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During the Previews?!?!

[ 195 ] January 13, 2014 |

Good lord.

A moviegoer lost his life inside a Pasco County theater Monday afternoon after a dispute over texting with a retired police officer.

According to the sheriff’s office, the dispute happened before the 1:20 showing of ‘Lone Survivor’ had even gotten underway at the Cobb CineBistro at Grove 16 complex on Wesley Grove Blvd…

Charles Cummings told FOX 13 he heard the victim say he was texting his 3-year-old daughter before Reeves pulled out a pistol.

“Their voices start going up, there seems to be a confrontation, somebody throws popcorn, then bang, he was shot,” said Cummings, who was there to celebrate his birthday. “I heard the victim say, ‘I can’t believe…,’ then he fell on us.

Also, great use of the phrase “lost;” apparently he just misplaced his life, rather than having it taken from him by an angry old man who put a bullet through his chest. I’m reminded of Brockington’s very depressing argument; “if Newtown foments change in the direction opposite to good policy, I’m not sure what can be done.”


Comments (195)

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  1. Linnaeus says:

    An armed society is a polite society.

  2. jim, some guy in iowa says:

    that’s pretty fucked-up. you’d think a retired cop would know better

    • Well, to be fair to the local cop shop, they did let him retire at age 50 (21 years ago) and move to the private sector–where he became the security director of a not-Disney theme park.

      Story didn’t clear up how long it’s been since he left the Top Rent-a-Cop job, but it’s been awhile since he was expected to know better about anything besides public intoxication.

  3. Barry Freed says:

    After hearing what the dispute was about I’m just relieved to hear that LGM’s own SEK wasn’t involved.

  4. It’s not just “a Pasco County theater”. Gotta click through to get to the even-more-crazy picture.

  5. Jake says:

    An armed society is a polite society. And if I am subjectively offended by you, I will execute you.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      not if I shoot you first because you’ve been giving me dirty looks while I text – that’s gotta be a ‘stand your ground’ case

      • McAllen says:

        Nocco said his detectives considered if this could be a ‘stand your ground’ case but decided the criteria did not apply.

        I mean, I’m glad they decided “stand your ground” didn’t apply, but the idea that this could be considered justified even for a moment kind of boggles my mind.

        • jim, some guy in iowa says:

          me too, to the point if I don’t make bad jokes I’m going to be really freaking depressed about people

        • What worries me is that even though the police might not think it justified, the disturbing possibility exists that it will not only be used at trial but win.

        • Warren Terra says:

          I mean, I’m glad they decided “stand your ground” didn’t apply, but the idea that this could be considered justified even for a moment kind of boggles my mind.

          One of the things I learned about “stand your ground” after the death of Trayvon Martin was that the law as it exists in Florida (and therefore presumably also elsewhere, these legislative campaigns are coordinated and share advisors across state lines) punishes a police department or a prosecutor’s office if they treat a shooting as suspicious and a “stand your ground” defense is later upheld – the acquitted defendant (or possibly the unindicted suspect?) is explicitly invited to sue them for having questioned the shooting. Given such factors, you can see why they’d have to ben over backwards to contemplate possible “stand your ground” defenses, even when it’s a cranky old man shooting the unarmed daughter of a toddler for daring to distract from a trailer.

          • efgoldman says:

            …even when it’s a cranky old man shooting the unarmed daughter of a toddler for daring to distract from a trailer.

            If the kid had been crying or babbling or just taking out loud, as toddlers are wont to do, would the asshole be justified in shooting her?
            Of course he would!

            • sop says:

              You are allowed to shoot people who bring toddlers into R rated movies as soon as they enter the screening room. If you forgo this option and let them sit down, then you are only allowed to a)tase the child after two loud “shussshes” b)kill the parents after two ‘do you minds” and two loud “shusshes”
              Parents who bring young children to adult movies are horrible monsters but you need to operate within the established framework in order to co-exist in a polite and just society.

          • I didn’t know this, oddly enough since I had to research them once when my campus crank published an op-ed on them when I edited that page for the rag, but this makes good sense and explains a lot.

          • Nocomment says:

            Don’t forget, popcorn was (allegedly) thrown! Retired officer may have felt threatened. Therefore a lethal response may have been required to protect himself and other patrons.

          • (Shakezula) says:

            Police brutality and violations of rights remains a constant even though they can be sued for that.

            I think the possibility of being sued gives the police an excuse to take the shooter’s word for it, but the fear of being sued doesn’t enter into it.

