Hearne: Anti Texting Crowd Takes Up Arms in Florida – KC Responds

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Lauren Euston

What a way to go, death by text…

That’s how a Florida father bit the dust – on “Senior Monday” at a Cobb  movie-plex in Tampa. Retired cop  Curtis Reeves shot and killed 43 year-old Chad Oulson after complaining to him about Oulson texting his 31/2 year-old daughter. The shooting went down during the previews prior to an afternoon screening of the movie “Lone Survivor.”

“Well, it had to happen,” says fierce anti-text movie critic Jack Poessiger. “Yes, I am down on texting but obviously it’s over-the-top to shoot somebody over it.”

In Poessiger’s world – and other dead serious movie critics and fanatics like Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League – there are no valid excuses for texting or looking at texts on your phone during movies.

Not even for people with young children, seriously ailing relatives or pending personal issues?

“You can’t tell me you can’t go two hours without having a text,” Poessiger quips. “What did you do eight or ten years ago? You would probably text at a damn funeral or at church.”

He’s right, not only would I text at a funeral or church, I probably have.

But discreetly.

“Occasionally I text at a movie but I do it discreetly,” echoes 30-something Hairpins stylist Lauren Euston. “I would say, it’s circumstantial – if you have the space and you keep it low – you can turn your screen all the way down so it’s not a distraction. I wouldn’t be like, just chatting or something, because I’d rather watch the movie. But if there was a reason to answer, I’d find a way to do it discreetly. I wouldn’t just be waving it around full blast.”

“I don’t agree, I just don’t believe in doing it in the theater,” Poessiger says. “It’s rude, rude, rude.”

alamodrafthousetimleague430rk120510Euston sees it as a generational issue.

“A lot of old school people just don’t like the cellphone culture,” Euston explains. “There’s nothing wrong with feeling that way, but in this day and age it’s something people have to tolerate. There’s just no reason for something like this. The story should be about whether or not somebody got kicked out of the theater, not whether or not he died. No one needs to die because they texted, but people should be considerate.”

As for Poessiger’s contention that years ago people got by without cellphones and texting, people got by without a lot of things in the past  – indoor bathrooms, air travel and movies to name three – but times change and customs and behavior change as well.

“It’s not that big a deal,” says my 16 year-old daughter Savannah Christopher. “Because in my generation, I’m used to texing, I’ve grown up texting. Just don’t have your brightness up when you text or your sound on.”

“This incident certainly highlights a problem the motion picture industry has,” Poessiger says. “It puts it right back in the spotlight.”

 

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32 Responses to Hearne: Anti Texting Crowd Takes Up Arms in Florida – KC Responds

  1. balbonis moleskine says:

    Big shocker, an ex cop went Falling Down right before the big rah-rah pro war wankfest starring Marky Mark.

    Spoiler alert: they are all dumbasses who fall down cliffs and shatter ankles all movie. Plenty of creedos and evidently we are losing the war due to not enough heavy Air Cavalry support, whoda know?

    • the dude says:

      We are losing the war because not enough people believe in teh ‘Mericun Way, whatever the hell that is.

      • Nick says:

        War? What war? Congress did not declare war on Afghanistan. Or Iraq, for that matter; there hasn’t been an actual declaration of war since the ’40s. We’re just doing our usual “invade and occupy” shtick.

        Because, ya know, we can.

  2. the dude says:

    And I heard it WAS DURING THE PREVIEWS. THE EFFING PREVIEWS MAN, it wasn’t like this poor sap did it during the damn movie.
    Like Baloney alluded to it sounds like this tuff McGruff ex-piggy was dying for a chance to go full-on Zimmerman. Since this guy sounds white I don’t think ex-oinko shall skate free this time.

  3. Skeptic says:

    During the previews it’s no biggie. If it is during the actual feature and you simply MUST muck around with your personal electronic device of choice then what is so hard about taking outside the door of the darkened auditorium?

  4. harley says:

    you forgot the very important part that the 2 men threw popcorn at each other.
    Wow…popcorn throwing…and both men were with their wives.
    Heck if the victim had been armed this would never have happened.

    • admin says:

      Actually, witnesses say the texter dude was the one who threw the popcorn and the septuagenarian packing heat seems claimed the (now) dead guy hit him with something. Like it might a really big knife or club or maybe popcorn. So he felt threatened and offed the dude.

  5. OPKS Jimbo says:

    If your 3 1/2 year old can’t make it until the movie is over, or if Mom is checking out, maybe you should wait for it to come out on DVD. Posessiger is right Euston is wrong. More reasons to not pay to see movies in the theater.

  6. harley says:

    jackie…
    at one time movie theatres were places to go for enjoyment now they’re
    shooting galleries.
    ya need to pack heat before you go see one of them movie pictures.

    • jack p. says:

      That’s kinda unfair, Harley. It happens everywhere. At Wal-Mart, in shopping malls, schools, the Chiefs parking lot—even at a funeral parlor in St. Louis if memory serves me correctly.
      It’s just that when it happens at the movies it makes for a sexier media story. The entertainment industry craves publicity…however some of it just isn’t that great….

  7. Paracelsus says:

    So there’s no possible way to manage your personal crises without a cell phone? That is amazing. How did the human species survive all these years?

    Please. Obsessive connection and the entitled narcissism of social networking culture demand that you constantly comment, like, subscribe, click, and tweet. There are plenty of reasons not to visit an actual movie theater, and the cell phone thing is just one of many. Dozens of little pale screens bloom in the dark (or what used to be the dark) as soon as the lights dim, if not sooner.

    • admin says:

      That’s your choice, Paracelsus.

      But last time I checked, hanging at home was a poor way of insulating oneself from outside influences. Ringing phones, texts, noisy neighbors, screaming kids – you name it.

