I am saddened at the loss of life by last night’s shooting during ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ in Aurora, Colorado; however, I am not shocked.
Movies are the messenger of American values – our idols, our fashion, our music, even our idioms are influenced by the images on the screen. Those values are not always shared or appreciated by the rest of the world – or even within our country. So it is a logical assumption that the places we watch these movies make for targets.
As I write this, no motives have been released, nor would they matter. Today’s theaters are completely unprotected. High volume of people, few exits, no security screening, and the walls of the theater are often directly exposed. Next time you go to a movie, check to see if there are any barriers blocking a vehicle from parking next to the wall of your theater (such as the simple concrete posts protecting most mall and store entrances). Are the night scope cameras, reportedly used in some theaters, for piracy or physical security? When was the last time your bag was checked, similar to what happens at every concert?
Most security has been to protect the content on the screen and not the patrons in the audience. That ended last night.
After 9/11, I shared a flight with an executive from a home theater chain. He spoke about the new demands for the home theater driven by the safety found within the walls of our own homes. He even spoke of competitions happening within neighborhoods for who had the best home theater, competitions motivated so that the children would choose to be at someone’s particular domicile. But movie theater experiences – the shared experience, the social aspects, and yes, the sticky floors, cannot be completely replaced within the home. Yes, theaters fight many battles, and now security must become one of those battles.
At TDG, we write about emerging video behaviors. But that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize and respect the important role theaters play in the content delivery chain and in American society as a whole.
It sickens me that people died in this tragedy, but it is not a complete surprise. As we mourn those caught in the tragedy, let us also acknowledge some basic security issues. Let us hope all moviegoers remain safe to enjoy the freedoms expressed in the films we love on the big screens we love…