Free-Range Kids

Aurora Theater Should Have Predicted Mass Shooting, Judge Rules

Worst-first thinking promotes constant panic.


The Dark Knight Rises / Youtube

The 2012 mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, was "foreseeable," a federal judge ruled last week. That decision came out of an attempt by the theater's owner to demonstrate otherwise, thus ensuring that lawsuits brought forth by the attacker's victims would be dismissed. But according to The Denver Post:

The owner of the Aurora movie theater that was the site of a deadly 2012 attack could have reasonably enough foreseen the danger of such an attack to be held liable for it, a federal judge ruled Friday.

Noting "the grim history of mass shootings and mass killings that have occurred in more recent times," U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that Cinemark — owner of the Century Aurora 16 theater — could have predicted that movie patrons might be targeted for an attack. Jackson's ruling allows 20 lawsuits filed by survivors of the attack or relatives of those killed to proceed toward trial.

"Although theaters had theretofore been spared a mass shooting incident, the patrons of a movie theater are, perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, 'sitting ducks,' " Jackson wrote.

The judge seems to be saying that because we do not live in a perfect world, free of all violence, all businesses open to the public should be constantly on guard against psychopathic killers. Even though, as Scott Greenfield points out at his blog Simple Justice, "Perhaps the defining feature of crazy people is that they're unpredictable." But predict them businesses must, said Judge Jackson. Which means, as Greenfield notes, this ruling could have far-reaching consequences:

The biggest growth job in America will be armed guard. Every theater will require its own SWAT team, perhaps a MRAP or Bearcat.  Office buildings, parks, skating rinks, pretty much anywhere more than three people gather, could be the next target of a madman. They will all need security, armed with the weapons needed to take out any crazy.

Don't blame the businesses. They're just trying to cover their foreseeable obligations.  Sure, there is almost no chance, almost no possibility whatsoever, that they will be the target of the next insane shooter, but Judge Jackson says it's still foreseeable.  In fact, that no one has ever shot up a skating rink makes it even more foreseeable, by his rationale.


That's a rationale that's not rational. While the ruling does not decide any of the lawsuits, it does establish that they can proceed. In doing so, it endorses what I call "worst-first thinking"—dreaming up the worst case scenario first ("What if someone comes in and shoots up our book club?") and proceeding as if it's likely to happen.

Worst-first thinking promotes constant panic. The word for that isn't prudence. It's paranoia.

NEXT: Venezuela Gets Super Dystopian

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I guess I better remove my mailbox from my house and business.

  2. The owner of the Aurora movie theater that was the site of a deadly 2012 attack could have reasonably enough foreseen the danger of such an attack to be held liable for it, a federal judge ruled Friday.

    What the fucking fuck? We are truly doomed.

    1. We can only hope the Appellate Court kicks this judge’s balls into the lower troposphere.

      1. I’d prefer if they aim a little bit higher.

      1. To paraphrase the above link:

        The Denver Post story is wronger than a bag of wrong tacos slathered with wrongsauce.

        The judge didn’t rule that the should’ve forseen it or even could’ve forseen it.

        What he ruled was that it’s not so insanely impossible to forsee that he could just throw the whole thing out broadcloth. He even explicitly says in the ruling that he is not suggesting that it was foreseeable, just that it’s conceivable enough that a trial could show that they could’ve foreseen it that a jury would have to decide that as a matter of fact.

        I mean, I never went to that theater because its clientele skewed lower-income and a bit rougher, so I felt less likely to be around a shooting or a stabbing at other theaters that were about as close.

        I don’t for a second think that the theater should’ve predicted a murderous lunatic with body armor and multiple guns.

      2. Popehat is a treasure.

  3. Welcome to Nutpunch Friday! Good lord.

  4. Now we all have to be psychic.

    1. Not really. You just have to assume you’re liable for any and every harm that happens in a space you own.

      1. Wonder why there are no new businesses?

      2. Before this, your biggest risk was that someone would slip and fall. Now we move that up to mass murder.

        This is the natural result of a society that must always find someone to blame other than the perpetrator of the crime and where someone else is financially responsible for decisions that other people make.

        1. But it goes beyond this. This is really nothing more than smoothing out which insurance companies are going to have to kick into the kitty. The kitty that’s going to go 10% to the victims/families and 90% to the lawyers. The judges know how the bread gets buttered, and lawyers don’t make as much money unless insurance companies’ pocketbooks are opened as maximally as possible. The less we think about kickbacks to the judge out of that 90%, the better we’ll get to sleep tonight.

          BUT, the net result is insurance premiums go up (the cost of which is passed on to the consumer) and the conducting of business by company X is dictated more and more by insurance companies (providing less satisfactory goods and services to consumers). AND, insurance companies lobby for regulation to control society to limit the new responsibilities they are obligated to (e.g. helmet laws, seat belt laws).

          This is the building blocks of our corpora-fascistic hell we live in.

