In the U.S., it is not uncommon for people to feel like they need to carry around guns for protection, theoretically in case they need to defend themselves, their families, or their property from serious harm. This week, a man used a gun to protect himself from the clear and present danger of a small child kicking the back of his seat in a movie theater.
It seems like it would be really great if “possession of some kind of rational sense of perspective” could be a requirement for owning a firearm. Like, before I sell you this gun I would like to know that you think it is acceptable to pull a gun because your life or that of someone else is in immediate danger, but not because you see a kid playing Pokemon in a car, or because someone knocks on a door, and not because you’re mad because someone was talking, texting, or kicking your seat in a movie theater.
According to KFVS News, a young Illinois man was watching an early screening of Star Trek Beyond on Saturday morning in Kentucky, and a small child behind him was kicking his seat. Witnesses say the man jumped up, spun around, and started cursing at the kid and shouting “are you going to keep kicking my seat?”
The kid’s father stood up to intervene, because that’s what you do when a strange person starts screaming and cursing at your kid and you don’t know if they’re just a shouter, or if they’re drunk, or going to start punching, or if they’re carrying a gun and are about to go completely off the rails. The man and the father started fighting, and witnesses say the man pulled a gun and shouted, “What the fuck are you going to do now?!”
At that point everyone in the theater ran for the exits, because that’s what you do when a person pulls a gun in a theater. Luckily nobody seems to have been hurt in the rush, because panicked fleeing of theaters can be dangerous. That’s why it’s illegal to falsely shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, after all.
Three theater employees, who are definitely not being paid enough to handle this shit, reportedly escorted the gun-toting idiot out of the theater and held him while they waited for police to arrive.
The man has been banned from the theater, and a police investigation is underway. It remains to be seen if the man will be charged for this, but it sounds like police are pretty eager to see that happen.
Everyone will readily admit that talking and texting and seat-kicking are extremely annoying and rude theater behaviors. But life is full of annoyances that do not justify gun-pulling. Seat-kicking is just one on the very, very long list of them.