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Diatribe: Mall Cop Militias.

01/31/2014

MallCopsWMHave you ever been somewhere and suddenly realized that, maybe, you should be frightened?  Maybe you’ve missed a sign or a clue that danger might be lurking around the corner?  Last weekend I experienced an uneasiness that I haven’t felt in many years … when I went to see a movie with some friends.  A few days later, and after much careful consideration, I wrote the following letter to the theater’s manager:

January 28, 2014

            Re: Disturbing Situation Outside Your Box Office.

Dear Manager,

Last Saturday evening, I met some friends for a 7:00 p.m. movie in your multiplex.  We had purchased our tickets online, met in the lobby and made our way to the auditorium without incident.  The theater was clean and organized, the staff was pleasant, we enjoyed the movie and we were having a very nice evening.  As we left the theater, however, our experience spiraled into negativity.

There was a line at the box office of excited customers waiting to buy tickets to see a movie.  Many were teenagers and others were couples who appeared to be looking forward to an after-dinner film.  Among the moviegoers were no less than six uniformed security guards and three local police officers.  The security guards, clearly hired by the mall and not official law enforcement officers, appeared to be working to keep the people in line to buy tickets … your customers … from standing still in groups that they deemed to somehow be too large.  Nobody was doing anything remotely disturbing or even loud.

My friends and I stood to the side, near the exit, and watched for several minutes as the security guards unnecessarily ordered the crowd to keep moving and to not stand about.  Your customers were not doing anything wrong yet mall security was, in my opinion, harassing them at random.  The three armed, uniformed police officers, appeared to be there to provide “extra protection” should the security guards not be able to control the situation.

There was no situation to control.

I grew up in a time and a place where the presence of law enforcement indicated danger and the mere fact that an armed police officer was in the vicinity sent the message that we should stay clear.  Seeing six security guards and three police officers in front of your theater did not make me feel safe.  It made me, a law-abiding middle-aged adult, feel nervous and uncomfortable.

Is your theater safe?  Can parents allow their teenagers to go to the movies with their friends and not worry that they will be harassed by mall security?  Perhaps the facility really is dangerous and armed security guards are necessary.  If so, my family will be buying their extraordinarily high-priced tickets at another venue.

Having recently read of yet another shooting in a mall, and realizing that I was looking at people with loaded guns, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.  Nobody was doing anything wrong yet attempts to intimidate the completely innocent crowd continued.

Ironically, as we left the building we saw no less than four cars parked in the fire zone outside the exit.  Those four people were breaking a law … without consequence … while law enforcement officers were inside helping mall cops intimidate your customers.

Food for thought.

Regards,

I’ll probably go back to that theater again.  It’s a pretty nice facility and it’s in a good location for meeting friends from around the city.  But if I encounter another mall cop militia it will probably be my last time.

What about you?  Does a “police presence” make you feel more safe or less safe?

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5 Comments
  1. The man in Florida who shot the popcorn throwing texter was a retired cop. So No. The presence of more people with guns shouldn’t make anyone feel safer.

    I was in one DC area mall when I got an alert on a shooting in another. We gotta do something about these guns.

    Like

  2. Barneysday permalink

    Our police/security forces are becoming more militaristic every day. Have you noticed in the news how every confrontation, how every arrest, seems to require the SWAT team? The line between police and army has blurred, with the friendly corner policeman being replaced by a SWAT officer in full military flack dress carrying automatic weapons. The corner policeman is also no longer to be trusted as he once was, what with quotas for arrests, and random pat downs and personal searches.

    We are losing our freedoms and rights with each passing day, and the police state, whether speaking from the presidential podium or standing in front of a movie theater, is becoming self evident.

    Great observations

    Like

    • I’m equally concerned, if not more so, with the blurring of the line between police and civilians. It seems to me that scores of untrained vigilantes could prove to be far more frightening and dangerous. I fear our grandchildren will all walk the streets with holsters one day. Maybe I should just stay at home.

      Like

  3. By any standards that’s overkill.

    Like

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