Colorado Tragedy: Dark Knight Rises Massacre

12 deaths. For what? People have issues, and people have problems but it is so unfathomable to me that a person could be filled with so much hatred that they would take out that rage on strangers.

Because it’s not just 12 deaths. It’s 12 families who have to live with that death every day of the rest of their lives. It’s the hundreds of family members and friends of these 12 victims who were living a normal day on Thursday and now have their world’s turned upside down on Friday. It’s about the parents who lost their son or daughter, the husbands or wife who lost a spouse, and the sibling who lost a brother or sister. These people are now forced to suffer life sentences, living with the death of those they loved, and it is the fault of one man. How could someone inflict such a lifetime of pain on so many people? How in the world does a person have this type of hatred? Obviously he was very disturbed.

We’ve seen horrific tragedies in schools in this country. We’ve seen tragic shootings by disgruntled coworkers in this country. We’ve seen family members murder multiple relatives in this country. And while those events are horrible and there is no justification, the shooter is going after people he knows. But just opening fire on a random crowd of people? What could possibly be so bad in a person’s life where they need to bring harm to strangers?

I realize that this is a rhetorical question. There’s nothing special about my indignation. Any sane person is appalled to learn of what happened in Colorado.

I read the stories and it is an absolutely horrifying scene. Amid the excitement of the start of the most highly anticipated film of the summer, early in the screening, a man clad in black appeared and dropped some sort of cannister. From numerous eyewitness accounts, at first, many thought that this was part of the show or that the theater had sponsored some type of special effects to commemorate the theatrical release of the movie. Unfortunately, however, this was all too real.

At a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, James Holmes, a 24 year old gunmen opened fire on a packed theater in Aurora, Colorado and shot 71 people. So far, 12 of them have died, including 10 perishing in the theater.

For the people who were unharmed in the theater, I cannot imagine the emotional scars. How would the world ever look the same after witnessing such carnage?

I read reports, and I build a mental picture of this movie theater, and I imagine the patrons helplessly sitting in the theater. I don’t think it’s really possible for the average person to know how we would even respond in that situation. Some people dove for cover while others froze. Some people ran, but the people who tried to escape were among the individuals whom the shooter targeted. Considering that Holmes had time to shoot 50 people, and reload his guns, for the crowd, it must have felt like it was never going to end.

I glanced at my phone when I woke up this morning and saw a notification from CNN that I couldn’t believe. It talked of 14 people dying (they had the number wrong) at an opening screening of the Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. People were just living their lives, trying to enjoy a movie. I’m sure thatthe dozen who passed away had no idea that it was going to be the final night of their lives.

I keep making the mistake of asking “why” as if there’s an answer to that question. We live in a world where there is hatred and evil but we rarely see this sociopathic indifference to human life coupled with a desire to inflict suffering. I think that all we can do is pay attention to the people we encounter, look for warning signs of disturbed individuals, and love people.

For the families, for the survivors who are recovering, and for the Aurora community, you are in my heart today and in my prayers.