of old crazy guy still clinging to bringing his gun everywhere - for you know "protection" (dick enhancer, so he would have the balls to argue with some random dude at the movies during the fucking advertisements - for texting).

    now if someone had shot him for bringing the gun up...

  • 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.

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:43AM (#45952261)

    Yes, because the quality of the person is based on their manners at the movies.

    After RTFA there seems to be some confusion about the theater actually allowing texting.

    Still You don't shoot a person, you go the the manager and ask them to be removed. Or better yet, as Texting in the movie really isn't that distracting, ignore it, and try in enjoy yourself.

  • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:45AM (#45952295)

    Clearly you don't understand the argument then. Anyone who does something wrong with their gun is, by definition, no longer one of the good guys.

    Aside: I learned this a long time ago about police cars and fire trucks. They can only proceed through intersections with lights and sirens if it's clear to do so. If they hit something, it obviously wasn't clear to do so. The other guy may have some liability, but that won't necessarily excuse the fire truck driver.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:45AM (#45952297)

    He was texting during the previews, not the movie itself. When I go to the theater, plenty of people use their cellphones during the trailer previews. I assume they are just checking their messages one last time before silencing the phone. I have never seen anyone complain about that. Shooting someone for texting during the movie is fine with me, but shooting them for texting during the trailer previews is unjustified.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:45AM (#45952299)

    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 ago we lived in Wesley Chapel and that was our movie theater. It's a suburban neighborhood with good families and lots of kids go see movies there, though I'm sure from some of the comments here that teenagers who rarely exercise good judgement should be fair game for psychotic always-armed "I can shoot who I want because I'm a cop" murderers. I wish we could bring back the Roman execution styles and throw this son of a whore from a high cliff.

    On the petty and barely relevant question of texting during a movie, I would never take my phone out of my pocket during the movie, and always take the previews as my cue to put it away in the first place, but wouldn't expect trouble if I used the previews to send one last text to my kids. That really doesn't seem like it's taking your life in your hands, but these days it's hard to tell.

  • 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 Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:47AM (#45952333)
    You have a warped sense of entitlement. Shooting someone for texting is never justified.
  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:50AM (#45952397)

    Many people bought a ticket for whatever movie just to see the preview.

    I do think killing is a bit excessive but do your texting outside.

    If it's the previews, they've already shown the cell phone commercials to tell you to put the thing away or go outside. This doesn't justify the shooting, but probably a 43 year old assaulting a 71 year old because he's pissed off that the management was informed of his violation of theater policy could be; someone a few years over half my age would probably be able to kick my ass, and the wife was injured through her hand by the shot as she had her hand on the husbands chest attempting to restrain him, so it's likely that he's done this sort of flying off the handle before.

    And I am fairly certain we will hear over the coming days the couple involved was being obnoxious in other ways as well.

    I doubt that, though we may hear more about the husbands temper as third parties come forward with more information. Right now, the media is selling it as a victim story, which doesn't quite jibe with the idea that he was supposedly texting his 3 year old daughter (one has to wonder what kind of cell phone contract discount one can get for being 3 years old).

  • 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 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 @11:55AM (#45952489)

    Regardless of whether or not he retrieved his gun or had it on his person, any self-defense argument is moot because he was able to safely remove himself from the situation first. This is cold-blooded, premeditated murder. There is absolutely no excuse for this. There is no evidence that the texter posed an immediate, lethal threat (with a deadly weapon) to the murderer. There is, however, ample evidence that the texter did NOT pose a threat, because of the demonstrated aformentioned ability of the murderer to remove himself from the situation first.

    From IBT [ibtimes.co.uk]:

    Curtis Reeves has now been charged with second-degree murder

  • Cellphones during the movie was debated, but WEAPONS not?

    IF he was carrying legally, of course not. We dont debate the merits of cars when a drunk driver kills a family by doing stupid things with a car.

    bad people do bad things with inanimate objects. Talk about the REAL problem, (idiots) not the object.

  • by jrmcferren ( 935335 ) <robbie.mcferren@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:57AM (#45952517) Journal

    First I'm an NRA member myself. Second I didn't read the article, but by the summary this was in no way a self defense shooting and the perp should rot in jail. I am one that believes that self defense is a right granted by God the same way that freedom of speech and freedom of expression is granted. Wasting a life because somebody got pissed is not a good excuse. Now when it comes to movies personally I only go to the drive-in or watch Blu-Ray anymore and I even turn off my phone at the drive in as I don't want the distraction. The last time I was in a regular theater was 2007 when I watched The Simpsons Movie.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:57AM (#45952529)

    It just makes you an asshole with a gun.

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:58AM (#45952535)

    3) If you read the actual news story you'd learn that the texter was not sending a text at the time of the shooting. In fact the texter told the shooter that he was texting his daughter to check on her before the movie started. The shooter got his feelings hurt and walked out of the theater, got his gun and returned to murder the man and injure his wife who was standing next to him.

