Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why it is doubtful much will change after the Aurora massacre.... 

Came across this on Roger Ebert's blog. I agree with his assessment:

The Body Count

I lived in, or within a mile of, Aurora, Colorado for a total of 12 years. I was in that very theatre many times. It horrifies me to think that someone could have been wounded or killed in one of the very same seats where I had enjoyed a movie.

My first thought when I saw the breaking news was "not AGAIN!". Because naturally my thoughts turned to the events at Columbine High School in 1999 in Littleton, which is just across town. Again innocent people, mostly kids, trapped while the room was being sprayed with bullets from automatic weapons. Again an elaborate plot whose ultimate goal was maximum carnage. Again near the scene of the murders a line of crosses signed by the grieving who are desperate to do something, anything, that comforts the bereaved.

I don't think the time and place selected was random. It was nearly the one-year anniversary of the worst mass murder in Norway's history. I believe this man wanted to outdo that event. He chose a venue where he knew everyone would be distracted by what was on the screen, all facing the same direction, most of them nowhere near an exit. He chose a midnight showing on the premier night because it would likely be sold out. And he chose to do this during a film with plenty of shooting in it that was the sequel to one that contained a character with whom he could identify: the Joker. Those who were there watching "The Dark Knight Rises" at first thought a promotional stunt or prank was going on, until the real bullets started coming at them.

Had I not moved to South Dakota, it would not be completely implausible for me to have gone to that movie, although I might not have gone at midnight unless a friend had invited me. Even though I was in Minnesota on a vacation at the time of the shooting, it feels like I, in a very indirect way, have been assaulted too. I did not have access to a computer until Sunday night, and I stayed up until 3am checking the Facebook pages of my Colorado friends to make sure none of them had been there. There were some close calls: one friend's teenage daughter decided not to go, but the girl's friends did attend and witnessed the murder of a six-year old. Another friend's cousin was there too, but got out safely. Two more friends had considered going but decided to wait until Friday.

It has been difficult to get enough information locally, as South Dakota is weirdly isolationist. At times, it feels as though I am living in a different country. So I've been sticking with CNN on TV, picked up the Minneapolis newspaper as well as a few national ones, and have been perusing Denver media websites. The stories of the losses, the near misses, the heroic acts, etc. will haunt me, just as they did in 1999. But this time I am not there in person to comfort or commiserate.

I am guessing that by now the state of Colorado has a reputation for being a dangerous place to live. That is actually not the case at all. My last residence, which was approximately one mile from the Aurora border, was in the safest neighborhood in the metropolitan area. No shootings during the eight years I lived there. There were some unlocked vehicles broken into, but that is common all over the United States. There was one home invasion, and guess what the burglars stole? Guns and nothing else.

There is much more that I would like to say on this subject, but I am still recovering from my trip, and typing this has been greatly exhausting, so I'll stop here. I may or may not add more later. I would like to start posting about my short Minneapolis vacation when the time is right and I am up to it. In the meantime, peace be with you, all involved in this tragedy, all who grieve. Again.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?