“I believe that the primary responsibility at this point rests with Cinemark”

by Walter Olson on September 27, 2012

Yes, it’s a lawyer — and from a reasonably well-known New York firm at that — blaming the theater operator for the Aurora, Colo. attack [Abnormal Use ("It is interesting that Mr. Bern chose to say the 'primary responsibility' for the shooting lies with Cinemark. I would have probably placed the primary responsibility on the guy with the gun who was actually doing the shooting"), earlier; BBC]

{ 16 comments }

1 DEM 09.27.12 at 10:28 am

The lawyer is simply attempting to do what our tort law is designed to accomplish: assign responsibility to the party which has the most money, as opposed to the most fault.

2 marco73 09.27.12 at 2:02 pm

“I believe that the deepest pocket at this point rests with Cinemark.”

There – fixed it.

3 kimsch 09.27.12 at 8:18 pm

Is the solution putting magnetometers in theaters? Thereby raising ticket and food prices? And increasing the time needed to get from the ticket window to the theater seat?

How many people would just stop going to the theater at all?

All over one guy who is 100% at fault for what happened in Aurora, CO.

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the actor and not anyone else for the action.

4 David Smith 09.27.12 at 9:02 pm

Since the theater was one of the few that banned firearms on its premises in a legal carry state, he may (gag) have a legit point.

It wasn’t coincidence the shooter selected that theater out of so many closer and the theaters mandatory emasculation left the theater patrons sheep waiting for the protection of the sheep dogs (which will be here in minutes).

5 Richard Nieporent 09.27.12 at 9:58 pm

David, while I understand the point you are trying to make, I don’t think it will be a winning strategy on the part of the lawyers to argue that the problem was that there were too few guns in the movie theater.

6 Benjamin 09.28.12 at 3:41 am

I don’t know, Richard. I would sue arguing that their no firearms rules made the situation worse because the shooter could continue firing shots with impunity.

7 doug 09.28.12 at 7:11 am

well, then the people who had firearms and used them in the theater can also be sued by the victims who were shot by them too.

8 Benji 09.28.12 at 9:57 am

Never liked the line of reasoning that more people carrying guns would prevent it. These aren’t expert soldiers or marksmen or anything – they’re regular people with a carry permit. I imagine they’re about as panicked as anyone else when someone fires on them, and they’re good but not perfect shots. In a crowded theater filled with smoke bombs and general panic, they seem more likely to hit more innocent bystanders than to pick off the actual shooter. And also likely to shoot at the other people trying to hit the original shooter – under the circumstances you don’t stop to figure out who someone’s shooting at and why before opening fire yourself.

9 ParatrooperJJ 09.28.12 at 2:27 pm

It’s a pretty basic point of law that merchants are responsible for the employee’s and patron’s safety. It’s even more apparent when a merchant affirmatively restricts their rights to self defense.

10 doug 09.28.12 at 2:56 pm

that is an absurd statement.

11 E-Bell 09.28.12 at 3:36 pm

Benji, I’d wager that your typical concealed-carry permit holder is a pretty experienced shooter – almost certainly better trained than your typical drug dealer, mugger or spree killer (Charles Whitman notwithstanding).

In fact, I’d say that in many places, a permit-holder is probably better trained than the average law enforcement officer. Take the Empire State Building incident that happened a few weeks back – the police there didn’t hit the suspect once but nailed several bystanders, and NYC police firearms training has consequently put under them microscope and found to be severely lacking.

People who get permits and carry regularly tend to be hobbyists. They go to the range often and shoot thousands of rounds per year. Sometimes they even take special classes that simulate stressful situations like robberies or combat.

12 L. C. Burgundy 09.28.12 at 3:45 pm

I generally disagree with this sort of blatant search for deep pockets, but these sorts of “gun-free zone” policies really are more accurately titled “criminal empowerment zones.” Sure, Benji, doug, perhaps an armed victim would have shot someone else, but that’s just rank speculation. You could argue against police response to many violent scenes for the same reason. Gun-free zones merely ensure a captive audience that WILL be helplessly murdered by the first nut who comes along whose respect for corporate policy is lacking, as what happened here.

13 Mannie 09.28.12 at 5:19 pm

That was a situation where private CCW defense would be at a severe disadvantage. The murderer had the factor of surprise, poor light, and victims running about fouling the line of return fire. Still any chance is better than none, and even a couple of return shots, high into the overhead, might distract the mope enough for more people to get away, or for someone to rush him. Any resistance is an encouraging element for others. If the CCW was lucky enough to be in the right position, he could have been decisive. On Monday Morning, it’s easy to see they should have gone deep and passed the ball.

I’m convinced that if everybody in the theatre ran to the sound of the guns, and rushed the mope, they could have taken him down at relatively little cost. Yeah, easy for me to say, safe behind my keyboard, but it doesn’t hurt any more to be shot in the chest that in the back. Sometimes, you have to throw your life away to save it. This is similar to Army ambush drill. You run from a far ambush. You attack a near ambush. It’s the best hope you have.

Attack. Attack. Always attack.

14 Benji 09.28.12 at 6:16 pm

E-Bell: They’re most likely good marksmen at the shooting range. That’s my concern, though – ‘at the range’, not ‘while someone is trying to shoot and kill them.’ There’s no way to go to the range and practice being calm and precise while in imminent mortal danger.
There’s a chance that an armed citizen might have reduced the loss of life at Aurora, I’ll admit. But there’s also a chance they wouldn’t have helped much or would have made things worse. I was a little disgusted by the pro-gun crowd that seemed absolutely positive that a single armed citizen in the audience would definitely have saved nearly everyone there.

15 OBQuiet 09.28.12 at 8:29 pm

Benji,

Nothing will be perfect, proper training can certainly help. Or does every rookie in the armed forces panic in his first fire fight?

And at there would have been a fair chance that some of those present might have had combat experience.

I would think that in some cases, there would be additional loss of life. And in others the losses would be reduced. In any one case, it is likely we would never be sure which. All we do know is that one option was removed here.

16 DEM 09.30.12 at 9:12 pm

Maybe I missed it, but it seems the posts are ignoring the deterrent factor inherent in having an armed populace. In a world where several moviegoers can reasonably be expected to be armed, the Colorado shooter might well have reasoned, “if I try this I might get killed before I shoot anyone.” Given that the shooter did not commit suicide and is now infamous, the thought of becoming a dead perp might well have deterred him. As it happens, he was quite safe in the assumption that he’d encounter no return fire.

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