Cinemark Tinseltown USA
Dear Sir or Madam at Cinemark Tinseltown USA :
I am afraid I must comment on something I observed while standing in line at your box office earlier today, April 1, 2006. I was reading the various notes and ads in the window, when I noticed that one of your postings excluded me from entering your theater. I took my money and left without purchasing a ticket or as much as a popcorn.
You see, there are well over 200,000 Texans who would not be allowed in your establishment whom you are discriminating against because of this notice. I am one of them.
This group to which I belong has several things in common: we are all at least 21 years of age, none of us have ever been convicted of a felony, and none of us have committed a class A or B misdemeanor in the past five years. Moreover according to a report by engineering statistician William Sturdevant, this group has arrest rates far lower than the general population for every category of crime. For instance:
- We are 5.7 times less likely to be arrested for violent offenses than the general public--127 per 100,000 population versus 730 per 100,000.
- We are 13.5 times less likely to be arrested for nonviolent offenses than the general public--386 per 100,000 population versus 5,212 per 100,000.
- Furthermore, the general public is 1.4 times more likely to be arrested for murder than we are, and not a one of us has ever been arrested for negligent manslaughter.
We are specially trained and licensed by the state. We are checked out thoroughly by the FBI.
And we arenít allowed inside your theater.
My good sir or madam, I am proud to say I hold a concealed handgun license.
I take offense at your ďNo FirearmsĒ notice. Implied here is that anyone in possession of a firearm is only going to commit a crime.
My good sir or madam, I am statistically far less dangerous than the general public to whom you cater. I would go so far as to say my presence in your establishment, which not only would create additional revenue for you, would be beneficial.
My good sir or madam, do I need to remind you that on Oct. 16, 1991, Georges Pierre Hennard killed 24 people, including himself, in a cafeteria in Killeen, Texas? There was a woman there by the name of Dr. Suzanne Gratia who was standing right behind Hennard. Dr. Gratia was in the habit of carrying her firearm everywhere she went, but on this day she had to leave it in her car to enter the establishment. She had a clear shot at Hennard and could have prevented the massacre, but when she reached for her gun it wasnít there.
If anybody else had a gun there on that day, Dr. Gratia would have been grateful. If it can happen in a cafeteria, it can happen in a theater.
My good sir or madam, it was not very long ago that crime rates in Texas were 38% above the national average. This was the case for the early 1990s. The concealed handgun act was passed on May 26, 1995.
Since then serious crime in Texas has dropped 50 percent faster than for the nation as a whole. For example, during the 1990s Texasí murder rate dropped 52 percent compared to 33 percent nationally, and the rape rate fell by 22 percent compared to 16 percent nationally.
Concealed handguns work. They have dramatic effects on increasing public safety, and there are many incidents of licensed handgun carriers thwarting murders, robberies, and other violent crimes. Among these people are Jim Eichelberg, Becky Shelton, and most recently Mark Wilson, who saved a childís life and who knows how many others by facing down a crazed rifleman last year in Tyler Texas at the cost of his own life.
Your no firearms policy is socially irresponsible. You are keeping the Mark Wilsons of the world from gracing your seats and exposing your customers to attacks by dangerous people who should be in jail.
Furthermore your policy excludes even the police, who may be on or off duty, from entering your building. They are required to be armed. They donít have a choice.
I saw no armed guards either, so essentially since there are no lawful firearms and no police allowed in your theater, you basically donít allow your customers any safety. I wonder if you even allow for the possession of fire extinguishers, first aid kits, or the possession of other emergency equipment in your theater.
My dear sir or madam, I go to a movie theater to see a movie and perhaps buy some popcorn. I demand to be treated like a customer and not a criminal. Your establishment is the first of its kind I have encountered with such a policy. If I and my money are not welcome in your place of business that is your decision, but myself, my family, my friends, and others will not be attending your theaterís presentations either until you change your unreasonable edict.
Furthermore, there is nothing in the Texas Penal Code that would demand you must post such a notice. You are not restricted in this regard. I am well versed in this part of the law; if I were not I would not have a concealed handgun license.
I will conclude with some constructive advice: your notice does not comply with the Texas Penal Code. As a trained concealed handgun license holder I am responsible for knowing which notices prohibiting firearms follow the law and which ones do not, and yours does not. I suggest you either consult an attorney on the matter or remove it, and removing it is cheaper.
Of course removing it would actually generate you some money. It would have put a minimum of $15 in your pocket earlier today, probably closer to $25-$30. I envy your ability to continue operating a profitable venture without income.
I ask for nothing other than to be treated fairly before I ever consider entering your establishment again. I had been a customer in the past, but am now excluded from those who can enjoy your theaterís services.
<My signature here>
A former movie-goer who is
A statistically safer potential customer than the rest of your potential customers
Who is not allowed in your establishment, along with over 200,000 other Texans.