This is one of those moments we’re reminded how messed up the world can be. At a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado, an audience found themselves in a horrific situation. A lone gunman, armed and wearing body armor bust through the emergency exit and began shooting. Reports suggest twelve were killed with several others injured.
I was stunned to hear this upon exiting the theater at the midnight showing I attended. It didn’t really sink in at first. This isn’t something you think of when going to the movies to enjoy a film. Those poor viewers were just like the people in the theater I went to. They just wanted to watch the new Batman movie. Those in my theater were overjoyed with it. You could feel the anticipation in the minutes before the lights were dimmed. In a packed theater, I had to sit next to someone I had never seen before. But it didn’t matter. We were all there for the same reason. It was clear that many didn’t know the intricate details of Batman’s comic book adventure but they actually clapped and cheered upon seeing Batman on screen for the first time.
It’s a sickening feeling to think what happened in Colorado could have happened anywhere. We’re already in panic mode when going to airports. Are we now supposed to worry about going to the movies? It turns my stomach to think that something like that could happen if I was in a theater with my daughter. It just never makes sense when people are so unhinged, they feel the urge to enact violence upon others.
Thinking about the individual responsible, how could he reach this stage without anyone being concerned? Was this a gradual build up or a sudden decision? Because he was so heavily armed, you have to assume it wasn’t a last minute decision. In one report, it’s mentioned that the shooter’s mother, when she first heard the news in the morning said, “You have the right person. I need to call the police.”
What is that supposed to mean? She suspected or knew her kid was capable of such a despicable act? How long had he been amassing his arsenal? Was there absolutely no one that suspected something was seriously wrong with him?
I don’t know if he has a reason for doing what he did. I don’t know if something happened that day or if he even had a grudge with anyone at the theater. Frankly, I really don’t want to know. It does seem random. In many ways, that makes it worse.
The same report tries alluding that the shooter wore a gas mask and bulletproof vest and caused public havoc, just as Bane does in the film. Let’s not try to make excuses for this vile incident. Bane was making a statement in the movie. This guy had no motive. He just committed a messed up act.
Where do we go from here? Is it still possible to enjoy movies or just being in public? We can’t live our lives in fear. Bad things happen. It sucks. We can’t live our lives in paranoia. We have to be strong and believe we can still be safe and can still go to the movies or other public areas.
I’m not trying to place the blame of the actions of the killer’s family or friends. We aren’t psychic or trained psychiatrists. You would think someone would recognize the individual was disturbed. Maybe we can try to be a little more observant. Be a little nicer to one another. If anything, perhaps offering a kind smile once in a while could be enough to help someone deal with their loneliness or built up anger and frustration. We just can’t have stuff like this happening.
My heart goes out to the victims, survivors and family and friends of those that were in attendance.