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pleiades's avatar

U.S. citizens: Does it scare you to watch movies in the theatre since the Batman shootings happened?

Asked by pleiades (6571points) December 23rd, 2012

At first I thought this question was silly. However a friend posted her fear of this on FaceBook the other day during the Hobbit premiere. I laughed at the thought at first, only to realize, oh crap, you just never know. I also started thinking about taking my little sister out to the theaters on Christmas day since we are more heavy into the Christmas Eve and Christmas morning celebration. But then I thought about the kinds of people who will be out during Christmas day, perhaps a lot of lonely people? I don’t know but I started thinking about being in a situation with a shooter on Christmas day and freaked myself out to the point where I think I might not go through with the idea after all.

What are your thoughts?

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40 Answers

amujinx's avatar

I don’t let fear dictate my life. It doesn’t even cross my mind when I go to the theatre since it’s such an isolated incident.

jrpowell's avatar

I’m more terrified that the film will be digital.

Getting shot in the theater, not really. The odds of getting killed on the drive to the theater by a plane falling out of the sky are greater.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I categorize something like that theater shooting as a “random event”. I’m much more likely to get shot walking to the bus stop than sitting in a movie theater.

janbb's avatar

No – what should I do, stop going to the movies, the mall or schools?

marinelife's avatar

No, I went to the theater a few weeks ago, and it never occurred to me.

zenvelo's avatar

I went to see the Batman movie a few days after the shooting. Barely crossed my mind, and did so only in terms of respect for the people killed. Been to a dozen movies since, don’t even think about it.

El_Cadejo's avatar

The only thing that scares me about going to the theater is the fact that I’m about to shell out 50 bucks for a friggin movie.

and hollywood wonders why people pirate shit…

livelaughlove21's avatar

No. If I stopped going to places where shootings have occurred, I wouldn’t be going to the movies, bank, mall, school, gas station…Hell, I couldn’t go anywhere!

Something bad happening is always possible, but it’s not probable. I’ll be going to the movies with friends on Christmas, and none of us will be looking over our shoulders in fear.

ragingloli's avatar

50$? I am staggered. I just checked out the prices for our local cinema here, and it is 7€ for an adult, 10 for a 3D movie.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The odds of a theater shooting happening to you are so small they’re not worth the time. We must be pushing 275 to 300 million people, 365 days a year someone’s going to theaters, and one shooting.

filmfann's avatar

Had I been in the theater that night, I worry that I might have thought the shooting was a prank, and not real. The only change that incident has had on me is I will now take such things seriously.
Since that shooting, though, I have not worried about watching a movie.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@ragingloli okk its a bit of a stretch but not much. A normal movie is like 12.50 and a 3d on is like 16. Throw in popcorn and such and its getting quite expensive. I was at the theater recently with my fiancé and her sister and saw a family of 5 go to see some 3d movie and their tickets ended up costing around 75 dollars, blew my mind. Im surprised families can even afford to go out to the movies anymore.

bookish1's avatar

No, and I’ve seen a whopping two movies in the past two days, which is unprecedented for me. But I don’t think I’ll ever watch The Dark Knight Rises.

hearkat's avatar

My answer is much like @zenvelo‘s – I did go see the Batman movie in IMAX, but we waited a few weeks because I don’t like crowds. We have been to several movies since without fear.

Even prior to the Aurora shooting, I have always noted where the exits are – but that is because I know that random stuff does happen, and growing up in a densely populated area, you hear of people getting trampled in panic situations. In fact, while seeing the first Christan Bale Batman movie, the power went out at the theater about 30 minutes in… it was very dark in there. The ushers came with flashlights and showed us out and we got free passes to return, so it wasn’t a panic, but I could understand how easily it can happen.

ETpro's avatar

No. Life is short enough without constantly living in fear. Realistically, I am in much more danger when I climb in an automobile than when I sit in a movie theater. Twelve people died last year in the Batman Movie Shooting. 32,310 died in traffic accidents in the US in 2011, and that rate was up 7½% for the first 9 months of 2012.

bolwerk's avatar

Of course you never know. But you’re still way more likely, statistically, to die driving to the theater than you ever are to be the victim of a mass shooting. The correct emotional response to mass shootings is not fear, it’s disgust and anger.

linguaphile's avatar

If, if, IF…. there’s going to be a shooting around me, it’s going to happen far, far, far outside of my control. That’s a very rare “If.” What I can control is my daily life and I don’t plan to live my life looking under rocks for some random shooter that might never materialize. That’d be a real waste of good, valuable “life” time.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

No, I could get hit by an 18-wheeler on the highway at any time, but I don’t let that stop me from driving.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m really paranoid about movie theaters, and I have been for many years. I always take a chair cover with me, and I use disinfectant wipes on the arms of the seats. I like to wear paper shoe covers as well.

