Monday, November 14, 2005

Security amped after shooting occurs

I took Peanut to see Zathura Friday evening because he was too excited to wait 'til Saturday. Which is fine because I get excited when we get to do stuff by ourselves and, of course, when he gets excited.

When we pulled into the parking lot, the police presence was obvious. They had blocked off the section of road directly in front of the theatre, had unmarked cars and trucks throughout the parking lot (they just sat there observing I assume) and had several officers standing both inside and outside the theatre itself. After all that I was surprised to notice that mounted patrol weren't included in all the hoopla.

The reason for all this? A shooting had occurred in the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania after supposedly viewing 50Cent's (pronounced fiddy) new movie, Get Rich or Die Tryin'. According to the CNN article linked above, Loew's (the name of the theatre company) pulled it from other theatres in the surrounding Pittsburgh area pending a completed investigation. What is interesting, and it's something even the article states, is they aren't sure if the shooters saw Get Rich beforehand or not, witnesses only knew that he came "from that area."

This morning on the Russ Parr Morning Show I listened as a caller asked how come this kind of security reaction wasn't present for such movies as S.W.A.T., Doom, or any of the earlier gang-type movies like Menace to Society or Boyz in the Hood that were equally if not more violent. The rebuttal was that the life of 50 Cent, as well as several other rappers, are more accessible now. Movies are being made about them, feuds are no longer kept private (i.e., Tupac, Biggie) and rap itself is no longer a new thing such as when LL Cool J broke onto the scene in the 80's.

I believe the shooting was erroneously linked to the movie because it allows society to ignore the bigger question of why shootings continue to happen. From what I've heard (and read), the makers/creators of Get Rich took great pains in addressing the gang life portrayed in the movie so as not to incite violence. Perhaps by allowing this obvious correlation between the movie and the 1 shooting afterward hands society a scapegoat instead of addressing the real issues at hand such as gun violence/control (there are appx 200million guns in the U.S. with handguns making up appx 65million of them: that's enough to arm every person over the age of 13 at least twice), unemployment, poverty - all of which help contribute to our crime rate (the U.S. has the highest crime rate in the entire world and that is only of the incidents that are reported to police).

To reiterate, I believe the two counties that responded to the 1 shooting by putting a heavy police presence at the theatres showing Get Rich overreacted. There is such a low risk factor that what happened in PA would happen here, in another state, that is appx 7 hours away by car. Hell, according to national polls, I've got a better chance of winning that $310million lottery jackpot than getting shot outside a movie theatre. Now that's one I'm willing to take.