    According to CNN, the 71 year old had the gun in his possession the whole time, had left to tell the theater management, the guy got pissed off for having been told on, the pissed off guy got physical with the 71 year old man by assaulting him by throwing popcorn, and was being physically restrained by his wife's hand on his chest when the 71 year old shot him (through the wife's hand; there was only a single shot).

    If you are 71 years old under the threat of physical violence from a 43 year old, it's reasonable to fear for your life.

  • by AJH16 ( 940784 ) <aj@nOSPaM.gccafe.com> on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:05PM (#45952647) Homepage

    As a former gun owner and supporter of gun rights, I hope the retired officer gets the death penalty for this. Yes, things can set people off, but it's the responsibility of anyone with the ability to kill someone to control that. If you can't do that, you should not develop the ability to kill, whether through physical training such as martial arts or through items like knives or guns.

    The penalty needs to correspond to the responsibility that the individual accepted. As a gun owner, his responsibility to keep his cool should be higher, even more so as a retired cop.

  • Re:Double bind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zerobeat ( 628744 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:09PM (#45952707) Homepage
    Completely unproven. It could have been an even bigger bloodbath.
  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:11PM (#45952727)

    So it would have been ok if he had stabbed the guy or snapped his neck or slammed his face into the floor and stomped him?

    Those are all much harder, not to mention messier, things to do. They don't happen as quite much because it's harder work to kill someone like that. People are lazy, even at killing each other in a mad rage. Make it a big physical exertion and that's enough to deter a lot of people a lot of the time. But pulling a trigger is easy.

    But because he used a gun, guns are evil?

    Not evil. Just easy. Point and shoot.

    People get shot and live. People also get punched in the face and die.

    Are you suggesting the face-punch fatality rate is on par with the firearms fatality rate? And that the two should be considered equivalent for all purposes?

    I mean, if there were no guns, people could still rob 7-11 with the threat of a good lethal face-punching right? "Give me all the money in the register, and nobody gets face-punched!"

    The underlying problem is a trivial argument escalating to violence due to the inability of an individual to control their temper.

    No argument there. Not sure that suggests a solution though.

  • by clarkkent09 ( 1104833 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:15PM (#45952819)

    The real jerk is someone who jumps to conclusions without having any clue as to what actually happened. Based on the same article, here is a reasonable alternative story:

    The guy is repeatedly asked to turn off his cellphone and he refuses. The old guy leaves the theater to report him, but he either can't find a manager (I know in my local theater good luck finding an employee during a movie), or they refuse to do anything about it. He comes back and the texting guy turns (as reported) and accuses the old man of trying to get him ejected from the theater. We don't know exactly the way he put it but I can imagine. He gets up and turns around. Since they are one row apart, that';s probably less than a yard from the old guys face, and then he throws popcorn in his face. From the pictures, this guy seems pretty tall and strong and it's not unreasonable that one punch from him could kill a 71 year old.

    Was shooting definitely warranted? Idk, probably not but I'll let the courts decide. A premeditated murder? Seems unlikely.

  • 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.

  • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:16PM (#45952831)

    If you would have taken the time to actually read the news you would have known that the shooter had to leave the theater to retrieve his gun from the car.

    The article says nothing about him going to the car for anything, it says he went to find a manager. Managers don't typically hang out in my car, so I doubt this guy would think to go look for one there.

    And "self defense" is what happens in the moment. Nowhere does it say he came back into the theater brandishing a weapon, just as nowhere does it say he had to deliberately go find one.

    The fact is, there was an argument and it got physical. We'll have to wait for FACTS before we can judge the events, instead of making them up to justify our point of view.

  • 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.
  • by X!0mbarg ( 470366 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:22PM (#45952937)
    There was a theatre in Texas that bans the use of cell phones during the show completely. Even goes so far as to eject without refund and offending patrons. They made a wonderful ad from a caller who left a message complaining after she was ejected for using her cell phone "as a flashlight' since it was so dark". The simple fact that she was terribly drunk made it so hilarious.

    See references:
    http://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/jun/07/cinema-filmgoer-thrown-out-texting-alamo/ [theguardian.com]
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/risky-business/movie-theater-kicks-customer-texting-195400/ [hollywoodreporter.com]

    In this age of decreasing levels of common decency, and manners in public places, (theaters being nearly the antithesis of private) people still feel they have a false sense of entitlement to do rude things without consequences.

    Not play down that someone DIED here, but that level of offense is going to get more common as the texters drain what enjoyment might be left in going for a Big Screen Experience.

    I still remember when they first banned cigarettes in theaters, and how terribly offended people were on both sides of the ban.

