There are rituals of death we know in life. Words to say when a loved one dies, for a friend who has lost a parent, to a co-worker recouping from surgery, to a child who has lost a pet. We have etiquette for funerals, wakes and repasts. We hold to moments of faith until doctors tell us the hope is lost in the face of machine stats. We remember dates. We stand in solemn silence with candles lit. We circle up and sing songs of praise.
We are no longer surprised by moments bursting with terror. We know that a bomb planted in a truck parallel parked near a building will blast destruction. That planes can be hijacked weapons filled with fuel and hundreds of lost lives. We know that towers built into the sky can fall. That a sniper can hold a city hostage and pick off targets at will. That buildings for learning can be changed into rooms and halls of horror.
Once again we find ourselves starting the rituals again. Seventy shot at a “The Dark Knight Rises” movie premiere in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve are dead. Fifty-eight others were injured. Countless others are roaming around in shock that will morph to survivor’s guilt or depression or anger. We aren’t standing in awe or shock that something like this could happen. We admit that it has been a distant thought at times. Malls, mega churches, amusement parks and, yes, theaters are all “soft targets.” They are places where the element of freedom to come and go without suspicion or search still exists. They are places where we gather in the spirit of relaxation and joy.
What will change now? With each attack, each swing of mass violence, we lose an element of ourselves. AMC theaters say they will ban dressing up in costumes and bringing in fake weapon props. Will we move next into metal detectors and bag searches? Conveyor belt checkpoints on every entrance? Guards on the exit doors? What will be too little or too much? Where does it end?
May the light of the heavens shine upon all their souls:
- Alexander (A. J.) Boik –Eighteen year old A. J. just graduated from high school and worked as an independent distributor for a coffee company.
- Alex Sullivan – He was celebrating his 27th birthday by going to the premiere and his one year wedding anniversary was two days later.
- Alex Teves – Alex, 24, recently graduated from the University of Denver with a master degree in counseling psychology.
- Gordon Cowden – At 51, he was the oldest victim, and was a divorced father of four who worked as a real estate appraiser.
- Jesse Childress – The 29-year-old was an Air Force Staff Sgt. Reservist on active duty.
- Jessica Ghawi – This 24-year-old had recently survived the Toronto Eaton Centre mall shooting.John Larimer – A Navy man, this 27-year-old immediately knew the danger of what was occurring and threw himself over his girlfriend to protect her life.
- Jonathan Blunk – This 26-year-old had spent five years in the Navy and later Saturday was to fly to Reno to see his wife, daughter and son.
- Matt McQuinn – Matt, 27, also died trying to provide cover for his girlfriend.
- Micayla Medek – A student of general studies at Community College of Aurora, she is described as very spiritual by friends and family.
- Rebecca Wingo – This 35-year-old had attended Aurora Community College as well as worked for the U.S. Air Force.
- Veronica Moser – The youngest victim at six, she was spending the summer learning how to swim.
How has the attack on the movie theater premiere made you rethink your personal safety? What are your thoughts on our level of protection protocols for “soft targets”? How has violence touched your life?
Other Related News:
- This article addresses a question many are asking: Can We Feel Safe in a Crowd Anymore?
- Theater Shooting Unfolds in Real Time on Social Media