When my hands were peeling from an unknown source, I wore a paper painters coverall and gloves. I thought I had an infection, but it turned out to be an allergy to the baby wipes. I used to wear them on airplanes too, but I haven’t flown for several years.

jerv's avatar

I drive I-5. I work at a machine shop in a foundry. I am far more likely to be injured/killed at or on my way to/from work than by a crazed gunman.

Fear of movie theaters in the wake of the Batman shootings tells me that you are totally blind to the dangers of everyday life, and are also horrible at math.

pleiades's avatar

@jerv Chill, no need for put downs. I’m merely expressing some thoughts. Never said I’m banning myself from theatres, public schools, public places etc.

If you think I’m blind to the dangers of everyday life, consider this, I grew up in South East San Diego and had to either make friends with, “Wanna be gang bangers/real gang bangers” otherwise I might have been looked at as a “buster.” So yes I do think about my surroundings constantly and you’re right, I’m extremely horrible at math.

Sorry if I stirred you the wrong way. Seems like you think I’m trying to sound an alarm about this, when really it’s about a very specific day that correlates to a feeling a recent friend of mine has. Again, I’ve never thought about it before posting the OP. Any who, thanks for sharing thoughts! We are Hobbit-bound!

gasman's avatar

No, my wife & I attend many movies in the US & I don’t give it any thought, nor did we after the Colorado shooting. Although the US’s nut-with-a-gun pattern of random violence stands out from the rest of the developed world, it’s still too rare and sporadic an occurrence to justify eliminating the movie-going experience. I don’t worry about asteroids, either lol.

bolwerk's avatar

@pleiades: I may not say it as harshly, but @jerv is more or less right. You’re more likely to die because of a lot of things than due to random gun violence.

I don’t think there is no a reason to be outraged by random gun violence – particularly since it’s a preventable political problem – but it’s not a very big threat to you.

jerv's avatar

@pleiades I spent a few years in San Diego myself, and found it tame compared to the East Coast.

More to the point, I am rather sick of people who blow fears out of proportion, as there has been a lot of that going around lately, and that has made me a bit touchy. I strive to be objective, and feel that everything is a calculated risk. But the odds of me getting creamed on I-5 by some idiot on a cellphone are far higher than the odds of me getting shot by a meth-head on Aurora, and far less risky than many of the other things I do on a daily basis.

bolwerk's avatar

Hmm? Isn’t the east coast, at least Virginia on up, substantially less prone to gun violence than the west coast?

jerv's avatar

@bolwerk Correct. I wish I could remember what year it was where New Hampshire had a lower per capita rate of firearms-related violent crime than Japan, despite some rather extreme differences in gun laws nineteen the two.
Of choose, there are some outliers; urban areas tend to be far worse than rural ones, just as they are elsewhere. Higher per capita rates times higher population equals exponentially more violence. The logical conclusion is to ban urban areas, as it’s been proven that rural folks can generally handle firearms without turning into mass murderers the way city folk do.

bolwerk's avatar

Uh, not exactly. Insofar as that argument has truth to it, I would mostly blame socioeconomic homogeneity weighed against the outlier effect of certain urban neighborhoods with high rates of gang/drug violence. I think gun crime is higher in urban areas, but gun fatalities certainly go up where there are more guns precisely because the largely rural gun owning population is more likely to accidentally or intentionally shoot themselves or something.

You’re definitely safer in an urban area for many reasons, including the fact that you’re less likely to die in a car “accident.”

jerv's avatar

@bolwerk That is why I used per capita rates. Also, I cannot help but notice where the rates are pretty low in your link; I don’t know if you know this about VT, NH, or most of WA, but I think it safe to say that they are largely rural. My take is that when you have anywhere from a ten-minute walk to a thirty-minute drive to your nearest neighbor, and you may be miles from pavement, that qualifies as “rural” compared to a place that has blocks full of apartment buildings, buildings over ten stories tall, and enough cars to warrant traffic signals.

What I saw in your link was that the rates were generally elevated in the areas that had the highest poverty rates, and have a stonger correlation than gun ownership rates. Note that Nevada had low ownership rates but high per capita gun deaths while VT is the opposite, and we won’t even get into DC.

Even your own link bears me out; “We did find several factors that are associated with firearm deaths at the state level. On the economic front, gun violence was higher in states with lower average incomes..

Of course, the South gets a double-dose of badness there if your link is true; “Similarly, gun violence was less likely in states with more college graduates and stronger knowledge-based economies. Gun violence was also higher in states that tend to vote Republican.” The last education figures and election results I saw put the South as less educated, less prosperous (lower incomes/higher poverty rates), and more Republican.

