Authorities: Argument over texting leads to man being fatally shot at Florida movie theater | Fox News:(January 14, 2014)
WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. – Authorities say an argument over texting in a Florida movie theater ended with a retired Tampa police captain fatally shooting a man sitting in front of him. The former police captain, 71-year-old Curtis Reeves, has been charged with second-degree murder. It wasn't immediately clear whether he has retained an attorney. Pasco County Sheriff's officials said the shooting happened Monday when Reeves asked 43-year-old Chad Oulson to stop texting at the theater ...
The punch line was ... Oulson was texting to his 3-year old daughter.
More information available here.
No, I'm not going to even suggest that the shooting was justified. Reeves contended that Oulson had 'assaulted him' ... with a bag of popcorn! Since Reeves was a retired police captain, he should have been able to evaluate the threat level more objectively.
It's significant that this deadly assault occurred in Florida, though. This was the premiere state which allowed concealed carry of firearms. Initially, the people who thought it was "A Bad Idea!" suggested that it would lead to a series of 'Road Rage' incidents, but it never did, really.
This non-issue outcome encouraged other states to enact similarly permissive laws about concealed carry.
Does this strange incident suggest that the nay-sayers were right, after all?
No, I don't think so.
Typically, most LEO offices permit their retired members to continue to 'carry' firearms, concealed, in public. The thinking seems to be that experienced officers have developed the proper judgement to evaluate a situation, and decide whether "deadly force" is justified.
Clearly, in the case of Captain Reeves, that judgement was faulty.
As an Army veteran, I'm usually less benign about the judgement of the "Officer Class" .. speaking in terms of Senior personnel, not in terms of police "officers". This is not a universal judgement, and on behalf of the retired military officers whom I consider friends ... they're just people, and we judge them by their actions. But I do have memories of some military officers who are notable mainly for their poor judgement, and not that they are the minority.
Captain Reeves, in my personal opinion, made a terrible mistake in over-reacting to a petty incident. I will not defend him. We don't know all the details of the "incident", but I see no reason to believe that his response ... shooting the popcorn-throwing, tot-texting stranger ... could be justified by the circumstances.
I won't give up my opinion, though, that concealed carry -- even in movie theaters -- is justifiable. Witness the Aurora, Colorado, theater where even a less competent idiot shot up a movie audience during the premiere of a Batman movie.
Were Captain Reeves there and able to use his BETTER judgement, he might have reacted ... better.
At least one hopes he would be pointing a gun at the madman with a rifle, and not at the guy eating popcorn in the next row.
I had a long discussion with a woman whose judgement and expertise I respect. She presented the question: "Do you think EVERYONE should have a gun? Or are there some people who just can't be t trusted to exercise good judgement?"
I had to agree with her. I do know people I would not trust with a gun, and I suspect you do, too.
The question isn't whether those people exist, but who decides who they are?
When that "who" decides on the basis of departmental policy, rather than the circumstances, sometimes the results are disatrous.
But we have become accustomed to disasters in public forums, haven't we?