Written by Greg Ellifritz

Topics: Articles

  • SumoMe

Movie theaters seem to be a popular target for active killers lately.  I’ve written two articles in response t0the most recent Louisiana movie theater shooting (Surviving a Movie Theater Shooting and Should I Pull the Fire Alarm During a Mass Shooting?).  Here is Ron Borsch’s take on the subject.

– Greg





Copyright 2015 Ron Borsch


The movie industry is very successful because new movies on a large screen are quite popular with the public. Movie-goers range from occasional patrons to serious viewers that attend movies as recreation or even a hobby. Since the Aurora Colorado theater July 20th 2012, (“Batman”) Rapid Mass Murder© (RMM) incident, we have had media reminders over the years and as this is written, the penalty phase for the murderer is ongoing.


In this cowardly active killer attack on defenseless innocents, 12 were murdered and 70 injured/wounded. Eighty-two casualties without any protective interference and the murderer exits stage left? While he was apprehended outside where he parked his get-away car is beside the point. With 400 tightly-packed patrons, did the murderer run out of ammo or was he more interested in a quick get-away, already satisfied with the bloodbath he caused?


The typical young active killer, (“One who commits/attempts Rapid Mass Murder”©), is frequently enamored with achieving a high score. Motive is often not much more than seeking the infamous “Instant Celebrity Status”©. To thwart this motive, it has become my custom to shun the name of these cowards in my articles. If the media were to also shun their names and pictures, this common fast route to infamy motive would be on its way out. You may recall that after ‘Carrot-top’s” capture, the Aurora Chief of police refused to share his mug-shot with the media, (nice move Chief!). The first picture the media acquired was from somewhere else, as it did not show his “Carrot-top”, an unflattering term coined by a reporter as the murderer had painted his hair a shade of orange. What a great “Atta-boy” by one member of the media!


A quick check of my Stopwatch of Death© database, (over 150 Rapid Mass Murder© world-wide since 1975 that meet our protocol), indicates that this Aurora CO movie house incident has the 4th highest number of casualties (combined murders and wounded). This is very concerning. To put this in perspective for you, the RMM at Virginia Tech VI was 5th, Ft. Hood TX was 6th and Columbine High School CO was 8th.


As the Aurora CO theater was 4th, and some active killers are enamored with numbers, this naturally prompts the question, “Why are we not seeing more theater mass murder attempts by random actors such as active killers or terrorists”? I don’t have the answer to this question other than it would seem that terrorists and active killers have not yet run-the-numbers to discover what for them would be a treasure-trove of unsuspecting, unarmed and defenseless innocents to ambush in the dark.


RMM is often a copycat crime. Five months after the Aurora CO Theater in 2012, there was a foot pursuit of a gunman that ran into a movie theater, (San Antonio TX), but thankfully the officer shot and stopped him. In 2008, there was a RMM incident in a theater/auditorium at the University of Northern IL where there was some sort of assembly. The murderer, armed with a shotgun, suddenly appeared from behind the curtain, murdering 5 and wounded 17. See Greg Ellifritz’s article “Surviving a Movie Theater Shooting.”


As I was composing this article on my laptop July 23rd 2015 in my recliner listening to evening TV news, the cat sleeping on my legs, and my dog on the floor in front of the recliner, FOX’s “Kelly File”, Megan Kelly reported breaking news: At about at about 7:30 pm, the 16 screen multiplex Grant Theater in Lafayette Louisiana was showing “Train Wreck”, when a 58 year old white man who had been sitting at the back of the theater, stood up and begin shooting downwards at people in front of him with a .40 S&W High-Point semi-auto pistol.


There were about 25 patrons in the theater. Witnesses say they heard multiple shots (at least 13 cartridge cases were found). Then the coward followed or pursued panicked patrons out the nearest exit when he observed police arriving outside. He stopped and went back inside. Police pursued him inside where they heard a final single gunshot, then found the coward dead inside. The toll of innocents were two murdered and 9 wounded. Of the wounded rushed to hospitals, three were critical. Ironically this was three days after the 3rd anniversary of the Aurora CO RMM.


Of course, after the fact we usually learn that these cowardly murderers typically had Numerous Unstable or Troubling Symptoms© (“NUTS”). Unfortunately, we also usually learn that others knew about the NUTS factors but did not always timely report them to a relevant authority. Early reports from Lafayette Louisiana are that this coward was a drifter and had been living at least briefly out of a local Motel Six. Investigators found wigs and disguises in the motel room indicating he apparently had planned to escape. Other media were reporting the coward was prone to anger, a loudmouth, mental issues caused him to be hospitalized at least once, he had at least one temporary protection order against him, had a pattern of domestic violence, was divorced, affected by manic-depression, Bi-Polar disorder, and had an older criminal history record.