  5. Ruling by a judge who conducts his business in a heavily protected business setting paid for by someone else’s money. Hope the next time Judge Clueless goes to dinner, the restaurant pulls a TSA-like search of his and his date’s person “to protect against an unforeseen attack.”

    1. Excuse me your honor, we just need to perform a brief cavity search.

    2. “I needs to check yo asshole suh.”

    3. So if there were a mass shooting in a court-room, the judge personally would be liable, right?

      1. Of course not. He’d award himself complete immunity.

        1. No need to award it, it comes in the box as original equipment.

  6. I can foresee the Sun exploding. That doesn’t fucking mean that it is likely to happen today or that I should be held accountable if it does.

    The judge just made theaters subject to the fucking TSA or some equivalent scanning process.

    1. Wouldn’t help. This guy left the theater and came back in through the side door armed with weapons he had stored in his car.

      Unless you want to place an armed guard at every theater emergency exit, too.

      1. Unless you want to place an armed guard at every theater emergency exit, too.

        Shouldn’t we. If it saves just one life wouldn’t it be worth it?

        1. Nothing like enjoying a $50 movie.

          1. Uh, those movies make huge profits. Hollywood studios and big theater chains are raking in billions of dollars while people are getting shot in their theaters. These are big corporations. You think these corporations are footing the bill for the emergency responses to these incidents? No. By not putting guards on the emergency exits, we’re basically subsidizing these corporations. Ridiculous. But I guess what’s a few dead children if it means that corporations get more profit at the end of the day.

            1. Please post that on some Gawker site somewhere

            2. Jesus Christ on the fucking cross, I thought you were being sarcastic. (I pray you still are) If not, you are truly a fucking moron, on several levels.

              1. I thought you were being sarcastic.

                Uh…clearly I am. That this can be even kind of, slightly be mistaken for anything but sarcasm speaks to…something horrible about the world.

                1. Sorry. My detector needs adjustment.

                  Poe’s law.

            3. Won’t somebody think of the business owners???????? ;__;

            4. Don’t be an idiot. Your big corp paranoia is showing and ruling out even basic common sense. You now want militarization of your movie theater to protect you? How about at your McDonalds and at the gym, while you shop, at your kids’ music recitals. The city should put armed guards at the neighborhood park and maybe in front of your house. Yessir, put an armed guard at every gas station because someone might do… something!

              Everyone buy you is responsible for your safety. Besides, how much protection do you think you get from your average “armed guard”? Just about zero. He’s not taking a bullet for you pumpkin.

              1. The city should put armed guards at the neighborhood park and maybe in front of your house.

                A cop on every corner!

                How about at your McDonalds

                Obviously I would never support McDonald’s fascist, capitalist, business model.

            5. Poe’s law…

          2. Fuck . . .

            If I go to movies with my family, it’s already a $50+ affair. Tix are nearly $10 a piece, and if I get any kind of snacks or drinks, it will be well over $50.

            And the movie industry wonders why the theater is a dying business.

            I can wait a couple of months, buy the Blu-Ray, and sit in my own home theater (77″ screen with HD projector and top end sound system) in a recliner in my underwear while I get high. I can pause the movie to go to the bathroom or get more food/snacks. I can even get a blowjob from the wife without worrying about getting caught and prosecuted.

            And because my house isn’t a Gun Free Zone? I can also sit there with my gun of choice and protect myself without fear of going to jail for the horrible crime of exercising my 2A right.

            1. If I go to movies with my family, it’s already a $50+ affair. Tix are nearly $10 a piece, and if I get any kind of snacks or drinks, it will be well over $50.

              And your kids will live to talk about the movie with you over breakfast the next day. With all the guns being openly carried by tea-bagger types these days you never can be too careful. I think the extra money is worth it, don’t you?

            2. Married? Blowjob?

              mlg, unless you are a newlywed, Imma call you out on that bullshit.

              1. Yea especially an on command blow job that doesn’t involve expensive jewelry.

              2. Hey, I’m lucky.

                Sometimes even unsolicited.

                It’s what happens when you don’t marry a hoity toity American girl who thinks she’s too good to suck a dick, yet still expects you to chow box.

            3. “Tix are nearly $10 a piece”

              Damn, what podunk town do you live in where it’s that cheap?

              1. I live in Wilmore, KY. But my local theater is in Nicholasville, KY.

                Adult tix are $9.50, kids $6.75.

        2. If this stands, it will be the end ov theaters.

        3. Or, take down the no guns sign.

      2. Given the judge’s ruling, every entrance (emergency exits included) must be staffed or locked in such a way to ensure that no villain can enter the theater and cause mayhem.

        1. And when an entire theater of people burn to death in a fire, because of these new Jackson Exits, they’ll be on the hook for that too.

          I’m sure Judge Jackson will assume full responsibility for his failure to foresee such a disaster.

          1. Actually, I think you might just have a point here JW.

            The JUDGE should be liable for this, because he sees these criminals every day and should have foreseen that one of them might do something like this. But did he warn any of the theaters? No! I say HE should be sued for his failure to relay an obvious threat so that others could take action.

