I see our "Doctor-In-the-House Murphy doesn't mind taking away individual rights to solve the opiod crisis that is the...

Ugly theater drama reveals the bad, good


Greenville police and other law enforcement officers responded to the AMC Fire Tower 12 late Friday, Feb. 23, after a report shots had been fired inside the complex.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

The dramatic confrontation and subsequent police response nine days ago at the AMC Fire Tower 12 showed a full range of humanity, from selfish to selfless, in a matter of minutes, with the best possible of outcomes: all parties left the business safe and sound albeit a bit shaken.

Greenville Police Chief Mark Holtzman, with a bit of incredulity, explained how the drama unfolded prior to a showing of “Black Panther.” “Yeah, believe it or not, we believe this entire thing started over assigned seating in the theater. In other words, ‘You’re in my seat,’ that leads to an argument, that leads to a gun being pulled out and at least one round being fired up into the ceiling.”

We don’t know the details of the argument, which party was in the right or wrong, but everyone knows that firing a gun is the absolute worst response to that situation — everyone except maybe the big brain in the blue and white shirt and blue and white hat who police arrested a couple days later. 

Of course he is innocent until proven guilty, but the man simply could have approached the management if someone had taken his seat, or he could have moved if the seat’s rightful owner asked him to please do so. He could have moved even if the exchange was less pleasant.

Instead, Mr. Big Shot and his girlfriend (she was arrested, too) can think only of themselves. They argue and fight, the man fires his pistol and starts a panic — you don’t have to be a behavioral scientist to know that a gunshot in a theater will scare people, especially nine days after a shooting rampage killed 17 people at a school in Florida and stirred memories of the 2012 theater shooting that killed 12 in Colorado.

The incident ruined everybody’s night. No “Black Panther” or any other movie for anyone after that. At the very least, the guy needs some anger management classes, and he doesn’t need to be carrying a gun.

The first police officers entered the building quickly, the chief said, less than two minutes after they were called. This is where the story takes a positive turn. 

The officers did not know exactly what would face them when they entered. Surely the same thoughts movie-goers had of shooters with high-powered weapons and fully loaded magazines crossed their minds. Instead of holding back, or running away, these officers geared up and ran toward the danger. 

In this day and age, it is an eventuality for which local law enforcement regularly trains. Every summer, for instance, they pick a school building and practice their active-shooter response with guns that shoot paint pellets and actors who play bad guys and bystanders. The protocol calls for the first available officer — on or off duty — to push forward as back up scrambles to the scene.

Officers from Greenville, East Carolina University and the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office showed how well their training and efforts to equip them has worked. Within 10 minutes several waves of vested responders with rifles had overrun the business. An active shooter would have had nowhere to hide.

Thank goodness more was not required of these heroic people. We know the sight of them may have surprised and frightened many that night, but by most accounts they performed with great professionalism. We can take comfort that they are ready, willing and able to do their job — a job that in the worst-case scenario risks their lives to protect ours.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


June 24, 2018

In both houses of Congress and on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers seem ready to address America's glaring prison problem. It's important that they not settle for half-measures, but rather seize this opportunity to overhaul federal criminal sentencing.

In a country with just 5 percent of global…

Attorney General Federal Prisons

June 23, 2018

Of the many words Donald Trump used this week in defense of his horrific policy to separate children and their parents at the border, one tweet should especially trouble Americans.

It's not the tweet you think — the repulsive one from Tuesday that said undocumented immigrants "infest our…

Immigration Separating Families-14

June 22, 2018

Would Republicans in Congress stay mute if a president imposed income or sales taxes on U.S. industries on an arbitrary whim? We doubt it, so it’s dispiriting to see Senate Republicans let Donald Trump impose tens of billions of dollars in border taxes without so much as a vote of protest.…

US Iran Congress-4

June 21, 2018

If ignorance is bliss, the state Senate might be the happiest place on the planet. It also may be where the largest number of President Barack Obama haters hang out.

It is the logical conclusion: It is not about state money since the state’s hospitals have agreed to a plan that would cover…

N.C. Legislative Building

June 20, 2018

The trade war with Canada over steel, aluminum and milk understandably grabs the headlines. But flying under the radar is the battle over Canadian newsprint, a skirmish that’s hurting businesses and costing jobs.

In January, the U.S. Commerce Department, responding to a complaint from a New…


June 20, 2018

Lawmakers in Raleigh usurped local control and eschewed local input when they set a new early voting schedule last week.

The House and Senate on Friday set a 17-day early voting period that ends the Friday before Election Day, eliminating a popular Saturday from the schedule. All early voting sites…

June 18, 2018

Master impersonators taking on multiple identities to vote as other people. Dead people rising from their graves to haunt your neighborhood polling place. Non-citizens descending by the caravan to vote alongside true Americans.

The mythical beast known as “voter fraud” is as…


June 17, 2018

About a year ago, state Republican leaders vowed to retaliate in response to a painful rebuff from the U.S. Supreme Court, which had just refused to review a lower court ruling striking down the Legislature’s 2013 discriminatory voter ID law.

“All North Carolinians can rest assured that…

June 16, 2018

Supporters of North Carolina’s Opportunity Scholarship Program say a new report by N.C. State University researchers shows that the state voucher program is helping students from low-income families.

That’s far more hype than fact.

What the study makes clear is there’s no way to…

June 15, 2018

Music is healing. Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Senior High School put that theory on display Sunday night in New York with their stirring performance at the Tony Awards — beautifully.

The students, all from the school’s drama department, brought the house down singing the…

109 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»