Social Question

jca's avatar

Would you feel comforted or nervous or something else, going to a movie theater that had an armed guard in the lobby?

Asked by jca (36062points) February 8th, 2017

I went to a movie theater last night to see a movie (“Fences”). I’d not been to that theater in a while, maybe a few years. There was an armed guard in the lobby. He had on all black and the back of his shirt said “Security.” He had a gun in a holster.

I found this comforting. I realize that if there were some kind of episode, he would likely not get to the individual theater before there were people dead, but maybe having him there with the gun might be a deterrent.

Some I told today at work sounded alarmed at the thought of security with a gun in the theater lobby.

What are your thoughts on an armed guard in a movie theater?

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44 Answers

Mariah's avatar

I feel disturbed that we live in a society where that should be considered necessary.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

No. Why? Mind your own fucking business and they will mind theirs. Why do Americans have such a hard time with that?

It’s everywhere, Mariah. It’s the world we live in.

flutherother's avatar

Not comforting enough. Everyone going in to a cinema in America should be issued with a semi automatic weapon and complimentary ammunition – just in case.

kritiper's avatar

Not me. I hope he doesn’t mind me packing, if I was.

tinyfaery's avatar

Hands down, in every situation, I am always unnerved by police presence. Movie theater? Yes.

I don’t trust pigs police very much.

jca's avatar

@tinyfaery: It wasn’t a cop, it was an armed security guard.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Sad that society has come to this.

stanleybmanly's avatar

An armed guard in a movie theater would not reassure me one bit. As you said, a lone guard in a multiplex is of little use other than psychological reassurance. The same effect could be achieved by mounting riot guns visibly on the walls in the ticket booths and behind the snack counters. The gun crowd would probably prefer that ticket holders be issued a weapon upon entering the theater. My position is that no movie requiring an armed guard at the door is worth seeing at that particular venue.

Coloma's avatar

Meh…maybe it would help, maybe not. Your average psycho shooter isn’t going to be walking in the front doors anyway, strolling through the lobby and getting a popcorn and soda. haha
They will be sneaking in out back. If they really want to deter a potential shooter situation they should have a guard in front and another out back covering the emergency exits.

Also, having two armed guards would make successful intervention more likely. Anyway, I don’t really care, I go to the moves fairly often and it’s not something that I worry about. Now, what does bother me are the several people I know that refuse to go, period, because they can’t carry in their concealed weapons. I feel that if it gets to a point that you can’t/won’t leave home unarmed, well…just fucking time to shoot yourself because you aren’t “living” anyway.

tinyfaery's avatar

Same shit, but with less disdain.

Coloma's avatar

@tinyfaery Don’t let a few bad apples spoil the barrel of law enforcement. Pretty sure you’d be glad to have a cop or security guard save your ass if some serious shit was going down.

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. But I agree with @Mariah. It’s disturbing that we don’t even ask “Why??” anymore.

Seek's avatar


Remember: the guy who killed 50 people at an Orlando nightclub was an armed security guard.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I wouldn’t notice it either way. it isn’t unusual in the city. But at the movies the more likely (but not really likely) danger isn’t deranged mass murderers, it’s gang kids starting shit among their peers. They’re in the prime movie-going demographic.

And even then I don’t recall any incidents around here. When I Google for it, I find a story from 1991.

Zaku's avatar

I’m mainly with @Mariah – I feel disturbed about the idea and the practice of having armed guards where I’d prefer there were no need for armed guards.

Also, security guards don’t inspire much confidence in most cases, and I’d rather not have armed ones around except when there’s a real reason for them. If there is a real reason for them in a movie theater, then the community has serious issues and I’d be considering moving elsewhere.

And if the perceived reason for the armed guard is to protect against maniacs on shooting sprees, I wouldn’t expect the armed guard to help much. In fact, it has me imagining someone picking a theater with a guard as a target, and I have little confidence that such a person is going to somehow not notice the guard and be foiled by him.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I most certainly would not attend a movie in that theatre. What Americans put up with boggles the mind.

BellaB's avatar

Another reason to not return to the US.

johnpowell's avatar

I worked at a movie theater for three years. This is dumb for many reasons.

1: movies have lots of explosions and gunfire. The people in Colorado thought the gunfire was part of the movie/trailer.

2: Theaters are very well soundproofed. We played the Long Kiss Goodnight next to Jerry Maguire. No sound was allowed to bleed into the next auditorium.

3: It is unlikely that even if you could pinpoint gunfire you would be able to find the correct auditorium. Those are long hallways with lots of doors.

4: I have ran into lots of theaters and it fucks with your eyes.It takes around 30 seconds for your pupils to really adjust to the lighting.

5: By the time a person could even get to the scene 60 people would already be dead.

So it is pretty much security theater.

And there has been like one theater shooting (maybe CNN forgot to report on one since they hate breaking news about violence)

Coloma's avatar

@dappled_leaves Well…it’s not like we have much choice, it is what it is. I don;t “put up” with it, but I accept it is what it is, fucked up as it is. haha

@BellaB Trust me, if could afford to leave I would. Biggest mistake of my life not buying that little bungalow in Costa Rica back in 2006. Now I can’t afford to relocate somewhere more preferable so I do the next best thing, I live in my own little reality. :-)

Unofficial_Member's avatar

It’s uncommon to see guard armed with gun in theatre thus I’ll believe that he doesn’t work over there and probably just hang around the lobby for other reason. If he really is working over there then I’ll feel suspicious about this person, not scared, and obviously won’t get near him just to be safe. There have been cases that involved fake security/military guard and I won’t assume one is the real responsible one just because they look like one.

ucme's avatar

If an armed guard were in attendance at a cinema over here i’d have to assume it was a publicity stunt for another Magic Mike movie.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

If I went to the cinema and found an armed guard in the foyer, I’d be asking why he was there and if it was because the cinema felt they needed the security to protect patrons, I’d leave. It would be so out-of-the-ordinary here and I’d be very concerned about why the cinema felt security was necessary.