            Isn’t Florida where a woman was sentenced to a decade or so because she fired a warning shot in an attempt to scare off an abusive ex spouse? Did not hit him, I believe she fired the gun into the air, but that got her some sort of attempted murder conviction.

  6. wjts says:

    Another murder by someone whose right to pretend he’s living in a Charles Bronson flick trumps the right of a man not to be murdered, the right of his wife not to see her husband die in front of her, and the right of a three-year-old to grow up with a father. Fucking gun nuts make me sick.

  7. Deggjr says:

    Let the punishment fit the crime.

  8. Larry Lennhoff says:

    I’m really frightened by how many of the comments on the OP talk about how the victim shouldn’t have been texting.

  9. DocAmazing says:

    “He was instrumental in establishing the department’s first Tactical Response Team”

    This is the part that makes it less surprising. Tactical/SWAT teams have proliferated across the US in a truly frightening and absurd manner. They bring to police work a military bent–the notion that cops are patrolling a conquered and subject population. That a guy who helped to make the department more Shock & Awe and less Protect & Serve would go into a movie (about SEALs, no less) strapped isn’t as out of character as one might hope.

  10. Mothra says:

    I’ve noticed that before-instead of saying someone was murdered, they say that the victim “lost” their life-which is just idiotic. Are reporters/newspapers that afraid of gun nuts that they reflexively think like this?

  11. Aimai says:

    Holy shit the comments on that article are mostly anti cell phone.

  12. (Shakezula) says:

    Thank goodness the 2d Am. gives us the right to defend ourselves from mild annoyances. Inattentive waiters, noisy kids and people who try to get on an elevator before everyone else has gotten off BEWARE.

  13. Stand Your Ground! You just know this republican asshole was a shitty cop. Enjoy your retirement, dickhead! Your family will hate you forever. He’ll rot in jail till he’s dead. Sucking on the government teet his whole, useless life. Probably a faux news aficionado. Good thing these old republican bigoted pricks are dying at the cyclic rate.

    • The Tragically Flip says:

      I’m struggling to find the term…”relief” is wrong, but somehow a related concept, that the victim and perpetrator are both white which at least takes away 900 different gun nut excuses for this, and ensured the perpetrator was actually prosecuted.

      It’s just gun nuttery on trial here. A “responsible gun owner” until one day he got mad and wasn’t one anymore.

      • The Tragically Flip says:

        oops meant to be a reply to the thread, not the person above.

      • That second part is what no one in my area gets. They all think, no matter how many shooting stories come out, that they (or their dads/uncles/brothers/whatever) would never, ever be like that – but of course, as one points out to them, as far as the legal system is concerned neither did a goodly number of the people involved in incidents like this.

  14. N__B says:

    Maybe we’re being unfair. If it was a preview for the 300 sequel (301? 400? 300^2? I forget.) then silence would be required.

  15. mike in dc says:

    Well, one key difference between the Martin shooting and this one: The victim is white.
    He was immediately charged with second degree murder, despite no doubt identifying himself to the arresting officers as a retired police officer.
    If a retired police officer is capable of doing this, in a movie theater, during the previews, well, not exactly a ringing endorsement of open carry laws.

  16. The Tragically Flip says:

    Oh shit, that poor little girl, if she ever learns daddy died because he was texting her…oh the horrible self-blame she’ll go through.

    What a fucking travesty.

    • Cheap Wino says:

      I’m gonna nitpick here because it’s important how things are characterized. He didn’t die because he was texting her. It was the crazy fuck who killed him for no good reason at all. He was texting her because he loved her. It’s important for her to understand that distinction.

      But, yeah, absolutely, “Poor little girl,” and, “What a travesty,” is damn right. Going to be hard for her.

      • The Tragically Flip says:

        Of course, nit accepted, I meant only that she might interpret it that way, in that irrational part of the mind that blames ourselves for every bad thing that happens if we can contrive anything at all we could have done differently to avoid it. It can be completely irrational, we can know this is so, and yet still haunt us.

  17. Ann Outhouse says:

    I live in Pasco County, over near the coast. Absolutely nothing in that article surprises me, including the consideration of whether Stand Your Ground applies. This is Gun Nut Central, and our sheriff is an inexperienced right-wing wackjob who couldn’t hold a job in public law enforcement, went to work for Rubio, got appointed by Gov. Batboy when the previous Sheriff retired without completing his term, and managed to get himself re-elected in an off-year election against an ineffective candidate.

