Signs

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge this week is to share a sign and explain why you chose it to share.

photo-46

This “No Weapons Allowed” sign made its appearance on the door of my local AMC movie theater after the Aurora, Colorado shooting during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012.

I hate this sign.

Obviously, I hate the sign because it’s there and I hate what happened in Aurora almost a year ago. I hate that the joy of going to see a new movie is instantly diminished before I even walk through the door. I hate that we live in a world where people would bring weapons to a movie theater.

Maybe you’ve been able to tell from my excitement during awards season that I love going to the movies. It wasn’t always like that. In fact, when I was a kid I experienced two very traumatic movie theater incidents.

The first incident occurred when I was at the movies with my family and a stranger sat next to my brother and tried to molest him. No joke. My dad freaked and chased the guy out. I didn’t even know what happened until I saw my dad running out of the theater. It wasn’t until years later that I was told the details. Even now the incident is a blur, like I dreamt it.

The second incident I remember more clearly. My father, brother, and I were at an old local theater watching Beverly Hills Cop (I think the sequel) and a fire broke out. My dad, being a fireman, took charge and the theater was evacuated. We got a coupon for a free movie but Dad wouldn’t let us go back to that “death trap” theater.

Needless to say, whenever I go into a movie theater I recall these events. I always look for the emergency exits and check out the people around me. Still, I’ve learned to love the movies again– going to the movies is always my first choice for date night (although somehow I married a man who hates going to the theater).

Then Aurora happened and this sign went up and now there’s a third incident, that gratefully I wasn’t directly involved in, that also dims the event.

The sign also annoys me for another reason though:  it’s stupid. If people have plans to commit shootings in a movie theater, is this sign going to be the thing that stops them? As if they’ll get to the door and change their mind, thinking, “Hey, there’s a SIGN that says I CAN’T do this!  I’ll just turn around and go home now!”I doubt it.

My guess is that the sign only speaks to the regular, non-violent patrons and the only purpose it serves is to make us nervous. Maybe these days though, it’s good to be nervous– you know– the whole “be alert and report suspicious activity” directive after 9/11, Boston, and various other terrorist attacks. My dilemma though is that the movies are supposed to be an escape from reality. I love getting lost in a story for a couple of hours. I don’t want to worry about whether or not the person next to me has a concealed weapon.

I certainly don’t want to see this sign every time I walk into the theater. It’s really a shame that this sign even exists.

Sorry if I bummed you out. I’m going to go catch up on reading some of your (hopefully cheerier) blog posts now and maybe work on my Love Boat post! Fun stuff ahead, Blogtropolis, fun stuff ahead.

Have a nice night. Thanks for reading.

🙂

19 Comments

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  2. Besides the occasional movie theatre kook; there is a let down of sorts when you have to see a movie for the first time at home. No matter how great your home system is or the fact that you built a queue line in your hallway, it just is not the same. So the theatre experience is kind of the Holy Grail and should not be ruined for the patrons.

    The sign is dumb. Besides, that human turd from Aurora came in through the emergency exit so he would not have read such a sign anyway. So like you pointed out, the sign is useless and only serves to stir up bad emotions that detract from the fun of seeing a movie.

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  4. I agree. I feel the sign is a bit of a scare tactic, and also serves to tell the crazy who is determined to take life that there is no one within that is going to be able to stop him beyond a body tackle. I go to movies for escapism purposes too, and I just don’t look at the signs anymore. As you said, they don’t serve to alleviate any fear – they perpetuate it more than sooth.

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  6. I love movies. I mean, I really love movies. But, I do not like going to watch a movie in a theater. I find watching a movie with others distracting. I’d rather watch it alone. Even then, in absolute silence. I don’t have any bad experiences or anything. It’s just that, people have a natural inclination to distract (cough at the most inopportune time, sneeze, cell phones going off, kids acting up, talking, etc.) I’d rather watch a movie at home where I know I’ll fully appreciate it more.

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    • That’s my husband’s view too. He likes to be comfortable, have control of the environment, not be around all the people. Although for big ticket movies (like The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies) he goes to the theater for the big screen experience. We always end up buying the DVDs too so he can also watch at home.

      Sometimes matinees are nice and quiet ( and cheaper!).

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  8. As usual I loved the post. I agree that the sign is not likely to deter anyone who is planning to bring a weapon. But I can imagine that there might be a valid law enforcement purpose for it. Prosecutors are often required that someone possessed a weapon with the intent to use it unlawfully and this sign would be helpful in proving that part of the crime. Then again, this usually only comes up when the weapon is a knife because, um, why else would anyone bring a gun to a theater. Still, I bet the sign was put up to convey some sense that someone was “doing something” to prevent any bad stuff from happening in that theater. It is like those inane composite sketches–that look like everyone and no one at the same time–that the police put out for wanted criminals. It is more about “security theater” than anything else. And no one likes to watch that.

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    • I guess the sign could have that purpose. Maybe since I live in New Jersey and any weapons being carried around are by bad guys for the most part. I know in other parts of the country everyone carries weapons for …whatever (sport? hunting?). Maybe you’d just show up at the theater with your hunting rifle like we show up with our cell phone or something, and you’d see the sign and remember to keep your rifle in the truck. That could be helpful I guess.

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