Today is usually my day to write about movies, and the one I was planning to write about was the anticipation that my family had of seeing the new Batman movie. Then I woke up and saw the news.
A masked gunman killed 12 people at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in a suburb of Denver early on Friday, sparking pandemonium when he hurled a gas canister into the auditorium and opened fire on moviegoers.
About fifty others including children were wounded in the attack on the showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in a mall in the Aurora suburb, some of whom were treated for the effects of tear gas, hospital officials said.
“This is a horrific event,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told a news conference, adding that a suspect was taken into custody in the parking lot behind the theater. He had initially put the death toll at 14, but a spokesman later told NBC the toll had been revised to 12.
Then I listened to my president.
“Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time,” …”As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family.”
I then realized my son “Z-man” had woken up earlier than us adults, and he had been watching TV. Of course he had seen. As you can imagine, the next thing that happened was…
Mommy, what happened to the kids at the Batman movie?
Thoughts raced through my head about how to respond. Should I tell him the facts? Should I tell him that it’s so far away it doesn’t matter to him? Should I tell him it’s all a dream, and you didn’t see a thing? Hmmm. In about 2 seconds flat I came up with an answer.
There was a bad man who did something really mean. The kids are sick, but their parents will take good care of them, just like I take care of you when you get hurt.
Of course the next question is…
When we go to the movie, could this happen to us?
Hmmm, what to respond. Of course it could happen to us, anything CAN happen, but a 7 year old doesn’t understand the world in this way of million in one chances. What are the chances of us being in a movie theater and something like this happening, likely very slight at best. The other thoughts that pop in my head are of how regulations may change when it comes to going to a movie. Will they start making people go through a metal detector? Will they turn the lights up a little bit more so we can see what is happening in that dark space? Will there be cameras? What will this do to the motion picture industry?
However, with all of those thoughts bubbling up in my head, I told him…
I didn’t explain it further, and I was happy that he just accepted the “no” and went on about his business…..but will the world end up going on about its business? I don’t think so.
Situations like these create fear, which is exactly what the gunman wants…. he wants fear. Situations like this create panic, which is exactly what the gunman wants… he wants panic. Situations like this create over-reactions…. which is what the gunman wants… reaction.
What the gunman doesn’t want is for everyone to pull together, to comfort those who were hurt, to alert parents to have conversations with their children about how important it is to treat others well, and to respect society and its basic expectations. He wants us to be curious about him, but instead I suggest we tune into those around us. We give our support to those who were hurt, we give time to our children and have difficult conversations… watching their behaviors and addressing them (even if they are an adult) trying to ensure we raise decent, kind, loving human beings to set upon this world.
And… I suggest we go to the movies. All of us. Tonight. Go to the movies, in droves. Grab your friends, your neighbors, your family and go to the movies and show the world that we will not be afraid. And… send up a prayer/thought/good mojo/good vibes (whatever floats your boat) to the creator/allah/God/big purple triangle in the sky (my childhood belief) for the families of the 12 who were killed, the 50 who were injured, and for the mother who is grieving the son she remembered when he was little… never imagining back then that someday he could do something like this. She needs our prayers too.
Thanks for reading…
Her last tweet… “Of course we’re seeing Dark Knight. Redheaded Texan spitfire, people should never argue with me.Maybe I should get in on those NHL talks…” – then a few back and forths with a friend.
It’s hard now to re-read her blog post about another near-tragic shooting where she was present… just sad. Here’s the link, however for those who would like to read. She wrote it just over a year ago.
Her brother, Jordan Ghawi has a blog as well, and he did a post. Please read it too. Denver theater shooting: Jessica Ghawi