    Maybe, I'm just getting Old and Cranky... Good thing I'm Canadian, and guns are nowhere near as available to us up here.

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

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:24PM (#45952981)

    If your argument against personal freedoms boils down to "bad people will misuse those freedoms", then we might as well get rid of the entire bill of rights (except perhaps the third, 9th, and tenth amendments). All of those protections "help" bad people to some degree, so we should just abolish them.

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

    by Rob Riggs ( 6418 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:24PM (#45952983) Homepage Journal

    Because freedom!

    The NSA is a good indication that guns do not provide any guarantee of freedom or liberty.

  • by Ksevio ( 865461 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:28PM (#45953031) Homepage
    I'd say someone getting murdered would ruin my movie going experience more than someone texting.
  • Re:Double bind (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:49PM (#45953399)

    You answered your own question.

    His career choice makes it pretty likely he enjoys being a jack booted thug. That he managed to escalate a disagreement over texting during the previews (advertisements for other movies) into a shooting confirms it.

  • by bradvoy ( 686502 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:54PM (#45953487)

    Shooting some for anything is never justified

    Wrong. If someone is posing a clear and present danger to me or my family, and if the setting is such that shooting him doesn't pose a danger to others in the vicinity, then shooting him would absolutely be justified.

    Obviously that wasn't the case in this incident.

  • by unrtst ( 777550 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:05PM (#45953703)

    Was shooting definitely warranted? Idk, probably not but I'll let the courts decide. A premeditated murder? Seems unlikely.

    If you can safely walk away from a confrontation (and/or you and whomever you're with; ex. if with a child/wife/etc), then it was not warranted nor justified.
    IMO, that's the best rule of guidance to go by for any (potentially) physical confrontation.

    In this case, he (shooter) is a row behind this guy. He already walked away just fine once. The situation escalates. He could leave; he could stop provoking the situation; etc. I am not implying that the texter was in the right in every way, but he did have less of an opportunity and reason for walking away.

    It's a really sad case. Shooter is 71; was a cop; probably saw a lot of messed up stuff; probably has a lot of friends that have and are passing away at that age; and now what? Prison for the rest of his life? That's a shitty way to go. Not as bad as getting knocked off in your prime during an escalated incident stemming from texting during some previews, but it's hard to find anything positive in this story.

  • by Wookact ( 2804191 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:06PM (#45953723)
    From what I have read, three or four accounts now, the only thing that may have physically happened is someone threw popcorn at the arguing idiots. Being hit with popcorn is not a valid defense for shooting someone. In fact unless the person has a weapon or is currently physically beating you I don't believe there is any excuse for shooting someone in a theater.
  • by Wookact ( 2804191 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:10PM (#45953815)
    Yes, texting during a movie is not a capital offense. It fact it is not against the law. It makes them a a-hole, but not a criminal. No justification for the shooting, fry the shooter.
  • 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?

  • by no_go ( 96797 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:16PM (#45953927)

    An armed society is a FEARFULL society. FTFY

    If you have to be "polite" because you fear someone shoots you because you may sound "disrespectfull/unfriendly/annoying" the "politeness" is completely hollow and is in fact fear.
    Social norm would then be "who has the biggest most prominent guns wins/has right of way/is right".
    Sounds too much like medieval times...

    And don't tell me that if everyone has a gun it will be a level playing field. (think weapon, fitness, health, mood, social settings, fear of injuring someone you love or have some responsibility over, etc..., etc.. ,etc...)

  • Re:Only in America (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DexterIsADog ( 2954149 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:24PM (#45954085)

    The dead guys daughter would probably disagree with you if she could understand what just happened. In 20 years time she just might come hunt you down for your callousness.

    Just to clarify, you mean "come hunt you down" in order to upbraid him, castigate him, possibly remonstrate with him about his boorish sentiments, expressed 20 years ago.

    You didn't mean she might come to kill him, for being a dick in an online forum, right? Because that would be like shooting someone in a movie theater for texting during the previews.

  • by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:24PM (#45954095) Journal

    the pissed off guy got physical with the 71 year old man by assaulting him by throwing popcorn, and was being physically restrained by his wife's hand on his chest when the 71 year old shot him (through the wife's hand; there was only a single shot).

    If you are 71 years old under the threat of physical violence from a 43 year old, it's reasonable to fear for your life.

    There's something HORRIBLY wrong with you. Throwing popcorn is NOT assault, and certainly doesn't warrant deadly force. If the young guy was trying to assault the old man, a hand on his chest wouldn't have done the slightest thing. Even the local police officers tacitly acknowledged their ex-chief was way the hell out of line, and weren't trying to justify it in the slightest, but were instead playing up what a pointless tragedy it was.

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

    by S.O.B. ( 136083 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:26PM (#45954137)

    They were previews - which means the theater was darkened (except for the blinding light from the cell phone) and the trailers which are mini-movies in themselves - were being played. The guy was just being rude.