            Using his logic, it would make more sense that he hold himself accountable.

      3. Yeah, and those side doors are supposed to be self-closing and self-latching for fire safety reasons.

        Often these doors don’t even have handles on the outside, and are generally left locked if they do have handles since to do otherwise is inviting people to just wander in without buying a ticket. Sounds like they weren’t doing due diligence on loss prevention.

        1. Because placing an object to prevent the door from closing could NEVER happen.

        2. I’m slightly surprised that more movie theaters don’t have automatic alarms on the emergency doors. Maybe they use them for normal exits too. But sneaking in through the back door is a time honored and well known way to see a movie for free.

          1. We used to always exit out the emergency doors to the parking lot. If you knew which theater the flick was showing in, you could park right next to the right door.

      4. “Unless you want to place an armed guard at every theater emergency exit, too”

        I’d rather take my chances of a random shooter showing up than having an armed cop-wannabee-rent-a-clown in the theater.

        1. If i were a theatre owner i would encourage attendence by armed citizens, just to hear the anti-gun lobby collectively have a cow.

      5. “Unless you want to place an armed guard at every theater emergency exit”

        I love where this is going. You can’t possibly let ordinary people carry guns around to guard against such things.

        But what would be a perfectly sensible plan would be to take a bunch of brain-dead minimum-wagers, put uniforms on them, give them guns, and stand them in the middle of every crowd in the country.

        Then we will finally be safe.

    2. I should say, just because it won’t help doesn’t mean that TOP MEN won’t decide we need to do it anyway.

  7. Coming Soon to Theaters: metal detectors.

    1. To be followed by cobwebs and bankruptcy

      1. Netflix’s stock should skyrocket after this ruling.

        1. note to self, read all the comments before posting

        2. Netflix up @ 2% this week.

          Cinemark relatively unchanged.

  8. The ABA just splooged themselves.

    *waits for the new insurance rider bill to show up*

  9. So I’m wondering if someone breaks into my house and kills everyone can my home owners insurance company be sued under this ruling? Is my estate up for grabs by my dead friend’s relatives?

  10. Nominated by Obama and unanimously confirmed by Senate in 2011. Top.Men.

    1. A lot of judges are just douchebag politicians without the skills to get elected to office, so they get handed a black robe by their friends.

  11. So, should I buy Netflix stock?

    1. Short amusement parks

  12. How in the hell did we get to this point? This is unfuckingbelievable.

  13. The only thing the theater should be held accountable for is its rule banning lawful gun owners from carrying weapons in the theater. If any of the patrons had been packing, the body count would have been a lot lower. I also remember reading that the shooter drove by something like 8 other theaters to target this one because it had the firearm ban and he knew no one would be shooting back.

    1. its rule banning lawful gun owners from carrying weapons in the theater

      Isn’t this, by itself, evidence that the theater saw gun violence in the theater as likely?

      1. Nah, I think it’s just evidence that they’re completely risk averse.

      2. That’s a great example of how in the process of trying to eliminate risk entirely, you leave yourself vulnerable for the extreme, unforeseen event.

        This can be especially obvious in terms of national defense. You can spend unlimited funds trying to anticipate what kind of attacks are going to happen, so by definition the thing that’s going to happen is the thing that you didn’t think of.

    2. Nothing says safety like unknown numbers of people firing guns in a dark theater.

      1. Nothing says safety like unknown numbers of people firing guns in a dark theater.

        Yep, you are right. It was much safer when only one person was firing a gun in a dark theater.

        1. One < several.

          1. One person with a gun = massacre

            1. Not even you guys would be able to argue against the potential liability of the theater if they allowed guns and someone got hit by a bullet from a “good guy.”

              1. Why would the theater be liable?

                1. Ask the judge from this article.

                  1. I was speaking in moral terms. We already know that liability law is fucked up.

                  2. The judge is clearly high tho.

              2. The liability lies with the person firing the gun

                1. Forget it guys, it’s Tony town.

          2. One person trying to kill as many as possible is still a lot worse and more deadly than several people trying to shoot one specific person.

      2. As opposed to one guy shooting up a whole gallery of people unopposed?

      3. That’s right Tony, which is why nobody should have called the cops! Because, the only tool they had to deal with the situation were guns!

        1. They have more than guns. Such as the recognized authority and training to deal with such situations.

          Maybe a crack shot sitting in the audience could have saved some lives. Maybe 10 people who think they’re Bruce Willis start shooting and more people get killed. You can’t possibly know. This horseshit is straight from the NRA homepage.

          1. There’s a guy shooting at us! What do we do?

            Wait honey, I’m calling the cops, they’ll be here in under a half hour.

            1. I’m not the one who has been saying that maximum gun availability is necessary for freedom. This is your mess.

              1. My mess, why of course. It’s obvious that banning guns keeps weapons away from criminals and psychopaths.

                1. Guess the best possible world is one in which everyone should consider the risk of crossfire between psychos and civilian heroes to be a constant fact of life. Ah, freedom.

