Before I begin, let me start out by saying that my prayers go out to the victims, their families, and any of the witnesses. Okay, let's begin:
What happened today was tragic. A lunatic ran into a theater in Colorado and started shooting people for no apparent reason. It appears that he had painted his hair red and was claiming to be "The Joker." He also had tons of explosives in his car and apartment. As of 3:09 pm Arrowhead time there are 12 confirmed deaths. This whole scenario is tragic and really pulls at the heart strings. While I was not there (I live in Iowa) it really made me stop and think this morning knowing that I was at the same premiere at the same time. Could it have happened to me? This tragedy will be remembered for a long time and will raise many questions: Could it have been prevented? Should theaters screen people? etc. This post is not about those. As the day has gone on and I read more and more about this, I realized that there were somethings that people needed to be reminded of in the face of such events. Please follow me after the jump...
1. Watch out for internet trolls: A friend of mine showed me some posts on Reddit this morning about a girl claiming to be a witness to the attack. While it is possible she is telling the truth I wanted to remind people to be careful when you come across such things. We all want to help out and be supportive in any way possible, unfortunately there are people out there that will take advantage of this. Am I saying don't be supportive? No, but please be careful and watch for red flags.
2. Don't let this ruin your movie going experience: While tragic, events like this are few and far between. Please do not let this prevent you from watching The Dark Knight Rises or any other movie. Movies are created to bring enjoyment, don't let him take that away.
3: Bad guys want attention and power: This kind of goes along with the above. Again, this event is tragic but do not let it change you. By not attending movies and fostering hate you are allowing this man to control you and your emotions. While it is perfectly acceptable to feel, DO NOT let them get the best of you.
4. Emotional responses tend to end negatively: You may be wondering what I mean by this. I am not referring to your feelings of anger, scared, shock, etc. but rather our reaction as a society to this event. Right now we are angry, sad, etc. and our responses to punishment will reflect that. This is bad and will probably make things worse. We all need to work through our feelings but make rational, not emotionally motivated decisions regarding how to deal with this situation and how to possibly prevent it in the future.
5. Crimes will happen unfortunately: All the best tools and people in the world will not be able to prevent all crime, it is just not possible. While there are many ways to deter and limit crime, we must be realistic about our expectations. People will kill. People will steal. We will create a deterrent. Criminals will adapt. It is a never ending, but essential cycle. While we would not wish death upon anybody, there may not have been a way to prevent what happened last night. The responsibility of last night falls squarely on the shooter and nobody else.
6. One mans tool is another mans weapon (<actual quote from the movie btw..): I am not going to get into whether we need stricter gun laws or not. I just want to remind people that while the weapon used was a gun, the shooter could have chosen any other weapon, like a bomb for an example.
7. Crime can happen anywhere: This is not to scare you but to remind you that, while it happened in Colorado, it could just as easily have happened [insert your town here.] Again, don't let this scare you but use it to remind you of what you do have and to be thankful that it didn't/doesn't happen [insert your town here.]
8. Be thankful for what you have: You would think this is a no brainer but I realized last night how much of my life I take for granted. I went to the Batman premiere with my younger brother for his birthday. I thought nothing of it. I was going to go, tell my brother happy birthday, and then go home to my wife and 3 month old daughter. This morning though as I looked at the news headlines, I realized that it just as easily could have been my theater. I gave my wife and daughter a huge hug and kiss this morning because, while I am expecting to go home to them everyday, I never know when something like this will happen.
We are all Chiefs fans. We hate the Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers. We root until we have no voice for our team to win. But that is not all we are. We are humans, living together in a world that is getting more and more cramped. I know this sounds lame but we need to work together and learn to deal with our problems and help each other, even if they happen to be a Bronco fan. I know that after last night, while my life isn't going to change, I gained a new perspective. I will definitely be holding my wife and daughter a little closer. Thank you for reading this and I hope every one heals from this horrible event.