Have you seen the videos of the huge brawl at a Florida shopping center movie theater over the holiday? There was a time when taking the kids to the movies was just a regular family outing. But these days it seems you have to sit down the whole family for disaster preparedness training before you go anywhere.
The massive fight that had parents worried about the safety of their kids at the movies involved some 600 people yelling and hitting. Cops poured into the shopping center, armed with pepper spray, to shut it down.
Can you imagine you're at the theater to catch an animated flick with your kid, and the place turns into a melee with fists flying and pepper spray heavy in the air?
According to cops, the fight at the Hollywood River City 14 movie theater at the River City Marketplace in Jacksonville, Florida, began when a bunch of teenagers rushed an off-duty cop who responded by pepper-spraying them. Back-up arrived and they were able to lock theatergoers inside, with those troublesome teens outside, but the huge crowd took over the parking lot, leaving families who were at the center's restaurants and the theater trapped.
The whole thing happened around 8:30 p.m., when the theater was still showing kids' films such as Frozen. The parents of several teenagers who went to the shopping center to pick up their kids said they had a hard time finding out where their children were and actually getting TO their kids. A safe zone had to actually be set up for parents and kids to be reunited.
Is this really the world we're living in? Where you need to have a battle plan in place with your family in case movie night turns into a police situation?
Sadly, the 600-person fight in Jacksonville on Christmas isn't the first of its kind. Just last month, a brawl took over the Danbury Fair Mall in Connecticut, drawing cops to the food court to shut down a 20-person fight. Earlier this year, 200-some teens were involved in a fight that shut down a Louisiana mall.
And while I'm not going to lock my doors and keep my family at home because of it, it's the kind of thing that does make me more inclined to go to malls that have rules about groups of teenagers hanging out together and have visible security on hand.
It may also be wise to start talking to our kids about what to do if a fight breaks out near them ... so they aren't paralyzed by fear if it does happen, and you can get away from it all.
Just look at what went down in Florida:
What do you think can be done to protect innocent citizens from these sort of mass fights?
Image via M. Pratter/Flickr