                  1. I’m more worried about being harmed by a cop’s gun discharging itself.

                    1. Too much active voice. Instead, I recommend this edit:

                      A fear escalation incident involving a suspected commenter occurred due to the increased occurrence likelihood of a officer-involved weapon discharge incident resulting in a careflight standby response.

                  2. I love that you’re such a moral cripple that you wouldn’t be able to control yourself with a gun, shooting random people that pissed you off and murdering your political opponents, and then you go on to ascribe your moral turpitude to the rest of society.

              2. How pray tell is one lunatic massacring unarmed people a point against are argument.

                They have more than guns. Such as the recognized authority and training to deal with such situations.

                There is so much stupid in the phrase “recognized authority” its almost uncontainable. Do people not have the authority to defend their own lives from attack?

                As far as training goes, are you even vaguely aware of how many accidental discharges cops have, and their poor marksmanship? It’s hard to believe you could troll this site for so long and not know that. Even with your poor reading skills.

                1. Tony avoids the cop stories like the plague because it doesn’t fit his narrative when agents of the government fuck up.

                2. Apparently if more people than the crazed gunman were armed everyone with a weapon would have stood up and started shooting in every direction. That seems to be the “argument” of the too many guns/deadly crossfire crowd.

                  1. The other part of his genius argument was that if conceal carry had been allowed in the theatre a second homicidal shooter would hsve magicalky appeared making the massacre worse. Crossfire you see. In Tony’s mind we are all homicidal deviants, if only we could legally carry in a theatre.

          2. What evidence do you have of cops’ extensive firearms training?

            1. The voices in his head.

          3. Such as the recognized authority and training to deal with such situations.

            No they do not. Tony.

            The median time that a non-police officer who carries a gun spends on the range honing their skills is much higher than that of a cop.

            Unsurprisingly, private citizens are far less likely to hit bystanders and innocent parties when they do discharge a firearm than police are. This is not because private citizens are good, but because American police are very poorly trained.

            Finally, the police carry guns not because they have special authority, but to defend their persons. They are not given guns so that they can rove about the countryside executing people. Their right to self defense is no different than your right to self defense.

            1. Not to mention the fact that private citizens have a good incentive to be very careful in applying force, since they face the very real threat of going to prison if they screw up. Cops can do whatever the hell they want with impunity.

              1. Yeah, being personally liable for your actions tends to make people exercise a little more caution and judgment.

            2. Nevertheless, the police resolved the situation, and you can’t say jack shit about a counterfactual in which patrons were packing.

              1. you can’t say jack shit about a counterfactual in which patrons were packing

                Nor can you.

                1. Which is what I said. Now stop doing unpaid shill work for the gun lobby and think about a pitch-dark theater and random people shooting like a fucking rational person.

                  1. and think about a pitch-dark theater and random people shooting like a fucking rational person.

                    Tony, we are, and we really wish you would start doing the same.

                    Because your irrational action movie fantasies are just that irrational and not based on reality.

                  2. think about a pitch-dark theater and random people shooting

                    But you just said that we can’t say jack shit about a counterfactual in which patrons were packing.

                  3. Principals above principles. It couldn’t possibly be that we have legitimate concerns about police reaction to shootouts and trust the deterrent nature of gun-positive environments. No, we’re all NBA shills for the gun lobby. It’s all about who, none about why when talking to Tony.

                  4. Cops resolved the situation only after Holmes finished his spree and walked back to his car. They showed up to arrest the fellow, not to stop the murders.

              2. Resolved = 12 dead and 70 injured

              3. The police didn’t resolve the situation. The clown got bored shooting people and walked out the exit and sat down waiting for the police to arrive.

                1. For Tony, “resolved” means all agents of the State went home safely.

              4. the police resolved the situation

                If resolving the situation means establishing a safe perimeter and finding the shooter calming sitting in his car, then yeah, the situation was “resolved.”

                Just goes to show that the police are they for there after the fact, to clean things up, and punish people for crimes already committed. They can do nothing to stop crimes in progress. That’s not a knock on cops (for once). That’s just reality.

          4. …people who think they’re Bruce Willis start shooting…

            I always picture myself as more of a Lee Marvin type. But for a modern action hero, I’d probably go with Jason Statham.

            P.S. You’re a douche.

          5. Maybe 10 people who think they’re Bruce Willis start shooting and more people get killed.

            And here we get to the heart of the argument, the moronic projection that hoplophobes get into.

            Tony, sweetie, most people are not as emotional and trigger happy as you are. They are capable of soberly judging when to use deadly force and when not to.

            People in the theater saw who was doing the shooting. The saw him when he was close enough to touch. if one of those people had been armed, the massacre would have ended there.

