I’ve been living in movie theatres these last few days. It’s the sort of hysteria I live for. I could have seen The Dark Knight Rises earlier, and I waited. I waited because I didn’t want to see a movie I so looked forward to in a room full of press. I wanted to see it with my friends, my family, with an audience: a collective group of human beings all gathered to share a moment in time in a cultural ritual we’ve celebrated for almost a century. We shuffle in with our popcorn, our candy and yes, our cell phones. We’re families, friends, lovers, strangers, and we’re there to celebrate not only our entertainment, but our communities. And no matter how much we tire of the chatter, the texting, the crunch of popcorn, it’s a beautiful part of who we are.
And last night in Aurora, Colorado, a very sick human being tainted all of that.
I don’t know how things will change; I just know that they will. It could be minor – it could be that a mother thinks twice about letting her son or daughter go to a midnight showing with their friends. Or it could be significant – patdowns, metal detectors, security.
The headlines will read “Batman Massacre,” “Movie Massacre,” “Dark Knight Rises Movie Massacre,” and it’s not that. It’s just a massacre. Senseless and heinous. And it’s not video games, it’s not media, it’s not violence in our movies. It’s a disease so rotten and an impurity so deeply rooted that evil doesn’t seem like the appropriate word. It’s a sickness. And if you’re here and if you read sites like this one, that same sickness was just imposed on something we’ve all loved, celebrated, and have taken for granted for our entire lives. Our community has been shaken.
There will be time for finger pointing, for blaming, for magazine covers and an endless glurge of talking heads to try and make sense of it all on our televisions. We can’t. We never have. There’s no answer to this. Only sickness.
My thoughts and prayers and, I’m certain, your thoughts and prayers are with the victims and those affected by this awful tragedy. I’ll find myself in a movie theatre later tonight, I usually do. And for the first time in my life, my mind will be in a theatre far removed from the one I’m sitting in. Because a horrible thing happened in our community last night, and we can’t find any answers for it.