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The tragedy in Colorado was unavoidable in terms of the having ANY way of preventing this previously seemingly sane young man with no criminal record from obtaining the guns and bomb making material.

However, the fact that he could buy a ticket, enter the theater and then sneak OUT an UNGUARDED exit and PROP IT OPEN for reentry with his lethal arsenal to wreak havoc was certainly avoidable.

What theater, especially one showing a first run expensive film like this would not have precautions in place to prevent people sneaking in without tickets? An ordinary common precaution to prevent someone from buying a ticket and then sneaking in non paying friends would have prevented this tragedy.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I thought about this very issue this morning. The (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue91, ConfusedSkyes

    theater probably couldn't, cost-wise, justify placing a person at each of the emergency exits but surely there is an alarm system available that would indicate when a door is open longer than it would take someone to exit the building.  Seems like this would be economically feasible and would go a long way toward solving this particular action.

    "By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell -- and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed." Adolf Hitler

    by pittie70 on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:33:52 AM PDT

    •  They could have had cameras too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimene

      But, yeah, there's tons of access control systems out there -- it's a huge industry.

      Be interesting to see if a lawsuit emerges because of the lack of security.

      "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

      by Bush Bites on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 07:01:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here ya go. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pixxer, pittie70, chimene
      (March, 2012) –  New Braunfels, Texas –  Detex Corporation now offers the EAX-300 Battery Powered Door-Propped Alarm that sounds an alert when a secured door is propped open. It provides a low-cost security solution because it requires no electrical connection and is quick and easy to install.

      “Propping can defeat the whole security system, but some customers hesitate to install a wired alarm because of the electrical connection requirements,” said Ken Kuehler, national accounts manager for Detex Corporation. “The battery powered alarm is a practical solution that’s especially useful in retrofitting situations because it saves money as well as space.”

      The EAX-300 can be field-set for door-open times ranging from one second to two minutes, with a 15-second default.  A 100-decibel alarm alerts employees, then silences when the door is closed so there is no waiting for a key-holder to arrive.  A 9-volt battery with low battery/LED alert powers the alarm. Accurate installation is foolproof, with a patented plastic template that indicates alignment with the internal magnetic door contact. Weatherized models are available for outside doors.

      http://www.detex.com/...

      "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

      by Bush Bites on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 07:16:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obviously, there are other systems.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pittie70

        ....that could alert the front office rather than producing an audible alarm, or both.

        "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

        by Bush Bites on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 07:19:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That wouldn't work as well for a theater (0+ / 0-)

        as the emergency exits are often used as regular exits once the movie is finished.  A wired alarm would have to be used so that it could be tied into the projection system so that an alarm would only go off if it was open while the movie (including previews) was playing.

        There is no saving throw against stupid.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 09:52:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the info. I knew there had to be (0+ / 0-)

        something out there.

        "By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell -- and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed." Adolf Hitler

        by pittie70 on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 11:35:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Come on. (0+ / 0-)

      So the management is alerted as to an open door. Now what? A movie theater's staff is not equipped to defend theater goers against an armed gunman, plain and simple. Period.

  •  you had to get inside first to prop it open (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nupstateny, doc2

    someone from the outside couldn't have opened an exit door.

    What theater, especially one showing a first run expensive film like this would not have precautions in place to prevent people sneaking in without tickets?
    what are they supposed to do, have a security guard at each door?

    we can barricade ourselves in our basements too but what fun is that?

    the problem is insane people can have guns

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:44:04 AM PDT

  •  Guess they'd have to guard the doors... (0+ / 0-)

    ...or have an alarm that's triggered when the door's opened -- which is easily done.

    You can't lock it because of fire laws.

    "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

    by Bush Bites on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 06:48:12 AM PDT

    •  As someone who works at a theater... (0+ / 0-)

      ...yes, the doors ARE locked - from the outside. You can open them from the inside by pushing a bar which releases the lock, but you can't open them from outside unless you have a key (or the door is unlatched or propped open).

      Our theater doesn't normally station people at the exit doors to guard against people sneaking in. But in hindsight, taking that precaution for a midnight showing of a much-anticipated movie like this one wouldn't be a bad idea.

      I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

      by ObamOcala on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 08:13:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Back in the day (0+ / 0-)

        if the exit light on the door lit up, the usher--there was one in each theater--would be right on it.

