For a week, the media has been trying to make sense of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. A theater of people out for a fun night at a movie premier, a deranged gunman with no specific agenda. It was a deadly combination, and one that defies explanation.
That doesn't mean it doesn't invite comment. It seems that everyone has weighed in with an idea on what might have made the outcome different last Thursday night.
The anti-gun folks have claimed that more restrictive gun laws would have prevented James Holmes from going on his rampage. That's an empty argument, as Holmes followed all laws, had no restrictions on his right to purchase and own guns, and had exhibited no behavior that would have alerted anyone that he might be a person of risk.
The pro-gun folks have put forth that if the audience had been armed with weapons, they would have been able to defend themselves. This is also an empty argument, as it was a darkened theater, filled with smoke from devices tossed in by Holmes, who was wearing body armore. The chances of even more innocent bystanders having been injured or killed would have gone through the roof in such a dangerous situation.
James Holmes is one of the scariest types of killers. Someone who, from all accounts, led a very normal, very stable life. Not particularly noteworthy for any reason, good or bad. Intelligent. Courteous. Well behaved. No strange obsessions or hatreds. Nothing posted online that could have indicated a change in his demeanor.
Over the years, I've never been particularly fond of horror films. When I do watch them, I have less of a problem if the villian is some type of strange alien or mutant creature, as I know that this is a complete fiction. I do not enjoy watching horror films at all when the villian is a normally appearing person who suddenly becomes evil. That hits too close to home, and is within the realm of the possible, even if it is also unthinkable.
Over the next few weeks, I feel quite sure that we're going to learn even more about James Holmes. We'll know if something occurred to cause him to slip the bonds of sanity and become a monster. We'll learn if there were other events that occurred prior to the theater event. We'll know more about him than we will about any of the victims, and somehow, that just isn't right.
Much like the victims of the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon plane crash, the Aurora victims need to be identified, talked about and remembered. When we hear stories about the heroism of some people in the theater, it helps us cope with such events that have no reason or rhyme. When we learned that the passengers on Flight 93 decided to stop their plane from its intended target and that they rallied together around the call of "Let's roll," it gave us hope that we can have some bit of control in horrible situations, that we can make a difference.
And we do make a difference. Every day, in everything that we do.
We remain aware of the people around us, and we offer them our hand and our ear when they need it. We allow ourselves to recognize cruelty and hatred and then we refuse to accept it, in any situation. We encourage our friends and acquaintances to seek spiritual guidance and direction, and we offer them assistance in finding those things they need without judging them for their failures.
We do it by not letting events like the Aurora shooting being the only thing we remember. Instead, we remember Johnathan Blunk, Jessica Ghawi, Alex Sullivan and Rebecca Wingo, four of the Aurora victims. We remember that they had rich, full lives that were cut short much too soon; but, we celebrate the contributions they made to their families, their friends and their coworkers. We honor their memories, and we refuse to allow monsters to rule our lives.
And we prosecute James Holmes according to all the laws and rules of our society. As distasteful as it seems, we allow him the chances he gave none of his victims, and we emerge the better for having not allowing him to change us for the worse.
It’s all just my opinion.