    So what level of rudeness deserves the death penalty?

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

    by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:36PM (#45954291)

    Theaters don't bother actually confronting unruly patrons any more; they consider it too much of a liability I suppose. Instead, you just have to leave the theater if someone is disturbing you, and go ask for a refund. Theaters will generally happily and quickly give you a full refund if you have a complaint like that, and leave in the middle of the show.

    Of course, since there's so many annoying people in theaters, and they won't do anything to deter or remove those people, then it becomes pointless, in my mind, to bother going to a theater, since chances are high I'll just have to leave partway through. I'd rather just wait for it to come out on Netflix.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @01:37PM (#45954303)

    "Clearly you don't understand the argument then. Anyone who does something wrong with their gun is, by definition, no longer one of the good guys."

    Wait, so you're saying guns are OK because the only people who kill people with guns are people who kill people with guns? While admitting that training and experience can't be used to predict who those people are going to be? Well, I know I'm completely convinced.

  • 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?

  • Re:Double bind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @02:47PM (#45955751)

    So what level of rudeness deserves the death penalty?

    Its undefined. Thats the beauty of it.

    An armed society is a polite society.

  • 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).

  • 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.
  • by barc0001 ( 173002 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @04:16PM (#45957095)

    I'll tell you what. I'll buy you a ticket to fly down and explain to the fatherless 3 year old how this is a win for moviegoers. Do report back on how that goes.

  • Re:Double bind (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ChipMonk ( 711367 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @06:14PM (#45958767) Journal
    An armed society is a polite society. When you know someone is probably able to kill you (justified or not), you tend to be much more polite to them. Take away people's ability to restrain rude fucks, and the rude fucks run riot through the life you're trying to live.
  • Re:Double bind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by znanue ( 2782675 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @08:25PM (#45960357)

    Except that study after study shows that in places where there are more concealed carry permits are places where there are fewer murders (as well as just less violent crime in general, especially in public settings). In broad terms, retired cops carrying in public is a net benefit. Regardless of how this particular altercation turned out.

    Citation needed. I feel like this statement requires more than just the phrase "study after study".

    From Wikipedia

    Martin Killias, in a 1993 study covering 21 countries, found that there were significant correlations between gun ownership and gun-related suicide and homicide rates.

    Here is the link to the study, if you would like to question its methodology. http://www.unicri.eu/documentation_centre/publications/series/understanding/19_GUN_OWNERSHIP.pdf [unicri.eu]

    I saw a pamphlet once that asserted that first world countries with tough gun laws had just as much violent crimes as the US does, but what they forgot to mention was that much less of the violence was committed with a gun and there was less gun-related murder. There are also statistical regressions that show that murders per capita drop when guns are tightly controlled.

    These countries also score as highly as the US on the Index of Economic Freedom [heritage.org] and higher on other freedom indices [freetheworld.com] like personal freedom. So, do countries really need to be afraid of their citizens' guns? Guns do not seem to be a keystone to a modern free democracy.

    You can find countries that score low on all indices and yet have really strong gun laws, but my point is that guns do not seem to be necessary for scaring the government. I doubt very much that guns scare our government all that much. I think Aaron Swartz scared the hell out of our government with a laptop computer. Maybe we should have a laptop amendment.

    Gun laws and the discussions of them require more nuance and appreciation of methodology than we are generally capable of in day to day discourse, because there is emotional investment and, consequently, bias, even in academic circles in the US.

  • by Lectoid ( 891115 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @08:52PM (#45960545)
    I was taught in my concealed weapons class to only defend yourself (and likely anyone under your care). If you can, always retreat. And if you come upon a gun fight (whether one or both parties have guns), you don't know what the situation is so don't get involved. One could be an undercover police.
  • by Xaedalus ( 1192463 ) <Xaedalys@noSpAM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @06:22PM (#45970761)
    in an "armed" society, where not everyone has the same level of impulse control?
  • by melchoir55 ( 218842 ) on Wednesday January 15, 2014 @06:26PM (#45970801)

    The law should be that it is illegal to commit crimes with guns. Perpetrators should then be prosecuted for committing crimes. The idea that we must curtail freedom until all possible risk is removed from the world is one we need to abandon.

    A man is dead. Yes. That sucks. Life can suck. We should create a society of people who can handle responsibility and understand there are consequences to their actions. In a land of free people you will end up with murder, and theft, and a bunch of other bad stuff because that is part of human nature. In land of people who are not free, or freedoms are being curtailed, you will still have those things. You will also then have problems which stem from the government (modern day USA, Britain, cold-war Russia, etc.). The only thing you gain is the illusion that by making a bunch of stuff illegal you have somehow made the world safer.

"Turn on, tune up, rock out." -- Billy Gibbons