        Sneaking your buddies in was a time honored sport.

        "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

        by happy camper on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 09:17:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe the usher was "right on it". (0+ / 0-)

          Maybe the usher was a victim. In any event, no theater usher is going to be able to stop an armed gunman.

          •  I was (0+ / 0-)

            speaking to the need for an audible alarm, not expecting an usher to do anything about an armed maniac.

            I don't think they even have an employee in each theater at modern multiplexes.

            "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

            by happy camper on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 10:01:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course they don't, why should they? (0+ / 0-)

              And why should theater-goers have to listen to an alarm whenever somebody uses the exit door? This is a one-time anomaly, and it was unpreventable. All these people here trying to solve this "problem" are trying to solve an unsolvable problem. Forcing every movie theater to hire an armed guard in every theater is the only solution. I don't like that solution, do you?

  •  Under this scenario, all public buildings should (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina, doc2

    have someone guarding the exits???  

    Please!!!!

    •  The technology's available to avoid that. (0+ / 0-)

      There are access control systems that would alert to  unauthorized egress.

      Many commercial and institutional buildings have them.

      "The disturbing footage depicts piglets being drop kicked and swung by their hind legs. Sows are seen being kicked and shoved as they resist leaving their piglets."

      by Bush Bites on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 07:04:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, so? So a guy props open a (0+ / 0-)

        door with a piece of trash and re-enters a few minutes later. You think that this "alert system" would send in the SWAT team immediately? Your best case is that the theater manager would get notice that a door is open, send a 17-year old employee to check it out. Nobody's life would be saved. Doors get opened all the time, and out of every 10 million door openings there is one guy with a gun. You can't call in the cavalry every time someone opens a door. Think about it.

  •  A couple of things... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SlightKC

    One is that the technology has been available for decades.  You've all seen the "Emergency Exit - Alarm Will Sound" signs on doors.  IIRC, the alarm is actually in the pushbar mechanism for the door itself, not through a main system.  But there's reasons theaters don't use this - a lot of people use the outside doors to leave the theater after a movie, and having an alarm sound every time someone opened a door in normal use would be a problem.  This would be the same for a master alarm system that would go off if the door was held open too long, because if multiple people use the door, it won't close in time and the alarm would go off.  It's a hard bit to solve.  Besides, at least until now, the problem with unauthorized entry has been freeloaders and not homicidal maniacs.  

    I think what we'll be seeing going forward is changes in the design of theaters.  Right now each screening room in a theater is separated from the next by a simple wall.  I would advocate that a hallway be placed in between each of them, with at least two sets of double doors that are alarmed with panic bars (that's what the bar is called that goes across a commercial door that you push to unlatch and open) on each wall.  These are emergency exits only.  This allows people to get the hell out in a hurry, instead of jamming two or three small exits.  There's an older theater here with several side doors that go straight outside, and it's a fast way out.  

    The design problem is not so much that the shooter got in; if he wanted to pull something like this off, he'd have figured it out even it the back door didn't make it easy.  The bigger problem is that it's almost impossible to evacuate a theater quickly.  200-300 people with 2-3 doors... the math isn't good there.  This can come into play for many other things - fire, structure collapse, etc.  I wouldn't be surprised to see fire codes updated to address this.

    •  So tie the alarm into the projection system so (0+ / 0-)

      that if the door is open while the movie is playing an alarm will sound.  That way if someone props open the door beforehand the alarm will sound as soon as the previews start.

      There is no saving throw against stupid.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 09:50:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Everyone's talking about this today, but (0+ / 0-)

      like all attacks, we will move on. They are not going to completely change the way theaters are designed just because of this one attack. For one thing, even if they did so, any future attacker would just adjust his strategy. It's the assault weapons that are the problem, not our buildings.

  •  Lots of Door Alarm Options Are Available. Just (0+ / 0-)

    having it propped open or the latch in any way disabled is something that can be monitored.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jul 21, 2012 at 08:17:50 AM PDT

  •  What's silly about this is that if (0+ / 0-)

    you had some sort of way of completely stopping someone from propping open a door, this guy could have just entered the theater, blasting away, through the entrance. The only thing that can stop a guy with a gun is another guy with a gun, and we should not IMO have armed guards everywhere.

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