Scene of the crime (courtesy rt.com)

“If he had left his firearm in the car, we wouldn’t be here today. This would have never happened.” Assistant state attorney Manny Garcia, quoted in  Florida Man Is Denied Bail in Killing at a Movie Theater [via nytimes.com]

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116 Responses to Quote of the Day: And If My Grandma Had Wheels She’d Be a Trolley Car Edition

  1. And if the popcorn thrower had left his cell phone in the car we wouldn’t be here today. Or learned enough manners to not use a cell phone in a public theater. Or learned to not challenge an old dog….. Oh Wait. He did learn all those things. Some lessons are forever.

      • I believe the moral behind the quote “An armed society is a polite society” is exactly that some people need to learn that their boorishness or thugishness can result in fatal consequences.

        There is a T-shirt advertised here Dads Against Daughters Dating that says, Shoot the first one – The message gets around. Same principle.

        This is not to say that I in any way approve of this shooting, only that I doubt many people will be rude in that theater for awhile.

    • Had Mr. Oulson had enough consideration for the other patrons to get up and go out of the theater so that his texting would not have been annoying, this never would’ve happened either.

        • I think Reeves did the wrong thing and should be punished, but this shooting wasn’t about texting or throwing popcorn. It was was about Oulson’s righteous indignation and anger over someone calling him out on his anti-social behavior. I think there’s a distinction there.

        • Reeve finally snapped, plain and simple. Decades of pent up cop rage finally came gushing out. If he has a good lawyer he’d go for a temporary insanity plea and get “rehabilitated” at a posh California spa facility, like the kid with “affluenza.” All on the taxpayer’s dime, of course.

        • Some trailers are better than the movie. I still remember seeing the trailer for T2 way back in the day. After waiting seven years since the first Terminator movie, if some dumbass had started texting during that trailer, I would have shot them too!

          Yes, I’m joking. But just because you don’t think trailers are important doesn’t mean somebody else feels the same way.

        • The point was that there were a million things that could have changed the events that day and blaming just one (i.e. the gun) is ridiculous.

      • I’m in no way defending the shooter. He’s an ass that deserves a long time in the pen. But a lesson that seems to be going right over the heads of a lot of young men is that we live in America. America is an armed society. People get shot over trivial stuff like popcorn on a daily basis. It’s why we POTG own and carry guns, so we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from those that would settle an argument with gunfire.

        Learn to interact politely and respectfully with those around you. Or we may be discussing you on this site.

    • If it was during the movie, maybe. But it was a preview and the guy was texting his babysitter, fer fuck’s sake.

      Bad bad shoot.

      Besides, I don’t think getting pelted with popcorn is reason enough to kill, no matter what the circumstances. If I have the gun, I have to be the better man.

      • If it was during the movie maybe? I really really hope that’s the sarcastic statement of the week. To even consider its right to take a life because someone texted during the movies is outright ludicrous.

        Is it rude, yes is it a life threatening action, no.
        No person should be killed unless that person is going to kill or hurt an innocent person.

      • Ding.

        Nobody gets shot over thrown popcorn. Ever. What the hell people?

        Some serious perspective needed above. Yes, popcorn thrower was being an ass. “Being an ass” is nowhere near opportunity, ability, jeopardy. Complain to theater management. They’ll handle it. I carry everywhere I legally can, but under no circumstances do I consider foodstuffs a deadly weapon.

        (insert peanut allergy joke here).

        This one was senseless and stupid on the shooter’s part. He should be held accountable. By the same token, the rest of us shouldn’t be punished for his misdeeds.

    • Just fucking WOW. If you think for half a second texting or even throwing popcorn at somebody justifies in ANY WAY them being shot you need to sell all of your firearms NOW. I am all about being able to defend yourself but if you kill somebody for a trivial slight you deserve to rot in prison. I don’t care if somebody called your mother every dirty name in the book then spits on you, you don’t shoot them for something like that. You can defend life and limb with deadly force, not your ego.

  2. IMO, you should run as fast as possible from this one. There’s no way to spin it in our favor. Hothead ex-cop kills young father over popcorn being thrown at him? Yeah, run Forest, run.

    • In agreement with Steve in MD….

      The “spin” would be HOTHEAD + ex-COP = they’re not any more enlightened than the rest of us peons.

      • …not just a hothead and former cop, but an organizer of a new SWAT unit back in the day. And head of security at Busch Gardens, a place typically full of children. Carve-outs are wrong.

        What catches my attention is this: The OFWG shooter behaved just like gang-banger in Baltimore. He thinks he is being dissed. Not under immediate threat of violence. Dissed. So he shoots.

