After an event like the shooting in Colorado we all stop and think and wonder what we would have done, what we could have done and what we should do now. Those of us interested in personal safety and survival try to look at the events as a learning opportunity. Dissecting it piece by piece to see what we could do in that same situation to either try to prevent it or if that isn’t possible how to deal once we are thrust into it.
This is good, but the problem is sometimes we get off the point. I received emails from 2 people, read 3 posts, had a face to face discussion and a comment left on my FaceBook about how stupid these parents were to let their kids go to a movie at midnight especially this one. Almost all of the people who made the comments are people I highly respect, but still I am not sure this perspective belongs in this discussion.
I do think part of the discussion should be, is this a safe place to go? Is this a safe to take my family, to allow my children to go? About 95% of all my training has focused on avoiding stupid people and places. If it seems dangerous before you even go then don’t go. Most of us carry a gun for the times like the situation in Colorado where we have deemed the place relatively safe, but since we can’t predict crazy, we carry and prepare just in case. Honestly, I think most movies theaters are a place I would consider “safe.” Lots of factors to consider: what part of town is it in, is there a history of problems, who is frequenting that particular theater.
We have 3 theaters in my town. Two of them my husband and I have decided are seedy enough that we will not go or let our children go. They are dumpy and several of the folks that are at the theater often times are not there to see a movie, they are just there loitering. Young kids with saggy pants just hanging around. Yes, I am profiling and judging on appearance and behavior alone. The third one though, we do go there. It is a large clean theater near the mall. The parking lot is well lit and for the most part we have not seen any kind of trouble or anything that alerts us to a problem waiting to happen.
For me even though there is nothing that tells me avoid this place I still go armed, but in my state it is not illegal to take my gun into a theater. It may not be looked upon kindly by some of the theaters, but again it’s not illegal and the worst that could happen is a trespassing charge.
The time one is out and about is another thing to consider. Generally, it is not a great idea to be out after midnight, but there are exceptions. We have not seen a lot of shootings at movie theaters. Yes, those kinds of venues are ripe for exactly what we saw happen last week, but if we stop and think about all the movies theaters in the world and the number of people who attend verses how many people have been shot the number is low enough that I would take the risk to take my kiddos to a movie even after midnight. In fact I have.
We don’t do it all the time, but we have done it. It is a fun experience for my daughter and her friends to stay up late, wait in line chit chatting as teenagers do and feel like they are being rebels. She is 14 and we have never taken our younger kids out to a movie that late, but I have taken young children out well past an “acceptable” time of night.
When my oldest son was 7, he was obsessed with the stars. He got a telescope for Christmas and he wanted to learn how to use it and he wanted to learn about all this planetary, so I signed him up for a science camp. They met on Tuesday nights, in the park at 11pm. My husband was in deployed or on training somewhere and I had 6 month old baby. That baby should have been in bed and not out and about, but I was essentially a single parent and I wanted to encourage my son’s passion, so I packed her up and took her along. The park was in what I considered to be a safe place and we were doing what I considered to be a safe activity, but we know that no place is safe. I lived in California, didn’t have a gun or a even a clue about personal safety, but if I were in the same situation today I would still probably make that choice. Star gazing was an experience for my son and he remembers it to this day. It was a 6 week camp, so for 6 weeks having my baby out after midnight did not seem like a long term determent to her. I don’t know why each of those parents had their kids out at that movie on that night at that time, but even if it was bad parenting, I don’t think it belongs in the discussion of lessons learned and her’s why.
It takes the focus off of who is responsible for this tragedy. Talking about training, awareness, increasing skills etc helps us to be better prepared. Looking at what factors might have contributed to why he and others chose to act out in this manner might be useful, but talking about how stupid a person is for being in the movie theater at night with a 6 month old shifts the blame. No matter how poor a choice is, the one and only person responsible for what happened that night was the shooter. Not society, not Hollywood, not guns, not the internet, not even the anti gun folks who are trying to disarm the populous. It was him, all by himself and he alone should shoulder the blame and the very harsh punishment.
This is coming from someone who was a very bad parent. Up until 15 months ago I did nothing to prepare myself for a bad guy encounter and when the wolf came a knocking I did nothing to protect myself and worse I did nothing to protect my daughter. That is my cross to bare. I must accept the blame and responsibility for my inaction and my irresponsibility, but I still hold to the fact that no matter how clueless and unprepared I was that man had no right to attack me. He was and is the one to blame for the attack. I know that there are bad people and I am patently aware of what harm they will do. Bad guys are bad and they are not going away, so yes, yes, yes, think, prepare, avoid, plan, but lets not get so distracted by preparations that we forget where the blame lies.
However, lets prepare shall we…go here.