But maybe – just maybe – there were a few less obvious lessons to be learned too. Subtler things than doing away with midnight screenings or not allowing movie geeks to wear makeup, Star Wars suits and the like.
One such lesson, or thought, occurred to me as I read the early comments on an Associated Press account of the Batman movie slayings.
“This is a tragic event,” began kcteacher. “Among the wounded are a 6 yr old and a 3 mo old. My thought is this: what idiot takes a baby and a young child to a movie theater at midnight? The sound system in theaters today can permanently damage little ears for another thing. How very very sad.’
Naturally, the teach got pounded for his or her trouble.
“It’s an event movie, people are going to take their kids to things like this,” countered Inspector71. “Did anyone ever go to a midnight screening of any of the Star Wars movies or The Avengers or similar films? There’s a lot of kids at these. It’s not like the guy shot up a bar at midnight, then you…would have a valid point. I would never think a movie theater is someplace that a child shouldn’t be, especially during the summer.”
“It’s one thing to take a 6 year old to the theater to see Finding Nemo, or Toy Story, etc. It’s another to take them to a movie that’s not age appropriate. Taking a 6 year old to a move that they shouldn’t see in the first place, at a time when they should be in bed? Utter stoopidity and bad parenting. (And) a 3 month old has ZERO business in a theater, PERIOD.”
So while most of America was in hot pursuit of grisly shooting details, in Kansas City’s oft unsavory comments underworld an idea was born.
Why do movie theaters allow brain dead parents to drag infant children to movies they have no business being at?
Movies with hardcore violence, ridiculously loud explosions and the like. It makes no sense.
To start with the kiddies are subjected to nightmarish visuals and sounds. Secondly, for those who find innocuous texting offensive, try putting up with a screaming baby while trying to watch a movie.
Even from across the opposite side of the theater auditorium.
That happened repeatedly during an advance screening of The Bourne Ultimatum five years ago at AMC’s Studio 30 in Olathe.
The movie was rated PG-13 “for violence and intense sequences of action,” meaning parents were urged to be aware that aspects of the movie may be inappropriate for pre-teens.
I tracked down an exec responsible for many of the area’s promotional screenings to try and find out why they were letting people with babies in and guess what?
No comment on the record.
Off the record I got the equivalent of, “It’s a free country. The babies were accompanied by their parent or guardian, just like MPAA Movie Ratings specify.
Well, I’m with the teacher.
“I’m amazed all the time by today’s young parents and the stupid things many of them do. I taught 6 yr olds. This movie is not appropriate for a child that young. Then there is the hearing issue. Definitely dangerous for the 3 mo old.”
Wasn’t always that crying babies and their tender ears were subjected to sensory assaults like that of the Dark Knight, movie guy Jack Poessiger tells me.
“When I was first working in the business many theaters had a little room at the back where people could sit and watch a movie with their babies without disturbing other people,” Poessiger says. “They called it the Cry Room.”
For Poessiger’s money, “Number One, it’s ridiculous to bring a baby to a screening,” he says. “And if they start crying, waiting forever to take them out of the theater is disturbing to the audience. Then they take them outside and bring them back and they start screaming again.”
For what it’s worth, Jack’s got a theory.
“Maybe they feel they haven’t got the authority to stop people,” he says. “Maybe it’s like Southwest Airlines finally putting their foot down on fat people and making them buy a second ticket.”
Poessiger would like to put his foot somewhere on people who bring crying babies to movies they have no business at.
Provided, of course, they’re not threateningly large in size and sitting within ass-kicking distance.
Has Man Jack ever experienced said baby crying problem?
“Yeah and I’ve voiced my displeasure in the theater,” he says. “I’ve asked, ‘Will you please take that baby outside?’ I’ve even had other people applaud me for doing it because they were too chicken. They were just going to sit there and take it.”
So let’s be clear. In no way did the people who foolishly and selfishly took their way underage kids to the Dark Knight in Aurora get what they deserved.
However they need to get a clue, and since they obviously don’t have one, maybe movie theaters need lay down the law and not admit adults with young babies.
For everyone’s sake.
“I have many thoughts about this tragedy,” kcteach continues. “This is just one. Yes, you are an idiot if you take a 6 yr old or a 3 mo old to a movie at midnight. Like I said, the potential damage to hearing is real. Plus a midnight event is obviously not designed for children.
“When my kids were that little, we had this person called a babysitter. If we couldn’t afford one or find one, we stayed home. Imagine that.”