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Tom Jackson Columns

Jackson: Blame guns, not rudeness, say readers

In the wake of all that’s been written about Monday’s deadly shooting at the Cobb Grove 16 multiplex, paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln has become inevitable: You can’t please all the people all the time, as my reader-correspondents revealed in abundance. Here’s a sample.

Re: Shooting’s silver lining is up to us (Jan. 17)

There is another conversation that has been taking place that wasn’t mentioned in this article — the pros and cons of carrying a concealed weapon. Most people think about the benefits of having a gun in extreme cases where they might be able to defend themselves in a robbery or other serious confrontation. It is far more likely that we will encounter an altercation similar to the one that took place in the movie theater.

I’m not sure that had I been in Mr. Reeves’ shoes, I wouldn’t have done the same thing. That’s why I don’t own or desire to own a gun. I am not suggesting that there aren’t [concealed-weapons permit] owners who have the ability and self-control to walk away from an incident where someone has tossed a bag of popcorn at their head … but honestly, a CWP isn’t for everyone. That’s a conversation that I hope people will have as a result of this terrible incident.

Paul Beardmore

Wesley Chapel

As one who never owned a firearm more deadly than a Daisy BB rifle and so far has decided a concealed-carry permit is not for him, I could not agree more. —TJ

***Your article unbelievably fails to highlight the role of guns as to why one person was killed and instead serves up nonsensical garbage to your faithful fellow acolytes in the gun-toting world. Like the … weasel [who] fired the gun, you also are an enabler to all those nut-cases and wackos who have no business owning a gun. As if a gun had nothing whatsoever to do with this story.

I believe you mentioned guns twice, when in fact that should have been your main focus, and instead you dwelt on issues that were on the periphery of the main story. How convenient that easy access to a weapon was glossed over and instead we get a lecture about Miss Manners! Are you kidding me? You’re pathetic.

Jim Conefry


One admires Mr. Conefry’s gift for squeezing so many insults into such a small space. – TJ

I continue to enjoy your articles, but this article seemed to focus on rudeness, bullying, etc. At the same time it downplayed the severity of the “gun problem.” That is, the frequency and severity of these shootings which go on, and on, and on, and on, and on. Why do this?

Tom Burke


Re: No, etiquette avengers, he didn’t have it coming (Jan. 15)

Your note at the end of your column — that Cobb theaters have a prominently posted gun-free zone sign — I suggest they add an equally prominently posted sign prohibiting cellphone usage inside the theaters. Perhaps that would have prohibited the incident.


I know quite a few concealed-weapons license holders (in Florida, who doesn’t?) and most of them assure me they’d rather take their chances on carrying in a movie theater than sitting unarmed in a “prominently posted gun-free zone,” where every single mass shooting in the past quarter century has taken place.

Bil Sidwell

Dade City

Announcements about shutting down cellphones are standard fare at movies, plays, concerts and so on, but their frequency seems to have made them part of the background noise of modern life, and many, sadly, ignore them. –TJ

The gun wasn’t the problem. It was the nut who pulled it out. And no one is saying the guy who was shot had it coming, but it was bound to happen. Cellphones are an annoyance in theaters, concert halls, restaurants, banks, etc., and are outright dangerous when used while driving.

We do not and should not need signs, announcements and traffic laws telling us to turn off and put down our phones. We need common sense and respect for other people. When sense and respect take a vacation, this is what can happen. Especially since the rude use of cell phones has become epidemic.

People should be ejected from the premises of quiet restaurants, theaters, halls etc. when their phone use bothers someone else, without a refund. Maybe then people will start to change their habits in this “me” culture.

Jim DeLeo



In discussions with friends, my personal take on one of the main factors leading to the shooting was a phrase coined in the ’60s: “generation gap.” Anyone who lived during the tumultuous ’60s as a part of the under-30 crowd witnessed the dissatisfaction received from our elders, “the establishment.” They didn’t like our music, clothing, etc.

Of course, being still a more civil time in our country’s history, most of the reaction from the establishment was the shaking of their heads. The physical was done by the under-30s, who took over college campuses, [staged] protests, etc.

Moving the clock ahead to present day, and in a turn of events, that under-30 crowd is now part of “the establishment” and has no time for the inconsideration of those younger. Add to all this the shooter’s profile and everything that has already been written, it’s not really that surprising what happened.

John Fleming


Blame the ’60s? Hadn’t thought of that angle. But, yes, what happened is less surprising, now that the novelty has worn off, than depressing; it shouldn’t take a movie-house shooting to remind us how our self-interested behavior might irritate others, or, conversely, if we’re irritated to the brink, the noble choice is accessing an escape route. – TJ

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