Man is Silenced in Movie Theater with a Gun

Everyone wants silence in a movie theater. There’s just something wrong with talking or texting while in a movie theater. It’s distracting, annoying and disrespectful to a degree. Still, it’s not worth killing someone over—at least that’s what people thought before a man was shot to death for using his cell phone in a theater this past Monday.

According to The New York Times, Curtis Reeves, a 71-year-old retired cop from Tampa, Fla., shot and killed Chad Oulsen, 43, after the two men got into an argument about Oulsen’s phone usage during previews to, ironically, “Lone Survivor.”

In the Cobb Grove 16 Theater in Wesley Chapel, the two men argued for a moment before Reeves reportedly stormed out of the theater to get a manager, but returned without one.

According to The Times, “The man using the phone explained to the irritated man that he was simply texting his 3-year-old daughter.”

Witness Charles Cummings told Fox 13 News that “three seconds, four seconds later, the argument starts again. Their voices start going up; there seems to be almost a confrontation. Somebody throws popcorn, I’m not sure who threw the popcorn, and, bang, [Oulsen] was shot.”

ABC News reported that a Sumter County deputy who was also in the theater quickly subdued the gunman and detained him until the police arrived; and that Oulsen was given CPR by, “A pair of nurses who were at the movie.”

“There were a lot of heroes in that movie theater today,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told ABC News.

Not only was Mr. Oulsen shot to death, but his wife, who was allegedly holding her husband at the time of the shooting, was injured and hospitalized as well.

Local police identified the firearm as a .380 handgun. While the .380 is a relatively small weapon, it showed itself to be no less deadly than any other gun would have been. This begs the question, what would have happened if Reeves had been unarmed, or carrying something less dangerous than a gun.

The event again indicates that the legality of owning and carrying a firearm can have disastrous consequences. Surely, no one would argue that an ex-cop seems like the sort of fellow who would responsibly wield his weapon, however as this episode indicates, this is not always the case. Since a man was armed in a movie theater, another man is now dead, and one man is likely on his was to a long imprisonment.

While debate over the legality of firearm ownership continues to be a hot-button issue in Washington, events like this continue to pour in. Not until laws are amended or changed will we see a slowing or stopping of incidents such as this one. As long as people, no matter how responsible, are able to walk about town, into schools and movie theaters, armed with deadly weapons accidents will continue to happen. People lose their tempers all the time, but when angry people are capable of pulling a trigger, killings are going to happen.