It's becoming increasingly scarier to walk in and enjoy a movie at the local theater. There have been two high profile theater shootings in just a matter of weeks, and they are as unpredictable as they are unexpected. One measure being taken by the Regal Cinemas theater chain is the ban of backpacks inside their movie theaters. Hawaii News Now was one of the first to report on the ban, which was issued during a special screening of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. last week. The ban has since started to spread across the United States and other theater chains, along with independently owned cinemas.
The line outside the Regal Cinemas Dole Cannery last week was long and winding, but before anyone was allowed entry, the crowd was given a strict set of rules to abide by. The scene was tense, as some patrons grew uneasy with the new rules. No backpacks were allowed to go past the ticket counter, but purses and small bags were deemed safe to carry. Though, all theater employees were given permission to search any suspicious bags. The note inside the box office window, which is not coming down in the foreseeable future, reads as follows.
"For the safety and comfort of all guests: All backpacks and other large containers are prohibited within this facility. In addition, all bags, including purses and diaper bags, are subject to search before entry to this facility. Thank you for your cooperation."
The backpack ban and purse search also spans to the United Artists and Edwards Cinemas. A manager from the Regal Cinemas at Windward Mall confirmed that the ban came from the corporate headquarters for Regal Cinemas just hours after the Tennessee theater shooting occurred last week. Police reports state that a man named Vincente David Montano entered a midday showing of Mad Max: Fury Road armed with a hatchet, pepper spray and an air soft pistol that looked like a real gun. After pepper spraying three individuals, cops entered the scene and killed the man on site. The man was reportedly wearing two backpacks.
This came just days after John Russell Houser shot and killed three people, including himself, and injured nine others at a Lafayette, La., movie theater showing Trainwreck. The new shootings also came as James Holmes was found guilty on all 165 charges he faced after killing 12 moviegoers and wounding 70 others in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises back in 2012. The Colorado Theater Shooting Verdict spared the killer from the Death Penalty, instead giving him life in prison without the possibility of parole. And it's being reported that this past Saturday night, three individuals with a leaf-blower ran into a movie theater in Newport Beach, California, scarring the audience, some of who were injured in their means to exit the theater in a hurry. None of the incidents are related. And they are all completely unpredictable.
KTVZ confirm that Regal Cinemas Old Mill 16 & IMAX in Bend, Oregon is firmly implementing the same backpack ban, with other theaters throughout the state participating. Moviegoers in both states have said that they feel safer with backpacks being banned, though some feel purse and diaper bag searches take away from the enjoyment and relaxation of visiting the local theater for a night out. A poll conducted by research firm C4 concludes that 1/3 of the American moviegoing public support increased security measures at theaters. While some believe its further establishing a police state. What do you think about all of this?