One week ago today the world woke up to learn a horrible excuse for humanity tore into an innocent crowd of adults and children enjoying a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Up until now we’ve been silent, searching for the right words to say that will somehow soothe the pain while still capturing our anger. We’re angry. Confused. Hurt. None of us were thankfully in that theater, though many of us already had tickets to see it that weekend. And that’s where our anger comes in – because that could have been any of us. Any movie fan. We are all lovers of the sweet escape of cinema, and to have that so brutally taken away from the victims of the Aurora shootings breaks us. We can’t come up with the right words, but here’s a few of our personal reactions.
We love you Aurora, we love you –Veronica Moser-Sullivan, age 6 John Larimer, US Navy Intelligence Officer, age 27 Alex Sullivan, celebrating his 27th birthday Jessica Ghawi, blogger and aspiring sportscaster, 24 Alexander Boik, recent Gateway HS graduate, 19 Jesse Childress, US Air Force Sergeant, 29 Jonathan Blunk, US Navy Veteran, killed while protecting his girlfriend, 26 Rebecca Ann Wingo, US Air Force Translator, 33 Gordon Cowden, father of two, 51 Alexander Teves, recent University of Denver graduate, killed while protecting his girlfriend, 24 Matt McQuinn, died protecting both his girlfriend and her older brother, 27 Micayla Medek, “We’re all a little weird. And life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up in mutual weirdness and call it love,” 23
It’s one hot-ass summer here in Denver. The kids are on break, it’s a gazillion degrees out, and a movie theater is air-conditioned. This movie theater was close to a high school and in a mall where lots of kids hang out, and it was a midnight showing. Parents surely signed off on what sounded like a totally fun, safe, innocent form of summertime entertainment. If I had (when I have) a high schooler, there is nowhere in the world I will want them to be but a movie theater. You sit in a dark room and watch something for 2 hours! There is no way that could possibly in any way be unsafe! What a treat for a parent to have 2 hours of peace and quiet from a bored teenager, and how great for a teenager to be able to go out with friends to see some shitty movie that they’ve been following on the message boards, and maybe the boy they’re crushing on is there with HIS friends, and maybe they all sit in a group and suddenly it’s kind of like a date…
And I hope beyond hope that this will not change. I want this to not signify the beginning of the end of the movie experience. Yes, a horrible thing happened. And there is nothing that could have predicted or prevented it. Thinking about what you’ll do ‘next time this happens’, or vowing to carry a concealed weapon and scan the exits every time you go to the movies for the rest of your life gives this tragedy a place in our society, and this tragedy has no place in our society. Let’s all try to agree to grieve purely, and to ask “Why?” without then answering “Because x,y, and z”. The question “Why” in this instance has no answer.
One last thing: to all the judgey-mommy’s getting their judgey caps on because someone brought their 3-month-old infant to a midnight movie… YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP RIGHT FUCKING NOW. Seriously. Do you think this mother would have brought her baby to the movie theater if she knew she was going to be shot at? Is there any conceivable reason that she’s a worse parent than any of the parents who let their kids go to that movie last night? No.
Yes, the fact that a 3-month-old happened to be in attendance at THIS theater, on THIS night, is a tragedy, but it’s also a tragedy for everyone else who was there as well. I’m sure there are a lot of parents out there today second guessing letting their kids go/bringing their kids to the movies. Back off.
- Annie Cohen, “Ivyy Goldberg, Esq.”
I think it’s unfortunate that we as a society have become so desensitized to gun violence that it takes something of this magnitude to give us pause. For me personally, the thing that I am having the most trouble wrapping my head around is that for a moment they thought it was part of the show. Why wouldn’t you?
It just boggles the mind. I hope everybody takes a moment to hug their loved ones today.
- Darius Schwarz, “Maximillian Archimedes Stoneburner”
When I woke up Friday morning and turned on the news the first thing that struck me about the shootings in Aurora is how easily that could’ve been me, how easily it could’ve been any of us. If I didn’t have to get up early and go to work in the morning, I would’ve been right there with those people (and probably in costume… don’t judge), excited and thrilled at the chance to be one of the first audiences to see a highly anticipated release. In the grand scheme of things does it matter that it was a showing of Dark Knight? Perhaps when it comes down to one individual’s motives – but in reality, no – it doesn’t matter. This could’ve been any summer blockbuster. This could’ve been any eager crowd.
I have been a lover of film and movies my entire life. As an infant with much older siblings, it was perfectly normal for my family to hit up a midnight showing. They’d be damned if they were going to let their baby sister ruin their chances of seeing Return of the Jedi. The practice of taking your small children to a midnight screening is very much the same thought process behind taking a red eye flight – you go when the youngest will probably sleep through it and not disturb your neighbors. The criticisms I’m seeing lobbed at the parents who chose to do so is disheartening and counterproductive. These parents feel shitty enough – who has the right to point fingers at anyone right now other than the piece of shit that destroyed the beauty of films for so many people?
Movies are an ingrained escape in our world culture. They take us to places that are thrilling, romantic and tear-inducing, all from the safety of our seats – sometimes when we’re alone and in need of solace and company, sometimes surrounded and shared with friends and family. That someone could so callously and brutally rip that veil away for so many innocent people, so many children, breaks my heart.
- Vanessa Berben, “Alistair Blake Arabella”
Twelve people lost their lives last week. But there are many more that were injured who still need our help. Here’s a list of ways you can lend assistance to survivors. Their horrific ordeal shouldn’t be made worse by the daunting costs of their continued recovery.