    • Goose13 says:

      I agree to an extent. But shooting someone in the chest is not the answer. When is an argument decided with a gun? I understand bringing a phone to a movie theater a lot better than bringing a side arm.

  8. Paul says:

    So Hearne, you think the rules for texting in theaters should be:

    1. Texting is only permitted for people with young children, seriously ailing relatives, or pending personal issues.
    2. Turn your screen illumination all the way down.
    3. Practice discretion.

    Anyone want to volunteer to be the poor theater manager who has to enforce those rules?

    And in response to Lauren’s comment that, in this day and age texting in movies is just something we have to tolerate, my question is why? Embracing changing technology doesn’t give us the right to be boorish.

    • admin says:

      Paul, Paul, Paul…

      There you go again, putting words in my mouth. I don’t remember using the word “only.” However, those are three pretty good places to begin.

      Here’s my actual take:

      Most oldsters – and yes, even the 43 year-old dude qualifies for the sake of this argument – don’t really seem to know how to exhibit proper cellphone etiquette. Starting with turning off the sound, dimming the screen and either discreetly peeking at your phone in your purse (that’s Man Purse to you, Jack) or inside your coat or someplace virtually nobody will even notice you doing it.

      Then if it requires further immediate attention, leave the theater.

      I wasn’t there obviously, but some old fart to even know the guy ahead of him sent a text to his daughter, the guy had to be doing basically none of the above. Probably had the screen light fairly bright, may have had the sound on and probably held the phone at or near eye level so he could see it better and make it easier to type.

      If Lauren or I had been in front of that trigger happy senior he’d have never even known we’d sent a text.

      I think we can agree on one thing though; two wrongs don’t make a right!

  9. Stomper says:

    Now that your daughters are driving, Hearne, I trust you will be a bit more intolerant with regards to that activity.

    Do you ever use your cell phone while driving?

    • admin says:

      First of all, your assumption that they are driving is largely incorrect.

      As for you question, can I take the 5th?

      • Stomper says:

        Get ready to pull out that check book, H man. At the next birthday, I’m thinking customized and monogrammed key fobs for the girls. You won’t be able to withstand the pressure they will bring to the table.

        🙂

  10. Markus Aurelius says:

    That ex-cop ought to fry.

    • admin says:

      Fry he will, Markus.

      Then again, we’re talking about Florida here and it was after all, Seniors Monday.

  11. Kerouac says:

    “in this day and age it’s something people have to tolerate”

    – dead wrong… manners as restraint not subject time, place or a common sense.

    What ‘freedom’ looks like an America unwilling abide rules, in lieu endogenous “I gots my rights man.” Texter made the choice violate theater policy, terminator the choice enforce said; one to text no encore, other squeeze a dramaturgical trigger nevermore. Shakespeare’s moral, courtesy Polonius – “never a texter nor terminator be.” Modern vernacular, two morons, no waiting.

  12. John Altevogt says:

    One of the catch 22’s of self defense laws is that if you feel threatened you cannot simply brandish the weapon, or fire a warning shot to frighten your attacker. Either of those acts will get you fried if you go for self defense. In order to use deadly force you must fear for your life and the courts assume that if you have time to waive your weapon around, or shoot a warning shot you obviously didn’t fear for your life. Therefore, the industry standard for self defense is to shoot center mass until the threatening behavior stops. Given today’s bullets, that usually means your target is dead.That is clearly what the shooter did in this case.

    Two other things not widely reported is that the shooter went and got the manager to get the guy off his phone and after the manager accosted the guy with the phone he went off on the shooter. That should be a lesson to us all not to bring a bag of popcorn to a gunfight.

    Secondly, sitting a few seats away from the shooter was an off duty Sheriff’s deputy, Alan Hamilton, who, instead of fleeing with the rest of the patrons, went to the sound of the gunfire and heroically disarmed the shooter.

  13. admin says:

    Hold it a sec, John…

    There have been lots of partial reporting on this but according to CNN the theater manager never made it back to the auditorium prior to the shooting.

    Check it:

    “The two men began to argue and Reeves walked out of the auditorium. Police said Reeves was going to complain to a theater employee. But Nocco told CNN on Tuesday night that the manager was busy with another customer and Reeves never addressed his complaint with a supervisor.”

    Which is probably added to the senior dude losing it

    • John Altevogt says:

      Hmm.. I got that from an early CNN report, but I’ll take your word for it.

      • admin says:

        Happens to all of us all of the time, John.

        Remember when one of my sources told me early on that Fox 4 weather wonk Don Harman hung himself from the rafters at his house?

        My dear friend Tony will never forget it!

  14. PB says:

    “Not even for people with young children, seriously ailing relatives or pending personal issues?”
    If this is the case, then shouldn’t those concerns outweigh a completely self-serving action such attending a movie? The whole idea behind going to the movies is to escape life’s realities for 2-3 hours so it’s a good idea to have your shit in order before hitting the local AMC.

    Jeezuz, if a thrown bag of popcorn set this ex-cop off enough to fire his weapon, I’m surprised there isn’t a trail of dead perps lying along his old Florida beat. Something like this happens and we’re supposed to be comfortable with some pistol-packing soccer mom who aced a 3-hour conceal & carry class at the local gun range?

    • admin says:

      To answer the first part of your question, PB, let me say that the reality is people with very young children, ailing relatives, huge business deals and any number of other unforeseen personal crises don’t sit around the house and stew until everything in their lives are perfect.

      They get babysitters and go out for the same escape people like yourself with every aspect of your life in perfect order do.

      However technology allows them a window into the unexpected that they would be foolish to ignore. Regardless of whether it gives some senior citizen the wrong kind of hard on.

      And it’s very easy for them to be ultra discreet about checking those cellphones.

      Think of it as practicing “safe texting.”

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