Hello my friendlies,
Wow, wow, wow. I’m not even sure where to begin, really. I had such plans for the weekend, blog posts scheduled squeeing with excitement for my special giveaway coming up in a couple days . . .
And then I turned on my local news at 3:45 Friday morning.
I see a normally cheerful and smiley Kyle Dyer of my favorite news station, 9NEWS, with a grim set to her face and sadness in her eyes while she reports on a “MASS SHOOTING AT AURORA THEATER.”
What. The. H.
Immediately I was like, whaaaa? Where, which theater? See, without giving up too much of my personal information, I live on the border between the City of Aurora and the City of Denver. And Aurora, is like, huge, over 300k people and over 150 square miles consuming three different counties kind of large. It sprawls and sprawls and sprawls. There are many theaters scattered all over. But when I saw the oh-so-familiar neon sign of the Century 16 Theater, my heart sank. No! That’s like, MY theater! Hubs and I and our family have been going to that movie theater since the day it was built!
What. The. F!
And then my phone rang, my mom calling me wanting to know if my husband and I went to the movies, because she knew how anxiously I’ve been waiting to see The Dark Knight Rises, avoiding any and all internet contact that would result in spoiling the movie. My great-aunt called shortly after that, the person who cultivated my love for the silver screen during all those childhood summers spent visiting her in California, wanting to make sure that hubs and I weren’t at the movies that night. Hubs and I had chatted about wanting to go to the late night showing, but being a work night, we decided that a matinee would be best over the weekend. So it was nice to put their minds at ease that we were never in any sort of danger or anything.
As the story unfolded, I couldn’t look away from the TV. My heart hurt at the emotion in the witnesses voices as they relayed their stories, and feelings of pride surged at hearing about the courageous acts of heroism. Then, they revealed the suspect’s address off of 17th and Peoria.
What. The. DOUBLE F!
That is like, less that one mile from my house, my friendlies! I had my first ever traffic accident at that very intersection a few years ago, a lady ran a stop sign and t-boned me while I was driving home. I visit the 7-11 there for my slurpee fix. My mother-in-law works at the elementary school just up the street from there. My uncle used to shop the PX at Fitzsimmons there, my husband has visited with docs at the Anschutz Cancer center.
This tragedy didn’t occur in some far off place across the country, it happened here, in my neighborhood, near my home.
See, there are times I think I’m able to numb myself a bit to some sadness, and maybe that sounds horrible. When Columbine happened and the incident with Platte Canyon High School, those were close, I wept and felt immense sadness for those students who went to school one day and never came back home to their families. I ached for the fear those incidents created about whether kids are safe in school or not. This may sound awful, but even though I sympathized and had heartfelt emotions, Columbine and Platte Canyon High weren’t high schools I attended, I had never driven by those campuses on a daily basis, I don’t live in Littleton or Bailey. So while that tragedy impacted me because I live in the same state, I didn’t have that sense of closeness that I do right now.
I think I’m feeling that sense of hopelessness, the “Why? What was his motive?” I mean, this wasn’t a situation where violence could escalate due to alcohol or clashing opinions. This was a movie theater, a quiet place where friends and families were just looking to spend some time with each other and enjoy a flick. It’s a place where you’re supposed to kick back and relax, a place to escape reality and be entertained for a couple hours.
I’m also thinking, “What could we have done to prevent this?” and I feel so bummed that my answer is “Probably nothing.” See, in my opinion, if someone wants to cause harm to others, if that’s their intent deep in their heart to see something like this through, nothing will stop them from completing that task. Even if we banned all guns or made bullets like $500 a piece. Do we start outlawing baseball bats, tire irons, pipe wrenches, do we tie people’s hands to their sides so they don’t punch anyone to death? I don’t know, I don’t have the answers, I just feel like the bottom line is, where there is a will to do inhumane things, there is a way to make them happen. We just need to remember that a statement like that works both ways – where there is a will to do GOOD things, there is a way to make them happen.
I know there are a ton of awesome people out there, and there are just as many jerk-faced jack-asses out there, too. To me, it’s not about preventing the bad or evil things, but about how we overcome them and band together as good people to push back against the bad.
So, yeah my friendlies, that’s where my head’s been the past few days. I’ve turned to twitter a few times to try and focus on other things, tried picking up a book and even scrolled through all my friends updates on FB. But with helicopters hovering overhead, talk of all the booby traps, chemicals and incendiary devices in that apartment, well, I haven’t been able to think about much else than what’s happening down the street.
I’d like to think we had some help that day, small miracles where reports indicated his gun jammed, saving who knows how many lives. Thank the heavens that no angry neighbor upset about the loud music or members of our fine police squad clearing the building opened the door to his apartment. The suspect intended for many bad things to happen that day, I’m heartbroken for the senseless loss of life, but I’m thankful he wasn’t 100% successful in what he had planned.
Anyways, I know I don’t mention any names in this post, there’s been enough readily mentioned in the media. And yeah, my post title is kinda vague, too. I didn’t really want my footprint to fall into the mass of other better-written, or more detail oriented blog posts out there or to detract from the people who have suffered the greatest impact of all with the loss of their loved ones. I just needed an outlet to release my thoughts.
I appreciate you all for letting me deviate from the normal writerly/bookish things I like to talk about. I’ll be back on schedule soon! *hugs!*