            In the meantime, the people far away, seeing nothing but a muzzle flash, would not have started shooting? Why, because they would want to make sure they didn’t waste their limited ammunition on supressing fire, they didn’t know which innocent people those bullets would hit, they didn’t want to attract the gunman’s attention.

            The scenario of people shooting wildly exists in the childish immature minds of people like you or Seth MacFarlane. It does not represent reality.

            1. No no no tarran, all instances of gun violence would turn into the shoot out at the O.K. corral if regular people were allowed to carry guns anywhere they pleased. Duh, haven’t you seen Tombstone?

              1. I have seen places like Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota.

                I’d bet one in five is carrying. You should see the carnage perpetrated by those unable to control themselves from gunning down those who cut them off in traffic, take the last Cabbage Patch Kid off the shelf or children in their lawns.


          6. Fucking idiot pussy. Rather die than attempt to defend himself. You are truly a vile individual.

          7. recognized authority and training

            Authority? Yes.

            Training? No, not unless you count practice shooting at paper targets – because that’s about all they get.

          8. Training? HAAAhahahahaha….. HHHHHAAAAAhhhhahahahah …aha….that’s rich. Have you ever looked into the hit-miss ratio of police shootings?

      4. You are a fool and I pray you are never at the mercy of an armed lunatic (or statist jackboot) because you will not have the ability to defend yourself without the right tools.

        1. Actually, I kinda pray for the opposite.

          1. Pissing the ground while whimpering softly about the years he’s spent on hands and knees servicing the State would, in fact, be a rather fitting sight.

        2. I don’t go to those parts of town. Now kindly stop advocating for everyone to be armed in my neighborhood.

  14. So, now the federal government is liable to be sued for 9/11? Since that actually was foreseen, federal agencies were monitoring the terrorists, and it still happened…

  15. Yesterday, I noticed the Verizon Wireless store had an armed security guard posted on the sidewalk by the front door. The store is in the upscale part of town, so it’s not like robbery/shoplifting is a problem. It seems like retail/service places are going to have to hire armed security. It’s going to raise costs, which sucks. But it may send a message to the psychos that we aren’t going to take their shit anymore.

    There have only been three shootings in the area in three years. Of course, those shootings involved the LBPD erroneously shooting innocent citizens.

    1. But it may send a message to the psychos that we aren’t going to take their shit anymore.

      When you get past the ITG bullshit, you might realize that by making property owners liable for their actions and cowering behind a police state, we’ve already conceded to taking as much shit as the psychos feel like dishing out.

    2. These ‘security’ guards will under no circumstances put their lives at risk – they’ll wait for the cops to show up and then dismiss themselves.

    3. OK, let’s suppose that the new take away from this ruling is that you better have an armed guard to protect yourself legally.

      That will lead to a huge demand for security guards. Security companies will have to lower their standards to get enough guards to meet demand.

      I predict that because of that at least a few unbalanced people will become security guards. I also predict that at least one of them will snap and shoot patrons of the store that they are supposed to be guarding.

      Is that foreseeable too? Without doing the math, my gut tells me that putting an armed person in each place of business makes it much more likely that I will be killed by a maniac guard than a crazy person who walked in off the street.

    4. …The store is in the upscale part of town, so it’s not like robbery/shoplifting is a problem……..88541.html

      Bayside/North Shore/Fox Point is an upscale part of the Northern Milwaukee Metro area, so I wouldn’t bank on the “not likely” part. The store has been robbed before. This time they were armed and shot back.

  16. Am I the only one to see the obvious and cheap solution? Clearly visible Gun Free Zone signs.

    1. They had that. Shockingly, it didn’t work.

      1. They probably didn’t polish it enough.

      2. The government needs to mandate a bigger sign then, maybe with a light.

        1. And a “Seriously, you guys.”

      3. Then it sounds to me like they did their due diligence.

    2. Am I the only one to see the obvious and cheap solution? Clearly visible Gun Free Free Gun Zone signs.


      1. I would go with a “Weapons-Free Zone”.…..rm=Weapons Free

        1. This, um, doesn’t seem to be pointing where you wanted it.

          1. It works if he’s using it to describe Tony. (If I read that right.)

    3. And hashtags. Lots and lots of hashtags.

  17. So now thanks to a single retarded judge, going to a movie will now involving being subjected to a rape scanner. Not a simple American, other than the tyrannical judge of course, will have a vote or a say in this decision.

    1. The cost of the armed guard will be added to your ticket.

    2. I wonder why the jezzies don’t say a word about this sort of rape.

    3. Nah, they’ll just give TSA jurisdiction over movie theaters. Each ticket will be subject to a “freedom tax.”

      1. The Theater Safety Administration, a whole new body, which will make it an excellent new source for jobs.

      2. Don’t give them ideas, Brandon.

    4. “going to a movie will now involving …”

      I don’t understand what the fuss is about. Owning a theatre is a business, and running a business means accepting a risk. There are sure to be theatre owners who are prepared to risk not hiring security and installing all the equipment mentioned here.

      Your vote lies in your choice either to patronize the risk taker’s business or the risk averse business.