Heath Taylor, the sheriff of Russell County, Alabama added that Houser was denied a concealed carry permit in 2006 because he’d been arrested earlier for arson and domestic violence, though never prosecuted on those charges. Taylor also cited cuts in the safety net. “There’s cuts being made all over,” Taylor said. “What should be scary for the community is that the cuts being made in mental health around the state are allowing these people, who should not be walking around, to be out in the community.”


As a law enforcement trainer with a specialization in research documentation of what responses to RMM work best, and training first responders from ten states in my “Tactical 1st Responder”© , (Single Officer’s Lifesaving Others©), course, I have learned much about how an active killer thinks and where he acts.

• The NUTS© factor is omnipresent along with a common motive Instant Celebrity Status©.
• Preference for where the law, rule or signs forbid the honest law-abiding to carry firearms, the alleged “Gun-Free” zones, (only “Utopians” believe these areas are gun-free).
• Location: Similar to a theater, school room, office complex, Etc., anywhere a large number of unarmed defenseless victims are located.
• Access: Easy in and out. The multiplex theaters have their own emergency exits directly outside for each theater, (an important MO consideration for the CO and LA murderers escape plan).
• Soundproofing factor: Either by design or coincidence, locations such as schools, office complexes and especially movie theaters, have degrees of sound proofing that make hearing gunfire a distance away difficult or impossible to hear over ambient noise.

An additional resource “An Active Killer’s Diary” was written by my friend Greg Ellifritz.


It is not the tool, (Bare-hands, Knifes, Vehicles, Arson/Molotov cocktails, Poison, Clubs, Guns, Etc.), that causes assault or murder. Intent in the mind of the murderer is exclusively the sun source and sole responsibility of the killer. Blaming inanimate objects is a nonsensical bias. Perhaps the best analogy is the first homicide in the world and certainly before any notion of “Gun-Control”. This was before bows arrows, swords, knives, even before metal was discovered. Cain murdered Abel either with his bare hands or used an impact instrument such as a club or rock. (Any Biblical scholars know for sure?).



Of the little known actual shooting and murdering times, our Stopwatch of Death© database indicates recent averages of less than six minutes, a time window where it is unlikely for off-site law enforcement to have enough time to act in time. This is especially true when there is for a chaotic event, an understandable and typical delay in notifying police. (In the Aurora CO Theater RMM, some people reported the shooting via tweets or text messaging friends rather than directly calling the police). Ed Sanow, an editor for two law enforcement magazines has placed this typical delay in notification between 5 and 7 minutes. It is also important to know the actual potential rapidness for mass murder. Our Stopwatch of Death© indicates two RMM incidents with the shortest known shooting times of 15 seconds each.


Young Dr. Suzanna Hupp took her parents out to dinner at Luby’s Buffet Restaurant in Killeen TX. During dinner, a pickup truck exploded through the floor-to-ceiling windows there, the driver-madman got out with a gun, took careful aim, and began shooting everyone in his sights. Most diners dropped to the floor as did Dr. Hupp and parents. She reached for the handgun in her purse but quickly remembered Luby’s had signs forbidding firearms so she had regrettably left the pistol in her car. That October 16th 1991 would be the last time Dr. Hupp saw her parents alive.


This event came to be known as the largest mass shooting to ever occur in the United States. 23 murders and 20 wounded/attempted murders. In her book, “From Luby’s to the Legislature,” Dr. Hupp has many tragic details to tell, including her “… regret for a stupid decision to obey the law … I would much rather be sitting in jail … and have my parents alive to know their grandchildren”.


Dr. Hupp is a professional who has made her own decision about civil disobedience to a bad law that unintended or not, consequently delivers more protection to a potential murderer than the public which it is supposed to protect, but instead disarms. Her testimony before the Texas legislature eventually got a bill for right to carry concealed carry permit to the desk of then, Texas Governor George W. Bush who signed the law in 1996, “… which put the bad guys on notice with a clear message: from now on in Texas, we want the good guys to win!”


We must clearly understand that in a RMM event, there is typically no mercy shown to defenseless innocents including children. The hard cruel fact is: “The murdering stops only when the killer says it stops unless he is significantly and effectively interrupted”. While unarmed citizens can and have stopped active killers, many have also died trying. For example, at Luby’s in Texas, Dr. Hupp’s father Al, with a heroic instinct to protect his wife, daughter and other innocents, rose up and lunged toward the murderer who shot him dead.


It is obviously very dangerous going barehanded against a murderer with a remote-control weapon such as a firearm. It is also very dangerous going barehanded up against a knife wielding madman. There are numerous examples of just how quickly an active killer with a knife can create mass casualties. Mass murder by knife, even in the hands of a lone killer is not an anomaly. Interestingly, on the very day before the Grand Theatre in Lafayette LA 072215 where two were killed, five were killed in a Broken Arrow OK home by stabbing with a knife.



