Theaters are reviewing security procedures after the Colorado
shooting at a midnight movie premier, but security experts warn
Americans must learn to be vigilant at all large public venues.
The Colorado shooting at a midnight screening of the new Batman
film is sending a chill throughout the entertainment industry.
Parents are holding their children out of midnight screenings,
while theater chains are reviewing security procedures and assuring
theatergoers they will be safe. And Warner Brothers, the studio
behind the film, canceled the Friday night Paris premier of the
movie and all interviews with the director and cast.
But security experts say this event is also a wakeup call about
the need for more security at all types of large gatherings.
"It doesn't matter if it's a football game, Disneyland, Six Flags
Over America, or a rock concert," says Jeffrey Slotnick, chair of
the Physical Security Council of ASIS, a national trade organization
devoted to industrial security needs. "We need to be more vigilant.
Americans simply don't have the luxury of walking around any more
without paying attention to what might be going on."
Mr. Slotnick points to the year-old Department of Homeland
Security program dubbed "If You See Something, Say Something," which
encourages all citizens to develop better antennae for detecting
suspicious behavior and reporting it.
Take this Colorado shooting, which left 12 dead and 59 wounded,
he says. "Somebody saw this man in the parking lot, maybe even going
into the theater wherever he got access," he says, "you can't hide
the four guns he was carrying, as well as ammunition and some kind
of incendiary device."
Beyond that, says Ernest DelBuono, senior vice president at
Levick Strategic communications, a Washington-based crisis
management firm, there are always signs and indications leading up
to this extreme behavior.
"Nobody just wakes up and decides to pick up four military grade
weapons and go off to a movie theater and shoot more than 50
people," he says.
Nonetheless, The National Association of Theater Owners has
announced it is working with the Department of Homeland Security to
review security procedures and policies for all its member
The nation's three largest theater chains, Cinemark, Regal
Entertainment, and AMC Entertainment, have condemned the violence
and are reassuring consumers they will be safe in the theaters over
Cinemark said in a statement that it was "deeply saddened" by the
tragedy. In its statement, AMC echoed the feeling, stating, "We are
terribly saddened by the random act of violence in Aurora and our
thoughts are with the victims and their families. …