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Movie melee is flash point to angry and fed up public

This was a couple of years ago.

Probably one of the last times I went to a first-run movie, come to think of it.

The theater wasn’t crowded, but a group of noisy kids sat right behind us.

I turned and asked if they’d mind keeping it down.

No dice.

I turned around again, but my future wife tugged on my arm.

“Don’t,” she said.

So we moved.

It wasn’t the Carmike Royal Palm 20, either.

I used to patronize the place, but not anymore.

Too many kids running around.

Fortunately, I never experienced a situation so volatile as the one that took place there Christmas night.

To recap:

A Marine on leave from Afghanistan and his wife are at a showing of “Little Fockers.”

They ask some teens to be quiet and get cursed at.

The wife gets the manager to remove the offensive youths.

Disgusted, the couple leaves not long after, a confrontation ensues, the couple gets jumped, Manatee County sheriff’s deputies are called and four teens and an adult are arrested.

Indignant parents protest, accusations fly, complaints are filed.

Hold on one second.

This is outrageous.

How did this melee start?

Even before the couple got involved, the situation was escalating.

As one Herald reader, who attended the movie, put it:

“These kids were out of control, running, yelling, cursing, lashing out at other patrons. It was obvious a problem was brewing and about to become out of control. It did not feel safe.”

What happened at the Royal Palm 20 and the public reaction to it serves as a flash point.

People are fed up.

We’ve had it with rude, disrespectful, bullying behavior in public, particularly from juveniles.

Bad enough it happens in some of our schools.

When you’ve got to put up with it at the movies, where you pay good money for entertainment, enough is enough.

And where is the parenting here?

When parents drop off the kids at the movies, how the kids behave is a reflection of their upbringing.

We’ve all met or read about well-mannered youngsters coming from single-parent homes, too.

So it’s been done.

As for Royal Palm 20, management said their usual weekend security -- off-duty lawmen -- were unavailable.

Maybe they should’ve hired bouncers.

The theater needs to demonstrate it’s not going to tolerate this conduct.

Especially if it plans to stay in business.

Patrons who witnessed this fracas have said they’re not going back.

That this ugly incident took place on Christmas makes you shake your head.

The birthday of Jesus Christ.

The Prince of Peace.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification purposes.

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