      1. Of course you don’t understand. Of course.

        1. “Of course you don’t understand.”

          If you want to take the risk of opening a theatre without hiring security guards, there’s nothing stopping you. If you are too risk-averse to open a guardless theatre, there’s always some other line of work you can get into.

          1. Really? A business is responsible for the actions of another (not in their employ)?

            You have passed well into the realm of absurd.

            First, your opinion is immoral. Second, it’s detrimental to society as a whole.

            1. “A business is responsible for the actions of another (not in their employ)?”

              There’s nothing new here. Smoking in restaurants.

              If you are too risk-averse to accept those terms, then find another line of work. The article encourages risk-taking, saying it’s the rational thing to do. You seem to disagree.

              “First, your opinion is immoral. Second, it’s detrimental to society as a whole.”

              First you’re not the first person to notice or comment on my personal flaws. Typically these kinds of comments bore me. Yours are boring too. Second, I wouldn’t say that society as a whole approves of this decision, exactly, but I see nothing to indicate they will do anything to reverse it.

              1. Sounds like you bask in the glory of being an immoral cunt. Fine. Fuck off.

                1. “Sounds like you bask in the glory of being an immoral cunt.”

                  Some of us are risk takers, others aren’t. It’s not a question of morality, it’s human nature. Don’t like that? Find yourself another species.

  18. Armed security everywhere? Hmmmmm…. if we could just find a way to allow ordinary citizens a means to protect themselves and their fellow citizens, such that no one could ever be sure that those civic-minded fellows weren’t potentially EVERYWHERE, then maybe we could avoid that locked-down, militarized future. But I guess it’s impossible…I mean, I can’t think of a way, and certainly no dumb white guys 200 years ago could have…..

    1. Besides, they were all slave owners, even if they did write something down.

  19. A 24/7 hat tip just feels dirty…..-dystopian

    1. What’s 24/7?

    2. I thought 24/7 signed a DNR and here you go performing CPR.

  20. Wow, between this and that CA supreme court ruling that basically does away with the right to remain silent, there are some pretty awful precedents being set lately.

  21. Reviews of the The Honorable R. Brooke Jackson

    Summary – the plaintiffs like him

    1. Check out the positivie review

      Criminal Defense Lawyer
      Comment #: 19439
      might be the best judge in the country. A nice breath of fresh air for individual Plaintiffs, having dealt with the pro-corporate agenda of Krieger, Blackburn, and Daniels for the last several years. Jackson actually believes the 7th amendment means something, and will almost always make the parties try the case, you know, how it is in the constitution. Finally, a judge who doesn’t grant every corporate Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

      How exactly is a “criminal defense lawyer” dealing with corporate defendants?

      1. For a defense lawyer, he seems awfully concerned that plaintiffs get what they want.

      2. Lots of criminal defense guys also do plaintiff’s personal injury work. Especially your run of the mill, small time crim defense guy.

        But really, the poster “jorgeborges” hit it on the head above: this isn’t as bad a ruling as you’re all making it out to be. Go see Popehat’s take. From Popehat citing the opinion:

        None of these facts, even when taken together, compels the conclusion that Cinemark knew or should have known of the danger that the patrons of Auditorium 9 faced. I reiterate that this Court is in no way holding as a matter of law that Cinemark should have known of the danger of someone entering one of its theaters through the back door and randomly shooting innocent patrons. I hold only that a court cannot grant summary judgment on what is normally a question of fact under Colorado law unless the facts so overwhelmingly and inarguably point in Cinemark’s favor that it cannot be said that a reasonable jury could possibly side with the plaintiffs on that question.

  22. I wonder if that judge thinks such a thing would be “entirely foreseeable” at a gun show or an NRA convention?

    1. I’m guessing this judge thinks that pretty much anything is foreseeable anywhere.

      1. I’m guessing he is popular with class-action lawsuit specialty firms

  23. I would argue that, if the shooting was reasonable to predict, why weren’t there more shootings at other theaters around the country? Also, isn’t it the job of the police to protect the community? If it was reasonable to predict a mass shooting incident at the theater in Aurora, where were the police? They should have stationed a Quick Reaction Force at the theater to quickly respond when the shooting started.

    The only liability i can see on the part of the theater is the gun free zone policy. Barring people the ability to defend themselves in case of a shooting. Shaky ground though, because people can always choose not to patronize a business that bans guns.

    1. This is the ruling of a single district judge. I would be very surprised if it stands up on appeal.

    2. The courts have already ruled that the police have no obligation to protect. Theaters, on the other hand….

  24. The good news is that a jury will get a chance to squash this bad precedent.

    1. A jury will sympathetically award big money to the plaintiffs, because of teh feelz.

      1. Did I really need to add /sarcasm to the end of the post?

        1. Oops, too much Tony earlier in the thread.

          *recalibrates sarcasm meter*

  25. I used to work at a movie theater that rented a couple cops from the city on weekends. I thought it was unusual, but I guess it’s going to be the norm.

