I found myself at the center of a shooting scare last night

‘I texted my parents telling them that I loved them’


Saturday night, my boyfriend and I went to Commonwealth 20 Movie Theater in Midlothian, VA to watch Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. Towards the end of the movie, I began to hear what sounded like gunshots in the background of the theater. As I looked around, so did everyone else.

Right as I was anticipating leaving the theater, the gun shot sound sped up, causing everyone to run to the emergency exit. People were shoving each other and popcorn and drinks were spilt all over the floor. Moments before this occurred, I texted my parents and little sister telling them that I loved them and that we thought there was a shooting in the theater.

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It seemed so real. At the moment, all I could think about was the recent list released by ISIS indicating the number of citizens that the terrorist organization planned to kill in each state, and I felt like this theater, so close to the capital, Richmond, was about to be the site of an attack. In a matter of seconds, I felt like the comedy I was watching was turning into a horror story.

The first people who reached the emergency exit turned around almost in tears and explained that there were fireworks going off outside of the theater. I cried tears of relief, as did several other people. We all sat back down for the remaining ten minutes of the movie, shaken up to say the least.

Because of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando and the more recent shootings in Minnesota and Dallas, the minds of people in America are uneasy. Since the 2012 mass shooting at The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, the idea of a shooting in a large crowd, specifically a movie theater, is not nearly as outlandish as it would have been fifty years ago.

Tragedy involving guns is almost expected in today’s society. With so much terrorist-like activity occurring in America right now, fifty-plus moviegoers including myself felt like we were about to be at the scene of the next tragedy on American soil. However, during this traumatic event, one man in the movie theater left towards the entrance as soon as the gun-like sounds began.

At first, I felt uneasy that this one man chose to leave the theater while everyone else was looking around helplessly. However, I later came to realize that this man had a weapon on his hip and was going to make sure everyone was okay in the hallway of the movie theater.

cw

Instead of using the emergency exit, this man tried to figure out where the shooting was coming from in order to try to protect other civilians. Although I am not a huge advocate for gun control and try to avoid political drama, I know for a fact that I felt safer because of the man with the gun.

When everyone in the theater was trying to escape through the emergency exit, my boyfriend also ran towards the entrance of the theater. Having his concealed weapons license, he felt that it was his responsibility to check and make sure that everyone was okay. While I believe that everyone should have to pass a background check to buy or carry a firearm, I was very thankful for the second amendment last night.

While thankfully, there was no shooting last night, and everyone was able to leave the theater at the end of the movie safely, the fear in the minds of people in America right now is evident.