  18. wengler says:

    The minor argument blowing up into murder rarely happens in a theater, but it happens in a bar every damn day. The politicians that mandate firearms be allowed in bars should be legally responsible for every single expense caused by those that use their firearms in bars.

  19. LosGatosCA says:

    Nobody gives the shooter any credit for having controlled himself for 71 years despite endless provocations and temptations to use his gun to maintain good public order.

    Like this guy.

    And about the popcorn – those butter stains will NEVER come out. Who’s supposed to answer for that? Tell me, WHO?

  20. LosGatosCA says:

    I take no comfort whatsoever in correctly predicting that Newtown would have absolutely zero short term impact on the place of the gun culture in our society. In the very long run, maybe it will, I hope so.

    Once the federal government passed product liability immunity for gun makers it not only made incremental rational progress impossible, it also signaled that the depth of misguided conviction (i.e. paranoia) and span of irrational support for the gun culture far outweighed the opposition to it.

    The only path I see going forward is to follow cigarettes as the role model. When it becomes a public embarrassment to your peers, prospective dates, etc. to be a gun owner, like smoking generally is, then the tide will be turning.

    • Darek says:

      The only path I see going forward is to follow cigarettes as the role model. When it becomes a public embarrassment to your peers, prospective dates, etc. to be a gun owner, like smoking generally is, then the tide will be turning.

      I wouldn’t be shocked if stand your ground is then used to justify shooting people who dared to mock a gun owner. After all, those laws have always been about protecting the fragile egos of small-dicked men who can’t back down lest they be seen as sissies.

      • KatWillow says:

        It seems the authors of “Stand Your Ground” and other pro-firearm laws are actively working to destroy our already sick, blighted society. Then, I’m guessing, The Kocks and their brethren will rebuild the US to their crazed libertarian standards. Or maybe they’ll just make the 99% their slaves.

    • postmodulator says:

      Funny you should mention that. I was just thinking the other day that I’ll probably get shot for lighting a cigarette eventually. (I really am trying to quit, I promise.)

      • (Shakezula) says:

        The sellers of e-cigs claim smoking is a right in their ads, so it must be true! Therefore you can shoot anyone who tries to stop you from smoking. But if someone tried to bum one off you and you said no, could they Stand Their Ground against the discomfort of nicotine withdrawal you were inducing and shoot you? To say nothing of the issue of failing to return a borrowed lighter. Maybe you should get an opinion from the Supreme Court of FaceBook first.

        p.s. Not that you should be shot, but when you’re ready to quit, I highly recommend the Patch. If you’re in the states I believe you can get the first box free from your state QuitLine.

        • postmodulator says:

          I tried the patch about ten years ago and it didn’t work for me. I’ve had better luck in the past with lozenges and gum.

          • (Shakezula) says:

            I think the patch improved (says the repeat quitter). For one thing, they didn’t itch like blazes this time, so I was able to do the full course.

            But I should have said I believe the states provide a NRS of some sort.

          • pete says:

            The patch drove me nuts, and I think I figured out why: It supplied a constant amount of the most addictive single element, rather than the spike/crash routine my body was used to. I moved on to nicotine gum, and from there eventually to regular gum; the whole process from last-ciggy to last lousy piece of rotten chewable took about six months, maybe a little more, about three years ago (or was it four now?). Good luck figuring out what works for you! PS, yes I still have twinges, but they’re mild and easily overcome.

  21. LosGatosCA says:

    One consequence of a conviction here could be proliferation of this.

    Countries should not manage their finances like a household.

    That’s clearly wrong. However . . . .

    Households should manage their armament like a country. Specifically, like a country engaged in an arms race with an existential threat.

    Develop your own triple threat strategy – non-glint commando knife in your boot, Glock in your hand, and a mop up taser to complete the submission of your wounded prey obnoxious neighbor. And don’t forget kevlar vest pajamas for weathering the initial thrust of nocturnal home invasions from illegal immigrants while you gather your firepower to repulse them.

    Use your paranoia as a competitive advantage, don’t let others try to neutralize it. Join a support group. If you ever think that letting your guard down is appealing turn to Faux News on cable.

    • LosGatosCA says:

      I’d like to see Farley do some research on how a viable strategy for power projection in rural America differs from power projection in the exurbs, as well as from a repurposed urban bomb shelter.

      And whether the principles of diplomacy and their practical application should vary by locale or situation.