    1. The next step is to put sharp-shooters in every project booth. They have a great angle from up there.

    2. That’s been the norm for a while in some of the multiplexes located in nearby jurisdictions. It’s a plum job for the younger deputies since they get to hang out and ogle the teenage girls.

  26. “Although theaters had theretofore been spared a mass shooting incident, the patrons of a movie theater are, perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, ‘sitting ducks,’ ” Jackson wrote.

    Has the judge fortified his/her home against meteor strikes?

  27. it endorses what I call “worst-first thinking”?dreaming up the worst case scenario first (“What if someone comes in and shoots up our book club?”) and proceeding as if it’s likely to happen.

    Exactly. Any disastrous event (no matter how preposterous) which may be conceived of must be treated as inevitable.

    We should ban the superbowl, because one of these days, somebody will fly a zeppelin laden with dirty nukes into the stadium and detonate it.

    1. rifle dots dude, rifle dots

  28. the patrons of a movie theater are, perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, ‘sitting ducks,’

    Now, if he was saying that anyone who requires their patrons to be defenseless assumes the responsibility of defending them, that would be one thing.

    But somehow I don’t think that’s where he’s going with this.

  29. You never know whether the guy in the row behind you might be carrying a nuke.

  30. the patrons of a movie theater are, perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, ‘sitting ducks,’

    And the attendees in R. Brooke Jackson’s court are, perhaps even more than patrons of a movie theater, ‘sitting ducks.’

  31. Isn’t that picture from The Dark Knight? /ducks

  32. Having an armed guard there will surely prevent the one in a billion chance of a crazed shooter going on a rampage. It would be impossible for them to just walk up to the guard and shoot him first. These guards are like Navy Seals, they are on a hair trigger for any signs of danger. Don’t let the somnolent and bored appearance fool you, it is all part of their very crafty act.

  33. This judge doesn’t seem to understand the difference between “possible” or “imaginable” and “foreseeable”.

    Seeing as “foreseeable” is a pretty fundamental concept in the law, this is not a small problem in a judge.


    foreseeable risk: a danger which a reasonable person should anticipate as the result from his/her actions. Foreseeable risk is a common affirmative defense put up as a response by defendants in lawsuits for negligence. A skier hits a bump on a ski run, falls and breaks his leg. This is a foreseeable risk of skiing. A mother is severely injured while accompanying her child on a roller coaster when the car jumps the track and comes loose. While there is potential risk, she had the right to anticipate that the roller coaster was properly maintained and did not assume the risk that it would come apart. Signs that warn “use at your own risk” do not bar lawsuits for risks that are not foreseeable.

    1. The judge gets his name in the paper for a few days, and the ruling gets slapped down later. What’s not to like?

  34. Nothing new here, it follows a time honored pattern.
    1. Something bad happens.
    2. Somebody is sad because of it.
    3. Sad person reaches anger stage of grief, gets lawyer.
    4. Lawyer looks for the deepest mulctable pockets.
    5. Bring suit, settle out of court for $X or go to court for 5*$x.
    6. Plaintiff gets some cash, lawrers and expert witnesses pocket fees.
    7. Somebody buys a Porsche.

  35. Over at Popehat, Ken White explains why the Denver Post – and Lenore Skenazy – got the ruling completely wrong.…..ies-right/

    1. Lenore’s problem was that she believed the Denver Post. Rookie mistake.

    2. Brilliant.

    3. Thanks for beating me to this. Now I can go on wishing that this link wasn’t buried so far down here.

  36. Every business owner is just a rich miser anyhow, so this is just one more way to spread the wealth. If more people get murdered, it will be a win for social justice.

  37. At least it’ll create JOBS!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. How idiotic. Will, not just movie theaters, but all businesses in the future feel compelled to install TSA style checkpoints that people must pass through before being allowed to enter?

  39. Fallout if this gains traction:

    1. New state regulations requiring security measures at all theaters. Even if there are no regulations put forth, theaters will regulate themselves for fear of getting sued. This could include mandatory cameras, metal detectors, or armed guards.

    2. Ticket prices rise sharply. Leads to decline in audience, smaller budgets to movies, smaller theaters, showing less independent films and less showtimes.

    3. Mom and pop level theaters can’t keep up and slowly go out of business leaving us with fewer choices.

    4. Movie producers look to other avenues to publish their films (like netflix, video on-demand) leading to further loss revenue for theaters.

    5. Frivolous lawsuits are filed over crimes at theaters that don’t involve mass murder.

    6. Similar venues like roller skating rinks or bowling alleys also become targets for lawsuits and regulations.

    20 years later either:

    Regulations repealed, seen as a “win” for the free market.
    People reminisce about the old days of theater-going but have no idea why they are no longer around.

  40. it endorses what I call “worst-first thinking”?dreaming up the worst case scenario first (“What if someone comes in and shoots up our book club?”) and proceeding as if it’s likely to happen.