Yet, despite the proof that there are stronger correlations to factors other than gun ownership or strictness of gun laws, many persist in the statistically dubious insistence that gun violence/death rates are most heavily caused by allowing civilians to have guns with less onerous restrictions than Japan. The numbers do not support that argument, so therefore anybody who has an interest in reducing firearms violence/death rates MUST look at other things rather than use pseudo-statistics to attempt to push an agenda that won’t really affect the problem they claim they are attempting to solve.

I go where the numbers lead me instead of having a destination and seeking the numbers to get me there.

Jeruba's avatar

Ordinarily I wouldn’t be concerned. But if I saw a fellow patron wearing paper shoe covers and carrying disinfectant, I’d be worried that she had some sort of terrible infectious disease and oughtn’t to be out in public. In other words, the theater wouldn’t scare me, but she would.

bolwerk's avatar

@jerv: I don’t really agree with the Census definition of urban, but at least it’s quantifiable. I’m quite familiar with VT and NH, not WA. I get the impression a major difference between VT/NH and, say, the deep South is that guns aren’t really an ideological hangup in the northeast. While it might be acceptable for a parent to take a child hunting, you don’t see the delusional fetishization of weapons displayed in this question. The gun is a tool to achieve an end, not an end itself. Hunting may be fun, but weapons are respected.

Anyway, the point was per capita fatalities go up with proliferation, and urban areas certainly aren’t wildly more unsafe (exponentially? come on), and may even be safer if you consider non-gun factors. That link I posted appears to deal with other dimensions too, like accidents and suicides. These go down in urban areas, even as criminal gun violence usage goes up. Note how, at least back when those were computed, urban New York had a lower rate than rural Vermont.

Still, that some urban areas – my thinking is it really goes down to specific neighborhoods, even – happen to have a lot of firearm deaths doesn’t really mean urban space is the problem itself. Take Manhattan’s police precincts, where the average precinct has ~76,000 people and many of the safer ones more, often having 0 murders. If “urban” is the problem, Escape from New York should be prophetic.

jerv's avatar

@bolwerk Correct; there is a huge cultural difference, and that is my point. Up North, guns are seen as a tool, just like a saw or a tractor. They protect livestock from predators, put a turkey on your table come Thanksgiving, but are generally not worshipped.

I still maintain that the number of guns has less correlation than other factors, but I think that this is one of those things where the numbers are ambiguous enough that there is plenty of room to interpret them to support either side of the argument.

bolwerk's avatar

@jerv: I don’t really have a problem with that. I just recognize it probably means more gun fatalities, even if they aren’t strictly crime-related. Again, car accidents casualties seem to be most of an order of magnitude more common. OTOH, most of New York’s problems are probably urban; however, I think it’s safe to say there isn’t the hunter culture in NYS that exists in NH and VT. Something besides, or at least attendant to, guns is wrong with the God-fearin’ South, perhaps the same thing that’s wrong in Bed-Stuy or Chicago’s South Side – or not.

I probably agree with your second paragraph. I think actually what makes it so difficult for people is there isn’t a straight answer. We aren’t even sure why the crime rate dropped so much starting around 1990, or why it went so much before that, and virtually no answer is satisfactory.

Strauss's avatar

The are re-opening the theater in Aurora this weekend, and all shows are free. I’m taking my 13-year-old, and probably one of her friends. The theater will display a permanent memorial for those whose lives were taken last year.

jerv's avatar

@hearkat While I normally take that particular source with a huge grain of salt, I must say that is is more complete and statically-backed argument than anything I have seen from gun control advocates.

hearkat's avatar

@jerv – I agree. It seems that they have had difficulty finding a media outlet through which to spread the news. I worked in an inner-city children’s hospital, and the article rings true to what I’ve seen.

bolwerk's avatar

@hearkat: First of all, gun crime is a fairly small subset of violent crime.

Lead seems like a startlingly incomplete answer, if only because it doesn’t hold up in comparative situations. Most western countries had an automobile boom around the time the USA did, and they used leaded gasoline too, perhaps longer than we did. There is, of course, a similar trend over time in the USA and Canada, but the problem with looking at the trend is you miss the vast disparity between the absolute numbers per 100k.

Just looking at more or less contempory gun homicides (not accidents or suicides), the USA is worse than Canada by a factor of 6 and worse than Germany by a factor of 53. Meanwhile Switzerland, which has high mandatory gun proliferation, is worse than socioeconomically similar Germany by a factor of 8. I don’t know why any of that is, but proliferation is part of the equation – and I suspect lead probably isn’t, at least not meaningfully.

But seriously: for the USA’s crime boom, I still have yet to see anything approaching a meaningfully complete explanation for the rise or the fall.

Pachy's avatar

No, because violence can happen anywhere. I do tend to be more alert in crowds than I used to be.

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