Tragedy at a Midnight Showing

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.

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3 Replies to “Tragedy at a Midnight Showing”

  1. You’re right. It doesn’t matter what his motivation was. When someone is that deranged, any reason they give will be inadequate for the rest of us to comprehend. Trying to point fingers and place blame elsewhere just makes us feel like we’re somehow in control and similar situations won’t occur, and hopefully they won’t, but you can’t plan for individuals like this. We could sanitize everything, but you can’t account for that fringe crazy person who flew under the radar.

    My heart really goes out to all of the victims.My son is only two, but he already loves Batman, and in a few years, I’ll have to decide if he can see whatever the Batman film of the day is, but that choice should be based on the content of the movie, not based on fear of something like this.

    Great post. Thanks for putting this out there.

  2. I really appreciate the time you took writing this, and the questions you ask only seem to be becoming more pressing and relevant with each passing day. To be honest, it saddens me that society is being broken up into paranoid factions because of senseless violence. As you mentioned with airports, it only seems to take a significantly horrible act or individual to enact a stte of panic for the general population.
    Perhaps what saddens me the most is exactly what you said when you mentioned that ‘it could of happened anywhere’. Being a contributor to your site, and a dedicated comic book fan, my excitement for TDKR was immeasurable, as I’m sure many others were. However, hearing this, and how such wanton destruction can turn a joyful, communal event into a cause for further fear only upsets me. Are all our pleasures to be taken away from us? Are we to accept that in schools, malls, airports and now cinemas, we are not safe? It’s a sad state of affairs, and what could have been an international celebration of art has now become an international tragedy.
    Again, thanks for writing this. It has definitely got me thinking and pondering some questions, but I hope that our social unity will not be fractured by this act. Only together, I believe, can we overcome this and movie on and continue to try to better our society.

  3. tears i cant cry but they’re there for those killed and injured and prayers too. i am starting to notice that everytime a movie is about to be released some total disaster happens within a short distance of time related to that movie’s release/theatre span. dont really know what to write about this anymore than whats written, but, i really do see this massive effect delivered to all o us. i meant massive defect-

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