    IANAL, but isn’t that the legal analysis that’s required at that stage of the proceedings? That in order for a motion to dismiss on that ground succeed, it’d have to be established that no reasonable person would ever conceive of such an event’s happening?

  41. Lenore Skenazy the real issue is that the movie theater is a gun free zone. They remove the rights of individuals to protect themselves and others. Due to this they need to make their business safe for their customers given they removed the ability to do it ourselves.

    If the theater was not a gun free zone then we have the choice to enter or not and assume our our responsibility. All of these mass shooters targeted gun free zones, why? Less chance of coming face to face with someone that will stop them.

    1. Skenazy does not want people to have the ability to defend themselves? Doesn’t sound very “free range”.
      Or libertarian.

      1. Do you still beat your wife?

  42. It was more predictable that an activist judge would rule that way.

  43. I don’t think that the judge ruled that it was foreseeable, only that the claim that it was not foreseeable was not automatically correct as a matter of fact and law. This was a motion for summary judgment, i.e. in substance a request for a peremptory ruling in favor of the theatre or, roughly (though not precisely), a dismissal. The court said not that the theatre was culpable, only that the thesis that it was culpable was not self-evidently wrong. Don’t freak yet.

  44. It’s also foreseeable that private armed security might hire someone crazy. Thus quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  45. “The judge seems to be saying that because we do not live in a perfect world, free of all violence, all businesses open to the public should be constantly on guard against psychopathic killers.”

    I think this misses the point. What the judge is saying is that if you choose to willfully disarm your patrons you are assuming responsibility for their safety. I don’t necessarily agree with this, as the ticket is a contract you are agreeing to knowingly, but I think its closer to the mark that the above quote.

  46. These kind of shootings only occur in gun-free zones, so yes, management should be held responsible for their policies.

  47. This is unrelated, just noticed the picture at the top of the article is from The Dark Knight, not The Dark Knight Rises.

    1. Sorry noticed someone else posted that and I don’t know how to delete my bad

  48. This is utterly idiotic, but it’s not wholly unexpected. It’s the logical answer of a judge who is afraid to make a decision. Far too many lawsuits proceed today because judges won’t make a ruling dismissing an obviously frivolous action. They feel that it’s better to the jury decide rather than risk being overruled on appeal. But that ignores the significant costs of mounting a defense to a meritless case (as well as the waste of judicial resources and clogging up the docket). Too many judges are simply cowards. This appears to be one of them. (Of course, that presumes that the judge isn’t in the pocket of the plaintiffs’ bar and looking for a reason to let the lawyers earn some fees. If that’s the case he’s simply corrupt. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and ascribe mere cowardice.)

  49. To a certain extent. . . it *was* foreseeable. . .

    That people in a Victim Disarmament Zone would end up being the victims of an armed criminal is not only foreseeable but inevitable.

  50. It sounds like it isn’t going to be enough for every business to have the security to take out any crazy. They are going to have to have the security to take out any invading army in the off chance that North Korea is going to invade your local movie theater.

    Once additional security is adopted and nothing happens the logic is going to be that the additional security averted a disaster. If a disaster does happen you just sue the establishment for not having enough security.

    The way we are going it is going to be illegal to exercise common sense and critical thinking skills. Judges like R. Brooke Jackson will make sure of it.

  51. Why did the shooter go to that theatre, and not ones that were closer to him?
    Simple, the Cinemark Aurora theatre had posted NO GUNS ALLOWED signs, while the others had not.
    Cinemark deserves to be sued by the victims, if for nothing else for their stupidity.

    1. Is that actually the claim they’re making? If so, that would be pretty awesome.

  52. These are the kinds of hilarious jackasses appointed by liberals, which is what happens when libertarians vote Democrat. You lose your liberty.

    This should be common sense, and yet it seems quite uncommon here.

  53. It’s a summary judgment ruling you morons.

  54. Well, I guess all us concealed carry folk aren’t that crazy and paranoid after all.

  55. Judge Jackson missed the perfect opportunity to put the blame where it belongs – on the medical ineptitde and weak methods of managing and isolating a criminally insane person. Jackson is dangerous. He is quick to punish the innocent and push us toward a heavy handed police state to solve problems (gunman standing around everywhere). My guess is that he has never worked the Private Sector economy and is clueless on managing tail risk events.

  56. By designating the theater a gun-free zone, they invited and facilitated this massacre. I say, sue them till they bleed from every orifice in their bodies.

  57. Sounds about right. But in fact since the the state gave permission for the theater to be built the state should have predicted this and is ultimately responsible.

  58. “I personally don’t think the theater owners could have foreseen this tragedy. But a jury should be able to decide whether they could have.”

    Is that about right?

    I don’t watch too many movies in theaters, but when I do, I don’t buy too many things from the concession stand. It’s like the carnival never left town. I’m not paying almost 4 dollars for an ice cream sandwich.

    But theaters make profit from concession. So they’re always in trouble.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.