      For instance, should farmers in Nebraska threaten drone attacks on Chicago to protect their way of life? Is it viable to ask the neighbors to lower the volume on their stereo after midnight or is it better to simply fire a warning shot? Of what caliber? What should be done if your adversary engages with illegitimate interlopers in attempts to settle natural disputes in their favor. Like calling 911 during skirmishes or filing frivolous lawsuits after close physical encounters, etc.

  22. shah8 says:

    One thing that depresses me even further is the tolerance for gun trolls to disrupt every single gun incident that is dairied at DKos. It was particularly bad with this story.

  23. MikeN says:

    Trust you liberal gun-control fanatics to totally miss the point. If the guy that was killed had been carrying, he should have been able to get the drop on a 71-year-old guy. And his wife, too-instead of ineffectually putting her hand up, she could have put a couple of rounds into the old dude first.

    But no, they’re one of those wimpy left-wing couples who head off to a movie theater unarmed, even after Aurora. I bet the mom lets her kid go to kindergarten without packing, even after Newton.

  24. […] was planning on writing about something also depressing, albeit in a different way. However, as Rob discusses below, we have […]

  25. K says:

    Wow. You hear idiots from the right wondering “w-why do they want to take our guns, i just don’t know” I know why. People cant keep their fucking iron in their pants when the situation calls for maybe a passive, but firm voice. And a retired cop, so you can’t even try and tell me making sure cops are the only ones armed is the solution. This is why everyone who isnt the type of person to waste someone for texting in a movie theater needs to be able to choose to carry or not. Because it only takes one freak with a gun in a movie theater to cause a mass shooting, but it only takes one reasonable person with a gun to stop it. Everyone is on the second amendment like flies on cow manure. Some people love it, some not so much, but nobody talks about the responsibility that the right to keep and bear comes with. If you decide to use the right, you better be ready for the responsibility as well. As someone who owns many weapons, swords, knives, axes, bows, and guns, i can tell you that the responsibility of owning firearms is much more than with other weapons. Maintenance is just as important as storage. Most self-shooting accidents happen during cleaning. You must clean a gun after shooting it or else it could misfunction, even blow up in your face and kill you. Of course, theres the obvious responsibilities as well, keeping your guns out of reach of children, not capping someone for texting in a theater, keeping your bullets in a safe spot, etc. In a world where you can get waste bagged in a movie theater by an ex cop everybody needs maximum freedom to choose the type of personal protection is best.

    • Malaclypse says:

      As we, or mother Dana, weave and unweave our bodies, Stephen said, from day to day, their molecules shuttled to and fro, so does the artist weave and unweave his image. And as the mole on my right breast is where it was when I was born, though all my body has been woven of new stuff time after time, so through the ghost of the unquiet father the image of the unliving son looks forth. In the intense instant of imagination, when the mind, Shelley says, is a fading coal, that which I was is that which I am and that which in possibility I may come to be. So in the future, the sister of the past, I may see myself as I sit here now but by reflection from that which then I shall be.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      Jump off that movie theater roof, K. You’re the goddamn Batman.

  26. K says:

    Im not saying that a glock and a ccp would have saved the texters life, but I’m also not not saying it either, if you catch my drift. If the texter just stuck a gun right back in the face of the ex cop, then you change a murder to a Mexican stand-off. At first look, the two seem similar, both involve people with guns out, and both disrupt the shit out of a good movie, but the murder is going to be loud, and it ends in a dead body by definition. While the Mexican stand off still has the possibility of loudness and death, it isn’t so rigidly bound to such an outcome. Mexican standoffs can actually be quite quiet. This is because a would be assailant was expecting to expend a bullet that costs pocket change and nothing more, thinking the victim is unarmed and when that assumption proves wrong, he decides he wants to live.

    • Deptfordx says:

      The ex-cop sees the texter drawing a weapon.

      Scenario A: He calmly considers the situation, decides this escalation is unwelcome, begins a dialogue leading to mutual disarmanent and peaceful resolution.

      Scenario B: “Stand my ground, stand my ground!” .

      Which of these seems more likely?

    • Aimai says:

      Oh. K is a parody. I get it now. No one could possibly be this dumb in real life…could they?

    • Malaclypse says:

      INELUCTABLE MODALITY OF THE VISIBLE: AT LEAST THAT IF NO MORE, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.

      • postmodulator says:

        Wouldn’t it mess with the trolls more if we quoted Burroughs rather than Joyce?

        • Malaclypse says:

          Your jib, I like the cut of it. I am abashed that I didn’t realize immediately that Burroughs was the better choice for responding to meth-addled stream-of-consciousness.

