Last night things got “interesting” here in Thornton, the north Denver suburb where I live, at a movie theater I was in just a few months ago. And more recently, so were my grandkids and their parents.
James Mapes went into the theater openly carrying a holstered weapon. Yes, Colorado is an open carry state, but considering what happened recently just 15 miles away in Aurora, his judgment was, to say the least, questionable. Someone called the police, the movie was stopped, the theater emptied, and Mapes was arrested.
On the one hand I have to wonder why he was arrested if he did nothing illegal. The police, according to the Denver Post, said he was arrested for alarming the patrons and theater staff. The caption on the photo said he was arrested for “possession of a dangerous weapon in a liquor and beer establishment.” (The theater serves food and drinks in the auditorium.) Sidearms on anyone but a police officer would alarm me, too. Especially now. Especially in a movie theater. Maybe I’ll call the police next time I see someone like that, because I guarantee it’s not a common occurrence in my life. Despite this state having some of the most liberal gun laws in the country, I don’t recall ever seeing a civilian walking around with a gun on his hip.
Mapes may have been exercising his legal right to carry, but the patrons exercised their legal right to be afraid and call the police. I don’t know how this case will turn out or if we’ll ever hear about it, but the man was, at the very least, an insensitive dolt for doing what he did. And who really knows if his problem is merely insensitivity. Maybe he has deeper underlying issues …
The photo appears to be his police mug shot. Hmm, black “message” T-shirt. Looks like maybe it says “Liberalism …” A wary person might think the man has a chip on his shoulder or wants to make a point… not the kind of person you want to see packing heat.
I know one thing for sure. If I’d seen a man with a gun in that theater, I’d have left immediately, told the theater people why I was leaving and that I wasn’t coming back to that obviously dangerous environment, and called the police. If all patrons of any theater or other business got up and left in the presence of guns, maybe more business owners would voluntarily ban them. If lawmakers won’t act, maybe we should vote with our feet and apply some economic pressure.