An early morning shooting during the midnight premiere of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises has claimed the lives of 12 people according to CNN, and injured another 59 according to the Aurora, Colo. Police Chief. The gunman walked in and opened fire after tossing tear gas into the theater crowd.
It’s unfortunate that a movie theater has become the newest place that you need to think twice about your safety, alongside high schools (Columbine), military bases (Fort Hood) and shopping malls (Toronto mall shooting).
It’s a sad part of life today that anywhere, someone might be carrying a gun (or guns), either for protection or with the intent of causing harm. I know this because I grew up in neighborhoods that weren’t the best, went to a high school where I knew people who brought guns to school almost daily and stories like the Batman shooting keep popping up. Incidents like the Batman shooting give people the idea that they need to protect themselves with guns.
Is there a solution to this madness? Not really. Safeguards like metal detectors and armed security could be added at movie theaters, but who’s to say that some nut case couldn’t just spray off in the lobby or in front of theater?
At the same time, what if someone in that theater had a concealed weapons permit? Would they have had a chance against the suspect’s body armor, tear gas, gas mask and arsenal of weapons?
It’s unknown if the suspect, identified by the Associated Press as 24-year-old James Holmes, a former medical student at the University of Colorado, purchased the weapons legally. The Aurora, Colo. police chief couldn't confirm if the weapons were purchased legally either.
At this point, I don’t believe a judgment can be made to whether stricter gun laws would have helped decrease the likelihood of this shooting.
According to a tweet from a WCBS reporter in New York City, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the gunman had his "hair painted red, said he was The Joker, and was armed with a AK-47, shotgun, hand gun and knife."
What I can say is despite the brutality of today’s shooting, live your lives normally. You cannot control when or where these shootings happen, and living a life based on fear isn’t actually living. Enjoy your weekend, keeping a vigilant eye around your surroundings (if you wish) and keeping the people and victims of the Aurora, Colo. Batman shootings in your thoughts and prayers.
Or you could live in fear, staying at home because you never know when that next big shooting will happen and missing out on “life.” Then the cowards and terrorists win.
I won’t let that happen to myself, and I hope many of you will say the same. May the victims of today’s shootings rest in peace.