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Other proposed solutions

July 22, 2012

There’s no shortage of solutions out there for the theater-shooter guy. Just ask anyone, and stand well back.

No costumes

Some theaters will be banning costumes. The sheer stupidity, the amazing obtuseness of this “solution” just staggers me. First of all, define “costume”. Then kick out everyone with an overcoat, a shoulder bag, or a purse. Or any theme-related makeup. Wait – that kid has green hair and The Hulk has green hair – kick him out! That woman looks is wearing black and Catwoman wears black… it’s a costume!

Also, are people who wear costumes a danger? How much ordinary-fun behavior are we willing to restrict because of whatever monster is hiding in our maybe-closet?

Security guards!

Then there are people who want to put security guards at every entrance to every theater. By my count that would be about a bazillion security guards, and if the TSA has taught us anything, it’s that effective security guards are not so easy to find.

What should they watch for? “Suspicious people?” Anyone with a cane? Should we start frisking people?

One way to kill a lot of people in theaters is to raise the portion sizes at the snack bar. Sell enormous candy bars, sodas, and popcorns, with lots of salt and hydrogenated imitation butter. Results guaranteed, though the actual drama takes place in hospital rooms much later.

Metal detectors

Really? maybe we should just reproduce the whole airport experience in theaters. And while we’re at it, schools and stores and shopping malls. And churches – there have been more church shootings by far than theater shootings.

More mental health funding

OK, I kinda like this one. Not to say that it would have any effect on the frequency of shootings. But it might reduce suicides. Actually anti-bullying measures in schools would probably do more good in the long run.

Gun Control

There may be some merit to this one. The problem is that while there are people who propose a wide range of sensible limitations on gun traffic and ownership, there are also people who won’t even discuss it. All they can talk about is their Dirty-Harry fantasies. I covered them in the previous post.

Rare events

This theater shooting, well it’s happened¬†one time¬†in the whole history of theaters. There’s nothing you can do to prevent something that happens that rarely. Which means, first of all, don’t worry when you go to the theater. But it also means, despite the part of our brains that insist there must be a solution, there probably isn’t. You can regularize solutions for regular events – not for extreme outliers. The somewhat (but not unusually) unpleasant grad student who turns out to be a total psycho and shoots up a theater? You can’t prevent what you can’t predict. Mourn the dead, comfort the living, and spend your energy on solving problems that kill people wholesale, like texting and driving (about six thousand people per year).

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. July 22, 2012 at 23:34 | #1

    Well jeebers, George! If you’re going to get all common sense about it then, of course, what you say about no solutions is true. But don’t you feel even a little bit like a spoil sport for taking such an anti-American attitude as to suggest that we respond to this event with our brains? I mean, what’s actually wrong with my suggestion that movie theaters begin selling semi-automatic assault rifles at the concession counters? Sure, it wouldn’t prevent this sort of thing from happening, but that’s not the point. The point is my solution is an American solution: Fast, shallow, and fully suited to TV. Your “solution”, on the other hand, only has fact and reason on its side.

    More seriously, this is another one of your brilliant posts. Thanks!

  2. David Engel
    July 23, 2012 at 13:40 | #2

    Ban all movie theaters. All movies direct to DVD/BluRay and let Netflix/Blockbuster/etc. fight it out for comsumer dollars. No more mass assemblage allowed, or too many people could die at one time. While we’re at it, all sporting events will be televised only – no attendance allowed.

    I have no idea what a realistic solution would look like, but my guess it won’t happen any time too quickly because the political environment we’re in seems to prevent rational people with differing opinions from sitting down together to discuss important issues. My guess would be it will result in the “Rare events” take, with some little, insignificant, temporary delving into some of the othe solutions you’ve listed.

  3. David Engel
    July 23, 2012 at 13:41 | #3

    That first paragraph was supposed to be marked <sarcasm alert/> – sorry about my messing that up.

  4. WeeDram
    July 26, 2012 at 19:57 | #4

    My favourite was the NRA spokes-puke in CT (I think) who said if everyone were armed, they could have stopped or at least mitigated the disaster. Yeah, right. The guy was covered head-to-toe in Kevlar(r). And every Coloradan with a gun is a good enough shot to hit him in the eye. The level of stupidity by NRA cultists is truly astonishing.

  5. decrepadmin
    July 26, 2012 at 20:43 | #5

    Oh, indeed. Check out the guy’s kit. No way some random person with a handgun would stop him.

  6. decrepadmin
    July 30, 2012 at 08:08 | #6

    Interesting article on SciAm blogs – discounting this rare event and looking at aggregate gun violence, suggests gun control might not help that much but improved child care just might.

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