The U.S. military has issued an email warning to service members about the potential for a mass shooter at screenings of the Warner Bros. film Joker, which has sparked wide concerns from families of those killed during the 2012 mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
The U.S. Army confirmed that the warning was widely distributed after social media posts related to extremists classified as “incels,” were uncovered by intelligence officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In a September 18th email, service members were instructed to remain aware of their surroundings and “identify two escape routes” when entering theaters. In the event of a shooting, they were instructed to “run, hide, fight,” Gizmodo reported.
“Run if you can,” the safety notice said. “If you’re stuck, hide (also known as ‘sheltering in place’), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.”
The Army said it became aware of potential threats after receiving a bulletin from the FBI, but that it was unaware of any specific plots or suspects. The notice, which was marked “For Official Use Only,” was relayed purely as a precautionary measure, it said.
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“We do this routinely because the safety and security of our workforce is paramount,” an Army spokesperson said of the widely distributed warning. “We want our workforce to be prepared and diligent on personal safety both inside the workplace and out.”
A separate memo, issued on a later date by senior officials in the U.S. Army’s criminal investigation division, stated that the Army had obtained “credible” intelligence from Texas law enforcement officials pertaining to “disturbing and very specific chatter” on the dark web “regarding the targeting of an unknown movie theater during the release.”
You can read the email that was circulated by the military in full below:
Posts on social media have made reference to involuntary celibate (“incel”) extremists replicating the 2012 theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, at screenings of the Joker movie at nationwide theaters. This presents a potential risk to DOD personnel and family members, though there are no known specific credible threats to the opening of the Joker on 4 October.
Incels are individuals who express frustration from perceived disadvantages to starting intimate relationships. Incel extremists idolize violent individuals like the Aurora movie theater shooter. They also idolize the Joker character, the violent clown from the Batman series, admiring his depiction as a man who must pretend to be happy, but eventually fights back against his bullies.
When entering theaters, identify two escape routes, remain aware of your surroundings, and remember the phrase “run, hide, fight.” Run if you can. If you’re stuck, hide (also referred to as “sheltering in place”), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.
** this is a condensed version of an HQ Army Materiel Command, G-3, Protection Division Security message **