        Resposible OFWG’s, LEO’s, and Moms for Self-Defense do not shoot because they are dissed. Bro’.

    • Yep, not a defensive gun use at all. Old man is witnessed by an off duty cop no less to have said, “I’ll teach you!” before shooting the man. And then when his wife said, you didn’t need to do that, he told her to, “Shut the F up!”

      This is not a self defense case, but a murder.

    • Agreed, Scott.

      There are lessons to be learned from this about courtesy, consideration of others and self-restraint, but no clear good guy as far as I can see.

      Just two jerks who both should have known better, with a tragic ending in the Shakespearean sense.

    • No spin needed, we can’t afford to bury our heads in the sand and pretend it didn’t happen.

      And keep in mind when you watch the video it’s not just some popcorn… he started by winging the cell phone at the old dude in the seat. Not saying it’s a justified shoot (at all) but keep in mind how the media and prosecutor have twisted previous incidents before you rely too heavily on them for information on this one.

    • This “news story” is clearly a manufactured distraction, most likely created to take attention off of the ongoing collapse of America’s economy. It’s a complete fabrication; none of what’s being reported ever happened. How do I know? I’m surprised no one else has noticed that flaw in this story, but here it is: this story is obviously made up, because in the story the gun used to kill the man is a .380 handgun! Everyone knows that a .380 handgun is completely ineffective as a self defense tool. Go to any internet web forum where self defense is discussed, and the verdict is clear; no man, woman or child has ever been killed by nor been able to kill anyone with a .380 handgun. A .380 handgun just doesn’t have the required stopping power to kill a violent assailant. Everyone on the internet knows that you need AT LEAST a 9mm+P cartridge to do enough damage to a human body to cause death, and even if you have a 9mm+P you still won’t be able to kill anyone unless you have perfect shot placement. I’m not surprised, given their lack of gun knowledge (always talking about .30 assault clips and .9mm guns) that the media got this wrong, but I kinda expected the POTG to have noticed this glaring error by now.

  3. “If he had just moved to a different seat, we wouldn’t be here today. This would have never happened.”

    “If he had just left, we wouldn’t be here today. This would have never happened.”

    “If he had not shot the guy. This would have never happened.”

  4. Leaving your weapon in “the car” defeats the whole purpose of being able to protect oneself. Unfortunately, in today’s world, people think you can pretty much say and/or do whatever you want to somebody and get away with it. You know, because we have LAWS. Unfortunately, this young father found out the hard way that one should always be polite and civil.

    and yes, I agree with the others, this is a murder, pure and simple that should not have happened.

    • Lol. I read “because we have Light Anti Tank Weapons Systems.” Bit hard to pocket carry.

      Seriously though, in some ways we have become a nation of bullies. The smartass idiots who take a lack of consideration for others right to to the line (an actual physical altercation) knowing you won’t cross it, or if you do they can play the victim since you threw the first punch.

      It doesn’t justify the shooting, but then I bet the popcorn throwing either. Two idiots in an escalating death spiral, each determined to be the most stubborn idiot of the day, both operating on completely different scales.

  5. Some people just shouldn’t own guns.
    The dead guy may have been a serial jerk but anyone that would confront and then shoot someone for such a silly reason is likely to shoot someone else for some other silly reason. The world is full of jerks but how many people here have drawn down on someone for a similar reason?
    If you raise your hand, I’ll repeat. Some people just shouldn’t own guns.

    • So how are we to decide who should own firearms or not? Base it on age, race, gender, socioeconomic level? You tell us, who is to decide?

      • In a perfect world, each individual should decide for themselves. Unfortunately, in the real world it happens after the fact, like in this case.
        Trust me, I’m not looking for a legislative fix to a problem like this. This is still a very rare occurrence. But just like the guy that is on trial in Florida for shooting the guys playing the loud rap music, fools using guns improperly are a real threat to our rights.

      • Nobody. Deciding that pre-emptively is the greater evil.

        However, just because we can’t address the issue does not mean the issue doesn’t exist.

    • Yeah; retired cops that are used to unquestioning obedience that still think “civilians” should bow and genuflect every time they open their mouth with a command.

      • Why, exactly, is this a “cop” thing and not a grumpy old man thing? Oh, because you don’t like cops. Nevermind.

        • It’s a cop thing because when you spend enough time on the “force” you have the “never back down” attitude ingrained into you. I have seen enough involuntary contacts go down to say without a shadow of a doubt that this is the biggest contributing factor to this incident. You can come here and try to accuse people of cop bashing, but in the end you are just another of the brotherhood of “we’re better than yous”.