JLeslie's avatar

A lot of security guards are barely trained and very low paid, and so I don’t take their presence equal to a police officer at all.

To the specific question at hand I’m sort of neutral I guess. Maybe the guard’s presence is a deterrent. In that way I guess it’s good.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Not a problem, guards are just about everywhere now, and more and more are being armed, the bank, Starbucks, the pharmacy, big box stores, the movie theater is just one more venue.

VenusFanelli's avatar

I think that can be a good idea. Some people may become rowdy in theaters.

JLeslie's avatar

Jesus. I hope a gun isn’t drawn because some people were “rowdy.”

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I hope a gun isn’t drawn because some people were “rowdy.”

Sometimes they go WAY past rowdy. They throw popcorn. That can’t go unanswered!

JLeslie's avatar

^^That is a tragedy. That’s just south of me. Here where I live there are more gun incidence then I care to mention. I felt safer in the Clearwater area then where I am now. I don’t know if my “feelings” are accurate. Probably not.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

RE: “felt safer” You are probably extremely safe.

I live in Chicago. I never feel unsafe. I walk my neighborhood a lot. I take the alleys, even at night, because I’m a neighborhood watch kind of guy.

We’ve had a bad uptick in shootings in the city, but it’s isolated to a few neighborhoods. And it’s kiddie gang stuff. They’re fighting among themselves. A middle-aged white guy is invisible to them. They pay no attention to me. I might as well be a fire hydrant or a lamp post.

JLeslie's avatar

^^When I lived in the suburbs of Memphis was when I felt the least safe, and in fact the stats for violent crime and larceny were pretty high in my zip code, and that zip code was half rural! Gun violence happened further in towards the city, but someone was shot in a parking lot not far from me, and the grocery store I most often shopped in had a knifing incident. That’s just to name a couple of things.

Where I live now there was a man with a rifle or some large gun thing that held people at gunpoint at the VA clinic here a couple of months ago. A woman I know, her friend was held at gunpoint by a stalker neighbor, a person was killed in a brawl in a town square a few months ago. A bunch of construction theft. Crazy stuff happening everywhere.

The gun crimes I mentioned were old white guys im pretty sure. My entire town is designated 55+ and it’s very very white here. The brawl was young people.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@JLeslie Rare crazy stuff, and it’s not happening everywhere.

Violent crime rates in the US have plummeted in the past 25 years.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The gun crimes I mentioned were old white guys im pretty sure.

Old white men are more violent than the average. It’s a cultural problem.

The moderate whites should speak out and take responsibility for their communities.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m saying it happened practically in my backyard. I’m not saying it’s happening everywhere.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

@JLeslie “I’m not saying it’s happening everywhere.”

You said, “Crazy stuff happening everywhere”.

But I am not trying to fight you. Not saying you are wrong.

I get the gist of what you are saying. I appreciate your thoughts.

JLeslie's avatar

^^You’re right. Lol.

Seek's avatar

That theatre is the closest one to me. We’ve only gone to the theatre once since then – and it was at 9 AM on a Tuesday, when the theatre was otherwise empty. And we didn’t go to the Grove 16. We went further away, in Tampa, where a smaller percentage of the general public feels the need to carry murder weapons into crowded places.

Seek's avatar

It’s really common for us to say as an excuse for not doing something, “It’s Florida, people get shot for less”.

MrGrimm888's avatar

We have armed guards in some grocery stores here. I’m pretty accustomed to them.

As long as they appear competent, I like them being there.

My security company has an account with a gay bar. The owner wants armed guards,after the Orlando shooting. They appreciate our presence…

I’d rather never see guns,but we live in a wild world….

JLeslie's avatar

^^Come to think of it, after the knife incident I think that grocery store started having a guard. I don’t remember if he was armed. It was an employee who knifed people.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t mind the guard, but if he was worth his pay he should be able to handle problems without the gun.

Coloma's avatar

Crazy can happen anywhere. Some years ago a house I owned for about 8 years was on a 6 acre parcel that backed up to a 20 acre parcel. My neighbor, a retired postal worker, funny huh? used to sit on the porch of his monolithic Victorian house he built and drink and randomly shoot at the wildlife. Once, I was out by my back fence line when a freaking bullet whizzed over my head and dropped a pine tree branch at my feet!

I RAN back to my house. That guy, the whole fucking neighborhood complained about him and we called the Sheriff on numerous occasions but he still just randomly took pot shots into the woods whenever he felt like it. You aren’t even safe on your own property a lot of the time. I have also had an arrow zinged at me from a bow hunter while riding my horse on trail and a friend actually had her horse shot in the neck while riding in the mountains.

He lived but their are lunatics everywhere, whether hunters in the forest, psycho neighbors or city shooters.

SimpatichnayaZhopa's avatar

The odds of a shooter being at any particular theater are quite low, so I do not worry about it. An armed guard present is somewhat reassuring in the unlikely event that there should be a shooting. The liberal media sensationalizes shootings and ignores incidents in which guns stop crimes. Some people imagine that a rather small number of shootings make attending movies quite dangerous. They are hysterical, not objective.

SEKA's avatar

I think it would initially make me nervous wondering if there might be a real threat, yet somewhat comforted that they were at a minimum making an effort to keep me safe

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