And Then I Had A Reality Check

The movie theater that is closest to us (you know, an hour away) features kids' movies for $2, and that includes a bag of popcorn and a small soda. I know a good bargain when I hear of one, but I still remain completely amazed by that awesome deal. A $2 movie is a bargain in it's own right, but the inclusion of popcorn and soda blows my bargain loving mind. We've been trying to go weekly, because even if they're movies we've seen a dozen times before (and even own), there's something special and fun about seeing it on the big screen.

This week, there was quite the line at the booth where they take your tickets and point you to the theater. As I got closer, I realized why. They were conducting purse checks, to be sure no handguns or other weapons were being toted into the theater.

I get it. I really do. People take precautionary measures as best they can after horrific tragedy happens, and if I were in their shoes I'd probably implement the same purse-checking rule. But in all honesty, events like Aurora aren't caused by families taking their children to see a bargain matinee. Nor even by excited movie-goers going to watch the premier of Batman. I haven't heard many details about the suspect, but I'm guessing that he didn't show up at the theater and buy a ticket, carrying in his bag of guns, ammo, gas can, and mask. I don't know how he managed to get that stuff into the theater, but I know that he didn't look suspicious or he wouldn't have gotten as far as he did. There is no right answer for things like this, and we'll continue to adopt new policies and procedures to try our best to protect ourselves from insanity in the future, because it's all we know how to do.

As we were sitting in the theater, I was thinking about all this stuff. I was thinking how I didn't even give movie-going a second thought before taking the small boys, because I'm a trusting person. And then I wondered why we were there, and how safe it actually was. Because in reality, horrific tragedy like Aurora sometimes brings freaks out of the woodwork that want to copy such events, and you never know where they'll strike. And then I started to freak myself out, and changed my mental channel to something less morbid and scary. ANYTHING less morbid and scary. But not before locating the exit sign at the front of the theater (which we were, scarily, only a few rows from) and wondering what my plan of action would be in the event that someone walked through that door, armed, aiming at my children. Micah was sitting on the end, with Luke beside him. Could I reach across Luke, pull Micah's 80 pounds to the floor, and drag him further into the aisle in less time than it took a freak to aim and fire in our direction? Probably not, but there's randomness, and a mom's protective instincts on my side. Thankfully I would only have to instruct Luke on what to do, and not have to take action on his behalf, too.

And then I changed mental channels. I had a plan. A poor one, but it was all I had. And I wondered, again, what our chances would be. And then I changed mental channels again. If only my mind wouldn't keep going back to the Horror Channel.

The movie started, and we became engrossed in the action on the screen before us. It wasn't until nearly the end of the film that I saw someone coming through that exit door at the front, and my heart stopped. My mind told me that I knew him as the man who checked my bag this week, and gave us our popcorn last week, and he was still wearing his red and white vest because he was on duty at the theater, and he was obviously doing an inspection of the hallways that could hold suspicious gunmen. But it took quite a while for my heart to stop pounding in fear.

And while I was really glad that I didn't scream and pull my boys to the floor, I'm also very afraid of the fact that I didn't. Clearly, nobody is fast enough to stop tragedy from happening. There is no answer to the question of why horrible things happen, nor is there an answer of how to prevent them in the future. All we can do is learn to live with the fear that we now have, and pray that it doesn't happen again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article - and what a handsome lot you have!!!!

I remember reading that the gunman got in through the exit door. Apparently he had come into the theater without guns, did something to the exit door that allowed him later to sneak back in with guns. Somehow the bad guys always seem to find a way, unfortunately. But it's good, I suppose, for people to do all they can to address the obvious risks. No easy answers.