It is literally frightening to discover that some movie theatres forbid the otherwise legally armed law-abiding citizens to carry concealed in their movie houses. In a facility that is an active killer magnet, a very attractive target, disarming the public is a serious infringement on their 2nd amendment rights to defend themselves. For example, according to the “Conduct Policy” for all Grand Theatre locations, (such as Lafayette LA), the “possession of firearms or weapons of any kind” are completely banned and the ban applies regardless of whether the firearm or weapon is carried “openly or concealed, with or without a permit.” With such a policy cooperatively aiding and abetting an active killer whose goal is committing RMM, there is no reason for these cowardly madmen to go anywhere else! In effect, such policy creates a deadly no-contest playing field that favors murderers and endangers the innocent law-abiding patrons.



Any legislation that allows the owners of private property used by the public to forbid otherwise legal concealed carry, yet allows the owners to hide behind protection from liability for any injury resulting from such a policy is morally wrong. While it is clearly mental health issues, that are responsible for producing a RMM motive, our commander in chief is reported as “stymied and frustrated over inaction on gun laws”. As an example of how wrong he is, the Theatre madman in Lafayette LA was correctly denied a CCW permit in Alabama for Manic/Depression. He was a criminal and was criminally carrying a firearm before he even stepped into an alleged “Gun-Free Zone”.


In a multiplex theatre, school, office, large church or workplace setting, security staff or even a police officer or two somewhere on site, are all unlikely to be able to protect you in time. They cannot afford to have an officer in each theatre, school room, office complex, Etc. all of the time. Most surviving victims and witnesses in the killing area have initially thought the noise was firecrackers. It is key here to be aware that the further away someone is, (room baffles, the degree of sound-proofing and ambient noise), gun-shots may not be heard at all. It would be some time before help can arrive or an act of “Divine Providence” for any of them to be in the right place at the right time.


Many if not most Americans own a gun of some sort. For those with handguns, they have a choice to go through the Concealed Carry Weapon permit process. Some do, some don’t. As we see more random actors, domestic active killers and traitorous terrorist RMM events occurring, we logically see more and more law-abiding Americans choosing the CCW permit route. Friend, author, presenter and master firearms trainer Massad Ayoob is fond of saying “Chance favors the prepared mind”.


“Occam’s razor” logic briefly is, that the simplest answer is probably the most correct, (or among competing hypotheses that predict equally well, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected – the fewer assumptions that are made, the better). Therefore as a facility cannot keep bad men with guns out, (a demonstrably proven fact), a lifesaving solution, (also demonstrably proven), is for the facilities owner/operator to encourage and invite good men with guns in. To do so costs nothing, it is free. Who are these good men and women?


These good men and women are law-abiding citizens, pre-qualified through a state-mandated process. They have graduated from a specified several hours of classroom training on gun-safety, the law, and proper gun-handling and concealment. Also, they have demonstrated on a live-fire training range, under the guidance of a qualified instructor, safe gun handling and having a degree of marksmanship. In addition, they have voluntarily submitted to being fingerprinted for a criminal background check by law enforcement authorities, all before they are granted a permit.


“We suggest, you decide”
About the author: Ron Borsch manages and is the lead consultant for the PACT Consultant Group, which trains LE officers and does some Pro-Bono work for civic groups such as Churches. In the name of and supported by the seven SEALE Chiefs of police, Ron is also the founder and 1998-2015 was the manager and lead trainer for SEALE Regional Training Academy in Bedford Ohio, a post-graduate facility. Ron built the academy law enforcement client base to over 100 agencies from ten states. Ron has served on two different expert panels for the last several years at the annual International Law Enforcement and Educators Training Association in the Chicago area. After enlistment in the U.S. Army, and serving with the 101st Airborne, (Paratroopers, Viet-Nam 1965-1966), Ron had a three decade patrol career with Bedford PD. Duel responsibilities for decades included serving as Range-master, Pistol Team captain, DT/Arrest control instructor, SWAT operator and trainer. Ron is also a staff instructor with the Kent Martial Arts Club.







1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Your articles, including this one, are brilliant.

    Nevertheless, I have taken the liberty to add the following note to my file copy of this article:

    DB Note: A first-class article, based on a great deal of training and experience. Nevertheless I am dubious about the implied suggestion that the overall effectiveness of armed civilians will be enhanced by a fairly rigorous procedure of training and evaluation. I am unaware of any substantive research data that supports that. On the contrary, in my view the evidence strongly suggests that, if such procedures are compulsory, they will greatly reduce the number of honest people prepared to carry a gun for self-defence. Further, in my view the evidence suggests that a major factor in the crime-reduction effectiveness of a policy of allowing civilians to “carry” is to have such a proportion of the general population doing so that there is a good likelihood of there being one or more such persons in the immediate vicinity when a RMM incident erupts. In my view having more such people will likely be of greater benefit than fewer, better-trained ones.
    11th August 2015