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Horror in Aurora

A family mourns their missing son outside the movie theater in Aurora (AP Photo- Barry Gutierrez)

Another mindless, irrational, senseless mass shooting in America.  And in a darkened movie theater no less- the place so many gather to be both social and alone in the dark.

We know 71 people were wounded and 12 of them have died.  There are so many questions.  Salon.com’s Mary Elizabeth Williams wonders if movie-going will ever be the same again. 

Movie theaters and the act of group entertainment are going to be heightened experiences now, fraught with the pain of history. We’re going to feel different when the lights go down.

And then there’s the gratuitous violence in the “The Dark Knight Rises,” the Batman movie whose midnight debut in a Denver suburb became the target for 24-year-old James Holmes.  We do love our violence, don’t we?  I’m no innocent here.  I’ve enjoyed my share of pretty gory, violent movies in my lifetime.  But juxtaposed against actual violence and mayhem, I wonder how many of us will be able to stomach the fictionalized violence in this movie and others like it.

My guess is that, for right now, it will be awkward.  But this will fade away, won’t it?  Like the Gabby Giffords shooting eventually did.  Like even Colombine eventually did.

So much of this will follow a predictable course.  New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Sarah and Jim Brady will be the only ones who dare bring up the topic of the public’s access to automatic weaponry.  Three of Holmes’ weapons were automatic, two pistols and a rifle.  No word yet how he got his hands on them.  But then again, a criminal check would have served no purpose.  It appears James Holmes had no criminal record whatsoever aside from an innocent speeding ticket.

Some will argue it’s too bad others in the theater were not also armed so as to kill the gunman at the inception of his attack.  Who knows?  Maybe the answer is to arm us all.

And I suppose we are to breathe a sigh of relief when we hear from authorities that there is no “nexus to terrorism.”  It is ironic that we spend so much time, energy and money fighting terrorism as a foreign threat.  If you think about it, James Holmes allegedly committed the ultimate act of terrorism- if you define it as an act of violence aimed at intimidating society. 

The same could be said for Timothy McVie (Oklahoma City bombing), Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Colombine) and Jared Lee Loughner (Gabby Giffords).   A public building, a high school, a civic event where people had gone to meet their Congresswoman- and now, a crowded theater.   It’s our homegrown terrorists who worry me most of all.  Thanks to them, we’re pretty much out of places where we can feel safe.

  1. Roz Stark
    July 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Well said, Robert.

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