  6. If shannon watts were there, she would have talked to the old guy to the point he used the gun on himself to stop the voices

    • I agree. Both parties share the blame in this case. One paid with his life, and the other will be spending the rest of his days in jail. If anything, it should serve as a lesson on how not to escalate a confrontation. End of story.

      • No they do not share equal blame. You should be able to be the rudest biggest asshole in the world all day long if you want. Being a jerk doesn’t give others a license to put you in your place.

        • And the person who gives it to me will still be in the wrong, if they dramatically overreact like this guy did.

          Being a mouthy little prick is not a justifiable reason to punch someone in the face.

          Throwing popcorn is not a justifiable reason to shoot someone.

        • Jack brown what exactly to popcorn throwers and name callers deserve? To be killed? if you honestly think that guess what you should not have a gun cause there are lots of jerks in this world. And none of them deserve to have their life taken.

        • The courts do recognize fighting words as a defense to the charge of assault and battery, so yes, you can be such a dick and say things worthy of getting your ass beat. This wasn’t it.

          I don’t see how they will get him for murder one, though. No premeditation, a verbal argument that turned physical, etc. Manslaughter would be easy.

        • I keep hearing “an armed society is a police society”, well, this must be what they mean, right? Someone I know used to say “being an asshole has almost no consequences except in the unlikely event someone finally pulls out a gun and shoots you.” That’s what happened here… the victim was acting like a complete ass, throwing phones and popcorn at the grumpy old man and he picked the wrong one. Because this grumpy old man decided to get the kids off his lawn for good and snapped.

    • There is no defense for this guy, but the idiots are going to use stuff like this to throw all CCW holders under the bus and potential murderers. Statistically this is not the case.

      Also in following with the story: If only he didn’t go back to his car and get his gun.

      Just because you have a magical gun free zone doesn’t mean someone who is intent on killing won’t make it happen.

      • Badge or identification of a retired cop = no ccw required in most cases. See: Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act of 2004. Also, due to LEO carve outs, “no guns” signs need not apply to LEO’s. This guy wasn’t a ccw holder as far as I can figure out. If anybody has information to the contrary, please give me some links.

      • And because he’s a retired cop, the grabbers are totally flummoxed. They’re walking around in circles holding their heads in a vain attempt to prevent them exploding.

        And Shannon and the Mighty Midget are resoundingly silent.

        • This. The anti narrative is “you don’t need a gun because you’re not trained. We have LEO’s and retired LEO’s enough to protect us. And we’ve got leftie community activists to improve things.” –so when LEO’s shoot each other, or retired LEO’s shoot us, or advocates of gun free zones carry guns into schools, the false assumptions built into their narrative become obvious even to them. But building a new narrative is hard work, and the act shows their last narrative was BS.

        • Don’t forget that the media is trying their hardest to keep from mentioning that this guy was exempt from CCW laws because he was a retired cop.

    • “Don’t defend this murderer.”

      Based on how the media has twisted previous cases with similar aspects, I will wait until the trial to make such a determination. I would hope the jurors do as well.

      • The leap to comments about ultimate guilt or innocence, rather than legitimacy of arrest and charging, are simply another sign of how far our public education system and the culture of our ‘leaders,’ our politicians, have fallen. Our media, politicians, and (frankly, Hannibal) our police and attorneys, have legitimized the lynching of individuals by destroying their reputations, if not their bodies, long before any trial.

        Many find it comforting to repeat the aphoristic “an armed society is a polite society.” Yet, if we do not even have a coherent enforceable definition of what constitutes a minimal level of politeness, we’ll have the guns defending a hundred different definitions of politeness. We see the same failing, the myriad of double standards, in our laws today, in which ‘rights’ are whatever the loudest rudest guy in the room says they are on a given day. It is all capped off by a business-oriented culture that says stealing a car should bring jail but swindling a municipality out of hundreds of millions of dollars should bring the banker….a fine, paid for with the cash just looted from the other scam he’s running.

        A period of vast change in the apparent ethos of our country demands an effort to cooperatively define that behavioral restraint we have a right to demand of others. This effort isn’t being made. We just have a bunch of lawyers-turned-politician or activist pushing their parochial take. We’ve sacrificed any valuing of a quality of life for the average person to an unending battle to gain the blessing of the new god, mammon.

        • Having a myriad of definitions for politeness would be acceptable if enough of the population were striving for it.

  7. Agreed, public awareness of the number of douchebag cops can’t come soon enough.

    As for the quote, he’s obviously never heard “Bubba Shot the Jukebox”. It’s entirely possible to retrieve a weapon from your vehicle and then commit a crime.

    • Someone’s jealous that they don’t get to put flashy lights in their car.

