Friday, July 27, 2012

Murder in Colorado

Senseless slaughter at the hands of a deranged madman turns a harmless fan event into a night of terror, mourning and loss.

I often don't write about current events in this post. The folks over at CNN, the Huffington Post, CNN, FOX News and MSNBC have all that on lock down. But I'm compelled to share my thoughts in light of this past week's tragic shooting of innocent movie-goers in Aurora, CO.

Every aspect of this horrifying tragedy is a stomach-churning study of an American society victimized by it's own underpinnings and yet, at every corner there are hopeful glimpses of humanity and fellowship that brings as many joyful tears as the sorrowful ones already shed.

Machinations of a madman

Whack job...
What we know (so far) is that suspected shooter, James Holmes, a disturbed 24-year old neuroscience student had entered a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises with the intent of hurting and/or killing as many people as possible on the evening of 07/19/2012. This pre-meditated attack was meticulously planned with automatic weapons, shotguns, SWAT team armor and tear gas.

When the shooting stopped and the innocents were victimized, 12 people lost their lives and scores of others were wounded in the town of Aurora, Colorado. Holmes, who was caught in the parking lot of the theater, warned police of a series of explosive traps in his apartment and as he took on the persona of "The Joker", the famed fictional antagonist of the The Batman.

The Joker? Really, dude?

Media frenzy

Almost as soon as the news of this horrible tragedy broke, the questions of gun control, the moral fabric of society and the ethics behind movies like the Batman series came under scrutiny by everyone closed-minded, misinformed, over-opinionated idiot… uh.. expert that the news outlets could muster.

Should we have better gun control laws? How can Hollywood continue to make such violent films that have obvious consequences? How can we develop ways to protect our citizens form such outbreaks in the future? If more private citizens had been carrying guns, would  this have even occurred? Should the Department of Homeland security get involved. Should we ban costumes off people attending moves and trade show?

Could we all slow down for a moment here, please?
Lack of security did not kill those people in Colorado, neither did the status of gun control legislation or even the eccentric use of costuming at a harmless fan event.  This was the deliberate, premeditated action of one mentally ill man who would have found a way to harm a large group of people one way or another. Whether it was a state fair, a Saturday at the mall or a church. It wouldn't have mattered. He was determined to hurt as many people as possible and that is the beginning, middle and end of the story. I condemn Holmes for his cowardice, I fear for this man's callous disregard for the lives of us all and I mourn for the unnecessary loss of innocent lives.

Humanity rises

Stories of waived hospital expenses for the shooting victims, the ultimate sacrifice of those who took bullets to shield loved ones and of even Warner Brothers and movie star Christian Bale stepping up to show support are heart-lifting. Mr. Bale went to visit some of the victims in Colorado hospitals. Relief funds have been set up for victims and their families and an outpouring  of sympathy and support (like this post) on behalf of all the lives this terrible act of cowardice has touched.

The wrap up

I've shared with my children that they should not be fearful of going out to the movies. We should not rely on the Department of Homeland Security to tell us what and where is safe and we should not blame comic culture for Holmes' actions. Blame a sleep-walking society who missed every cue (and there were many!) of this man's building psychosis. Blame the lack of fail-safes that were not in place to stop someone this disturbed from getting, not only tear gas, but automatic rifles and police-issue SWAT tactical armor! 

Just don't blame "The Joker" from the Batman comic books folks... he doesn't exist.

Farewell to all the souls lost and shattered lives in the wake of the shooting. You all had come out to support a fan-fiction event, one I hold near and dear to my heart. As fans, as fellow citizens and as human beings–we are all tied together and I am saddened by your lives ending when they should not have.

Godspeed to you all of you on your journey beyond this–I know there is more than just this life. My prayers and thoughts for the loved ones you have left behind. You are loved and you will be missed. 

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