July 20, 2012

A Prayer for Aurora

It is 10:07 on a Friday night, and in our culture is one of information-this-minute.  It feels like old news to talk about something that happened 22 hours ago, even though in reality the ramifications of this morning's tragedy will last years.

I had a busy day without much computer time until after the kids were in bed, and I didn't have time to think about last night's shooting at the midnight show of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado.  It is so hard to think about these things happening in the places where we are most relaxed, and where we feel safe.  At school, at work, places we are comfortable because we are there every day.  And now, at the movie theater, where we go to get away.  Christopher Nolan, director of the movie, said the following:
"The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me," Nolan said in a statement on behalf of the cast and crew of the film. "Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families."
I can imagine how devastating it would be, in much the same way it was devastating for teachers when the first school shootings started to happen.  This is his livelihood, his life, his ART, and it is painful to have this kind of mark thrown across it.

Then the kids were in bed, and a story came up in my feedreader on MamaPop.  In "The Batman Massacre And How We Grapple With Tragedy", Kristine wrote:
"At the time of this writing, there’s still very little known about the details surrounding this shooting. We do know that it happened in a packed movie theater during a midnight showing of Batman. We also know that the gunman was 24 years old and was taken, without struggle, into police custody shortly after the shooting. And we know that many people–children included–are dead, and even more–an infant included–are wounded.
And what the hell are we supposed to do with this information? Other than rage and plead and beg for it to stop?"
Honestly, what can we do?  We cannot do anything.  It is done.  For whatever reason, this young man decided to go out and murder a bunch of people, and in a setting where they felt completely safe.  He did not discriminate by age, sex, or anything.  People can argue about security, gun control, weapons control; but it seems like those who are compelled to harm in this manor will always find a way.

For whatever reason, because of the way things are, everyone has to give a quote about how sad and shocked they are, from the studio heads to the directer to others in Hollywood.  They have to worry about the trailers being shown in the theaters and be asked if they think this will affect the box office for opening weekend of their new movie.  I see the headlines and wonder how ridiculous the media can be to ask these questions, but for some people this is their livelihood.  Movie theater owners and workers, and who knows who else.  For some people, asking these questions is how they will try to push down their feelings about what's happened, they will look at the numbers and facts and forget about the emotions.

Other people will immerse themselves in debate.  Is this movie too violent?  Are movies these days too violent as a whole?  Have we become desensitized?!  Do we need more gun control?  In one comment I read, someone jokingly mentioned an Entertainment Safety Administration ala the TSA.  It seems ridiculous, but honestly, before 9/11 you could walk into the airport without much of a problem.  People will start to question and start to blame, and they will put police at the doors even though the likelihood of anything like this happening again this weekend is probably absurdly low.

In her article, Kristin ended by saying this:
"Each of us is trying to wrestle with some massive and intangible monster. Sometimes that fight looks like anger. Sometimes it looks like disillusionment. Sometimes it is simply a tremendous pile of sorrow and helplessness.  
 Let’s be gentle with each other. Let’s be self-aware and kind and do our best to shine a little extra light into a day that is so filled with darkness."
That is where my heart lies.  As human beings, it is not our job to debate about gun control, to demonize the shooter, to discuss little kids in movie theaters at midnight or to judge the situation in any number of ways, really.  It IS our job to feel compassion, to offer whatever love we have, and to hold each other up.  To help others when they need it in whatever tiny way we can.  This is not about gun control or politics, this is about people.

I can scarcely bring myself to imagine the terror of being in a movie theater by myself and having this kind of thing happen.  Let alone being in a crowded theater.  Let alone with my best friends or children, the people I love most in the world.  I cannot comprehend the horror of it.  Some of them will not be able to go out in public.  Some of them will never go to the movies again.  Some of them will need years of therapy.

Tonight I will lie awake in bed, and I will pray for the victims of the shooting.  For their peace, their eventual happiness to return.  I will send any positive thoughts and energy I have to these people, who are confused, and hurt, and terrified, and feeling things they didn't even know were possible.  I will pray for the families of the people who died.  They have lost the ones they love suddenly and tragically and violently.  I will pray for their peace, and for the ability to remember the good times, and to be left alone if that is what they want.  There are probably hundreds of people in Aurora who are currently having the worst day of their entire life, and that is... well, there are no words.  For some, it won't be, because one of the first major school shootings ever happened in Littleton, only 13 miles away.  And there are no words for that either.  No one should have to experience one tragedy like this, let alone two.

I will pray for the owner of the theater, whose workplace has been turned into a place of tragedy.  I will pray for the workers whose regular shift turned into something terrible.  For the police who had to respond, and for the EMTs and doctors and nurses who saved lives, and for those who couldn't because there was nothing they could do.

This is also not about crucifying the shooter.  I will pray for him too, because he obviously has monumental problems that I cannot imagine.  Because until more news comes out, I don't know if he is sick or crazy or has had terrible things happen to him.  I do not know why he did this, and I don't care.  He is in custody, and he cannot hurt anyone else now.  I hope that if he needs help, he gets it.  I know it won't be a comfort to anyone who was in that theater, or lives in that town, but maybe it will be to his family.  Speaking of whom, they'll be in my prayers as well.  In these cases, it seems like at some point people always decide to question and blame the parents.  How insensitive can you get?  They have lost everything too, their child, the life they had, it is all gone.  They will worry for their son, their brother, or whoever it is to them, and they will wonder how this possibly could have happened.  Before people start to blame them, they will probably wonder if they could have somehow prevented this.  They will forever be conflicted with the love and pain in their hearts over their son and the pain and desperation they will feel when thinking about the victim's and their families.  I will not judge them.  I will pray that somehow they'll find peace too.

In the end, none of this will affect my everyday life.  I don't know these people, and it is a terrible, sad, tragic event, but it will have no impact.  But for tonight, I will wonder why, and I will let myself cry and in the end I will pray.  Because it's all I can do.

1 comment:

Aimee said...

Good words. I have to believe that words help, at least help
us who write them.