Tragedy calls for security measures
By Maria Amante firstname.lastname@example.org | 648-3072 July 20, 2012 6:12PM
Updated: July 20, 2012 10:13PM
A trip to the movies is a typical Friday activity for many, but the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., gave moviegoers in Northwest Indiana pause before they went for the show and popcorn.
Locally, police say they have increased observation of area theaters. Dan Murchek, Lake County deputy chief of police, said officers have been asked to be more vigilant and patrol in the vicinity of theaters whenever possible.
“I don’t know what the other cities and towns are doing, but we are being more visible and present, just as a precaution,” Murchek said. “We are assisting agencies for public safety reasons, and we’ll continue it, and I would assume a lot of departments are doing this throughout the country. I would venture to say a lot of police departments (already) have police officers (at theaters) in the evenings (just in case).”
Ryan Noonan, a spokesman for AMC Theatres, said in a statement that nationally, local law enforcement and security have stepped up nationwide to ensure safety. He said security procedures are being reinforced.
Noonan also said that showtimes are not changing, but no guest will be allowed into a theater with costumes that make other guests feel uncomfortable. Additionally, no face-covering masks or fake weapons are allowed in the buildings.
“We are taking necessary precautions to ensure our guests who wish to enjoy a movie this weekend can do so with as much peace of mind as possible in these circumstances,” he said.
Carol Brenner, of Crown Point, said she was shocked to hear the news out of Colorado on Friday morning. Brenner, on the way into the AMC Showplace in Hobart with her husband, Chuck, said she did think twice before going to the theater on Friday.
“I couldn’t come to see that movie (today),” she said. “And I wouldn’t come to see it now.” She believes the event was an isolated incident, but it has still left her unsettled. Even so, Brenner said the couple don’t want an extreme event from across the country to change their lifestyle.
She said her sympathy extends to everyone in that theater.
“They went to the show to be entertained, and then, for that to happen ...” she said, shaking her head and her voice trailing off. “There was so many young people.”
Jim Galliher and his wife, Kristine, were at the theater to see a movie for her birthday, and while they were disturbed by the Colorado shooting, he had no reservations making the trip.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” Galliher said. “He was some psycho.”
Seeing the Batman movie on Friday would also be too difficult for Kay Grabeck, of Valparaiso, who was with her two sons at the theater to see “Ice Age: Continental Drift.”
“Just the thought of it is so horrible,” Grabeck said.
She said her sons had heard about the shootings on the news Friday morning.
“It’s affected them, they’re scared,” Grabeck said. “We just told them it was very far away and they don’t need to worry. But it was absolutely horrible.”
Victoria Doe, of Hebron, brought her 4-year-old son to the same show for his birthday, but did so with hesitation.
“Do you let down a 4-year-old or take a chance?” she asked.