Todd Herman’s ‘modest proposal’ on gun-free zones
The four survivors of the Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012 have been ordered to pay the Cinemark theater nearly $700,000.
You’re supposed to take the position of, how dare the theaters demand this money? But before you do that, here’s a little background: The theater chain initially offered a penance of $150,000 to be spread across the 41 plaintiffs. The meager settlement meant the most critically injured would have received about $30,000 apiece and the others would receive $60,000. The settlement fell apart and a judge found Cinemark not liable, leaving the four remaining victims who held out on the hook for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
This is, obviously, a terribly sad turn of events. Then again, it wasn’t the theater’s fault – except that it was. Just not in the way many are thinking.
The theater did not invite this lunatic in. Could there have been better security procedures? Possibly. Though they couldn’t lock the back door because that’s against fire code. If the guy had wanted to sneak in guns for the shooting he could have, because there would have been no one there to stop him. It is a gun-free zone. And that’s the crux of the problem.
Here’s my modest proposal to any gun-free zones: I’ll comply with the rules but then that business is 100 percent responsible for protecting me.
When a gun-free zone is created, it prevents someone with a concealed weapon from defending him or herself from bad guys, right? Any notion that there are no instances of good guys stopping bad guys is ridiculous and untrue. The Cato Institute’s paper called Tough Targets details a couple hundred cases where that exact thing happens.
That’s why I believe the victim’s lawyers went about the lawsuit in Aurora incorrectly. If I were an attorney, I would have been looking at the survivors to find someone who might have otherwise carried a weapon into this business. I would create reasonable doubt about whether this monster could have continued with his killing spree if there was a well-trained person – or even a moderately trained person — there with a gun. The lawsuit should have been about the gun-free zone.
I would love to see the NRA, or any another gun-rights group, present a contract that we gun owners and concealed-carriers could have when we step into a gun-free building. If I can’t carry my weapon, just make sure a manager signs my note to say I have complied with their private property rules — that I not defend myself. I hereby state that you are now 100 percent responsible for my safety.
Put them on notice.
Look at it from a different angle. What if there was a seatbelt-free zone? I don’t like seatbelts and don’t want people wearing them. The chances of you getting into a crash are low compared to the zillions of trips that happen every day. If I crashed in that zone, though, there’d be a lawsuit. You took out the safety mechanism!
How about the fact that you can sue neighbors who don’t put up fences around the swimming pool if your kid got in and drowned. They took away the safety mechanism!
Does that change the way people look at this? I hope so. Because the hypocrisy in this debate is both costly and deadly.