I’m not even sure where to begin.
Early this morning, about a half hour into a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, a man allegedly used a side exit to break into a crowded theater, where he then released a smoke bomb or tear gas and opened fire with what is so far an unidentified weapon or weapons. As I write this, 12 people are dead, and at least 50 are injured. It is truly, without doubt, a tragedy.
The cable news pundits are, of course, already out in force. As are the politicians jockeying for positions that allow them to express both sympathy and blame. And as are the groups with an ax to grind, opportunistic enough to point fingers at gays, or “loners” or people who aren’t Christian enough or gun control (both for and against). Some so-called analysts are questioning the “midnight movie mentality.” Some are, callously, wondering how this despicable act will affect the movie’s performance at the box office.
It’s all ridiculous.
Here’s what matters: A lot of innocent people — men, women and, in at least one case, a young child — have been murdered. What was supposed to be a fun night out, a gathering of fans who were sharing the communal event of going to the movies and celebrating a beloved superhero, ended in senseless death and injury. A 24-year-old man, James Holmes, has been arrested for the crime and, thankfully, seems to have acted alone.
It strikes me how true that is; whatever his reasons, whatever twisted excuse he has, Holmes’ actions are his, and his alone. Batman didn’t make him do it. Violent films didn’t make him do it. Whatever politically expedient or fringe cause anyone wants to promote didn’t make him do it. Just one person, in a spasm of violence, created this situation, which has rippled from Aurora, Colorado out to a horrified world.
Over the hours, days and weeks to come, the picture will come into focus. We’ll have answers to the questions that are now flying by in a blur. But we’ll probably never really understand. How could we?
All we can do now is all we can ever do that makes any kind of difference — be kind. Be supportive. Be human. And, in that small way, be a hero. We can use some.