          • rea says:

            Burroughs is plainly the go-to guy on a thread about gun rights

            • postmodulator says:

              I bow to none in my slavish devotion to Burroughs’ actual writing, but I never did figure out how a guy drunkenly kills someone with a gun and actually keeps being well-nigh obsessed with guns.

              The documentary that came out, A Man Within, has footage of Burroughs still drunkenly waving guns around. So he didn’t even learn the obvious lesson.

              • Malaclypse says:

                I never did figure out how a guy drunkenly kills someone with a gun and actually keeps being well-nigh obsessed with guns.

                Allow me to bring up George Zimmerman.

                • postmodulator says:

                  Yeah, I don’t really understand George Zimmerman either. I mean I understand him well enough to know I don’t want him living in my town, but I don’t understand him at all.

    • wjts says:

      If the texter just stuck a gun right back in the face of the ex cop, then you change a murder to a Mexican stand-off.

      Oh, indeed. The only defense against deaths and destruction that result from the imbecilic juvenile fantasy lived by people like you and Curtis Reeves is a more elaborate imbecilic juvenile fantasy.

  27. LeeEsq says:

    The gun rights idiots are a perfect example of how our political system allows a passionate political minority to defeat a majority. There won’t be any action until there is an extraordinary passionate majority can repeal the Second Amendment.

  28. Major Kong says:

    Gee, sure glad we decided to let every walking personality-disorder in this country carry a concealed weapon everywhere they go.

  29. Matt Minus says:

    Mark my words, the thrown popcorn will be used as the basis for a SYG defense. The theater was dark, he felt SOMETHING hit him which made him ascared, he only had a split second to respond to this potential threat, and he’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

    We’ll be reminded by the media that the crux of the matter is whether the shooter felt his life was in danger irrespective of the actual facts. We’ll probably also be informed that, technically, the thrown popcorn was a species of assault, so, while he likely could have been more generous, the shooter was 100% justified in his actions.

    • The Tragically Flip says:

      My fear is that US gun insanity has now reached a tipping point where courts will find that it is “reasonable” to assume anyone you get into any kind of altercation with is armed, and thus reasonable to draw first, and further reasonable to shoot first if he makes (or you perceive he makes) any kind of move that could be to draw his weapon (which you don’t have to have seen or have any actual reason to believe he has).

      The mere fact that America is gun crazy will now justify immediate and otherwise unjustifable use of guns to “head off” the vague potential that the other guy is carrying and is as trigger happy as you.

      • NorthLeft12 says:

        Unfortunately, there is a great deal of merit in your arguement. Especially when the final arbiters of that level of paranoia will be twelve fellow citizens who are predisposed [depending on some other conditions..if you know what I mean] to agree with that point of view.

        Also, the defence you describe has worked for police forces around the world for years/decades/centuries so why shouldn’t it be utilized by ordinary citizens?

      • Barry Freed says:

        Exactly this. They’ve made their bed, now we have to lie in it.

      • efgoldman says:

        The mere fact that America is gun crazy will now justify immediate and otherwise unjustifable use of guns to “head off” the vague potential that the other guy is carrying and is as trigger happy as you.

        As long as the shooter is pale of hue. You forgot that part. And only speaks English, also too.

      • Anonymous says:

        From the brief synopsis I read, when the murderer returned to the screening room, the victim stood up an asked him if he had complained to the theater management. The defense will try to weave a defense out of that action and the popcorn.

    • postmodulator says:

      Mark my words, the thrown popcorn will be used as the basis for a SYG defense.

      They are in fact already saying this.

  30. Drew says:

    I heard they’re charging second degree murder? This is first degree, full stop. Leaving and then coming back shows deliberation. I refuse to believe this was a crime of passion/heat of the moment type thing. Too much time elapsing and the leaving and coming back.

    • Just Dropping By says:

      They may upgrade the charge later depending on the evidence; however, the witness’ statement quoted in the OP weighs against your conclusion about “deliberation” at this point since the witness said the shooter and the victim argued after the shooter came back into the theater.

    • efgoldman says:

      Someone pointed out way up thread that 2nd degree is the standard quickie charge in MI, which can then be upgraded or downgraded by the prosecutor.

      • rea says:

        That was me. The point is, garden variety murder is murder two. Murder one is murder + aggravating factors. So, murder two is the usual place to start. At this point, the goal is to have a charge to arraign him on, so they can hold him in jail (or set bail).

  31. K says:

    How can you idiots not see the simple math. One person has a gun in a theater=murder. Two people in a theater with guns plural=awkward silence.

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