      Seriously, it’s hilarious how the occupations of these people never matter unless it’s one that people have a hard-on for.

  8. well I wonder how the theaters are going to spin this one…you know..trailers (and commercials) just ended…sitting there waiting for the move to start and they run that clip where it tells you to stop talking and shut your cell phone off…i wonder if they are going to add in there “or it could mean your life” …wow…Too soon?

  9. Sorry, TTAGers, but this old thing popped into my mind unbidden. From an old marine I used to play cards with a long time ago…

    “When ifs and buts are candy and nuts, oh what a merry f&cking Christmas we’ll have.”

  10. The shooter is guilty of homicide, period. The shootee is guilty of a “crime” known in LE as “contempt of cop” which may result in anything from additional charges or an ass-whoopin’ to becoming a PNB (pulseless non-breather) even if it is a retired cop. Old fart was used to “listen and obey” and jumped a few steps in force escalation. Generally, you can go one above your adversary. Gun is way above popcorn throwing or a fist, and “you pick your battles” was something I guess he forgot.

    • Damn Scooter, you hit that nail square!! When a cop thinks he is the law or he is above the law shite is sure to happen. Some Cops use the law and badge to enforce their personal opinions and positions of what they deem is acceptable or what the law in their eyes should be…Cops are just people like the rest of us, some possess a flawed character that is only magnified by the badge. Cops are allowed to respond or react to civil disturbances in a much different way than a mere citizen…..My opinion, the shooter still possessed the mindset of an overzealous active duty LEO and was conditioned by the years of authority, power and protection that comes with the badge, however he will not get the immunity protection it affords this time. Just think for a moment how different this entire event would be viewed if the shooter was an active LEO, Would members of the thin blue line come to his rescue and circle the wagons of immunity. Hmmmmm, chew on that…..

  11. This is what happens when society as a whole loses its manners. One dead, one canned for life. Not surprisingly – The first words out of most peoples mouths these days is F You!

  12. It sounds like if he had only known there was a law against murdering people this never would have happened. Maybe we need signs at GFZs that say “No Murdering” or “Murder Free Zone”?

  13. So is it the state attorney’s position that he wouldn’t have prosecuted the ex-cop if he’d left his firearm in the car and instead stabbed the guy to death, or perhaps fallen back on his cop training and beaten him to death while shouting “stop resisting”?

  14. If the popcorn man had been carrying, he probably would have been motivated to de-escalate the situation. That’s why 2 guns are always better than one.
    Then again maybe not.

      • Probably. Although someone who starts throwing phones and popcorn at the grumpy old man in a theater probably doesn’t have great self-control… might have turned out differently.

  15. If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle. We can what-if it to death. I say let the guy rot. popcorn in the face does not justify deadly force.

  16. I’m not exactly on the side of the shooter or the deceased at this point, though it isn’t looking good for the shooter. Still, the issue is whether the threat, if any, was sufficient to justify lethal force against it.

    In that narrow context, conjecture on whether lethal force in the form of a self-defense firearm should have been available is immaterial and entirely out of this prosecutor’s domain.

  17. Texting during the movie is rude, during commercials i could care less what you do with your phone. In this case both parties are at fault. However it does not warrent shooting the texter. Deescalation of force anyone?

  18. I can see a forthcoming disparity of force argument. The ex-cop was retired, clearly meaning he was old and feeble. The young father was clearly stronger. And besides, he through a deadly weapon at the poor old guy. Popcorn, with enough velocity, could cause someone to lose an eye followed by infection and death.

    You know, some times it causes actual, physical pain to try an play devil’s advocate when the opposing side is completely illogical….

  19. “Could you please not text while in the theater?”

    Is what one who is carrying should have said.

    If the reply was “No.” then the next thing that should have been done if one was carrying a weapon would be to stand up, and walk out of the theater, find someone who works there, kindly inform them that someone was texting, and it was disrupting your experience, and that you’d like your money back, and then go home.

    That is how this situation SHOULD have been solved.

    When you’re carrying a gun, you are a mouse. You are meek. You are mild. You are agreeable. You are kind. You are polite. You are humble. You will gladly lose every argument you get into and walk away. You will walk away from anything that makes you the least bit upset with your tail between your legs. They are just words (or in this case, photons from a cellphone…) and not worth taking another life. If your life is not in danger, than suck it up, and walk away.

    I hope that old retired cop dies in prison, alone and forgotten.

  20. If the shootee was about to assault the cop & he just “pulled” his gun & then shot when he feared there would be a life or death struggle for the gun, it might be a good shoot(no such ambiguity for a run on sentence though). Add to this that the cop was a senior citizen & it gets more interesting. There are witnesses so this should get sorted out fairly,maybe,hopefully. Randy

    • It would be nice to wait for the evidence to settle before judging the guy to be guilty. Though it sure looks like it from here…

  21. Come on folks. Before the rush to judgement let’s get the facts and recognize that none of us were there. We don’t know exactly what each person did. A lot of comments here sound like those calling for GZ’s execution without a trial. You know we’re not hearing all sides of the story from the lame stream media. I don’t know if this was justified or not. I’m willing to hear both sides.

    • Wanting to wait to hear both sides is admirable, but the old ex-cop has one thing really going against him (if it’s true).

      He left the theater and went back in.

      Not being an instigator of the events, even if he was “in fear for his life” at the actual time of the shooting, is a key component for the self defense claim (at least under my state’s law). Just like in the GZ (he got out of the truck), it’s going to be a big part of the claims at trial, or at least that’s my prediction.

      In other words, it really does not matter what happened immediately before the shooting. That he left and went back in can very likely be painted to make him look like the aggressor, or at least equally culpable. It’s going to be a hard hump to overcome.

      I don’t see him shooting an unarmed man after leaving the altercation and choosing to re-enter it supporting an SD claim at all, and to at least a small degree, adds fuel to any claims of premeditation the State might make.

  22. You would think that the off duty policeman would have done something to calm the situation down before that crazy guy jumped over the seats and attacked that old man.

  23. “If he had left his firearm in his pocket, we wouldn’t be here today. This would have never happened.”

    FIFY. Now go kiss Angela Corey’s fat @ss, Manny.

  24. I just lost a long explanation of my take on this and yes, it was worth every penny you paid for it. Summary follows:

    Did anyone else see the infrared security video that was taken inside the theater? (Unfortunately no sound)
    If you had you would have seen a big, pissed-off, aggressive, younger guy lunge at and throw a punch at ex-LEO from a distance of about 3 feet. Yes there is popcorn involved but it is attached to a fist. Fist comes within a few inches of ex-LEO.

    So I see a huge disparity of force and an aggressive attack.

    I’d have shot him also.

    • You are correct, the video shines a whole different light on the incident than the one we have been getting from new stories.

  25. I read the story that was linked to this post, and it gave a detailed description of the shooter’s career in law enforcement. He seems to have done just about everything a cop could do…except for one thing; it didn’t mention anything about his having ever used lethal force. Could it be that maybe he’d always wanted to shoot someone but the opportunity never presented itself? Maybe he heard his biological clock ticking down and “jumped the gun”? I don’t like rude theater patrons, nor do I like overbearing LEO’s, so no matter how this trial plays out there will be something in it for me.

  26. Incorrect. They’d still be there processing a murder.

    That the shooter had a gun doesn’t mean that he’s not a senile, angry moron whose idea of appropriate and measured response is to shoot someone who threw fu¢king popcorn at him.

    Popcorn is not a lethal threat, unless one is trapped in a silo full of the not-yet-popped variety.

    Had he left his gun in the car, he’d have strangled someone with licorice or beaten them with a fire extinguisher.

    The guy’s a deranged and dangerous fool, and that his choice of murder weapon was powder actuated should not earn him any points.

    • I’ve just watched some video footage; I still believe Mr. LEO to have gone to excess, but not as in murder.

      Crike, what a mess.

      • Russ – At what point does a disagreement between a much older, much slower, much less mobile individual and a younger, faster, stronger aggressor go from disagreement to an attack? At a distance of about 3 feet, I’d say it is when one of them lunges towards the other and extends his arm in a punching motion, popcorn or no.

        An older, weaker, slower person can usually survive a shouting match. A blow to the head or body with a hard fall to the floor, not so much. The ex-LEO did NOT consent to mutual combat and he had a right to defend himself from such aggression.

        “I won’t be wronged, I won’t be insulted, I won’t be laid a hand on. I don’t do this to others and I require the same from them.”
        — J.B. Books (John Wayne)

        • While you are correct, whatsisnuts had backed off after the popcorn; any cop knows draw and point, but not necessarily fire.

          As I said, excess – but probably not murder. However, his leaving and then reentering the cinema (perhaps having gotten the gun?) looks pretty bad.

  27. The victim was texting during the trailer. He was not talking. How disruptive could he have been. The shooter was an old ex cop with an attitude looking for a problem to solve with a gun and he found it. Life behind bars will do. Maybe he will run into a couple people he put behind bars.

    • So you want to increase training to truly unaffordable levels. Nice. Maybe we need to require aggressive a$$holes to wear a big “AA” on their forehead?

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