A Coloradan’s Thoughts On The Aurora Shooting

I’ve been writing a Facebook series and I struggled the last 36 hours with whether I should release the post, or write something about my thoughts on the Aurora shooting, or just wait a few days.  In the end, I decided to write something, because that’s what I do, and the experts say that talking about something that bothers you can be cathartic.

I didn’t hear anything of the shooting until I got a text late Friday morning (I’d been up late so I slept late).  A grad-school acquaintance from Oklahoma said she didn’t have time to talk, but asked if I was in Aurora.  I texted back no.  Then I turned on the TV and saw what had happened.  I watched, getting the details.  As the story emerged, another thought, a horrific thought, went through my mind.  A friend of mine said he was taking his kids to the midnight showing of Batman.  I quickly called him and left a message.  Thankfully, he texted back a bit later and said he and the kids were fine, they were at a different theater.  Waiting for that text took too long.

Most of the time we say we can’t imagine what the families are going through.  In this case, I sort of can.  About 15 years ago, my cousin was killed in a small-plane crash outside of Aspen, Colorado.  But we didn’t get confirmation of this for almost 24 hours after the plane went missing.  It was terrible, realizing that the plane had most likely gone down, that the four people on board were probably killed…and yet holding out that little piece of hope.  Watching the news.  Waiting overnight.  And then the hope is dashed.  I feel for those family members of the Aurora victims…and I pray for them.

The Aurora shooting was a senseless act, dare I say it, by a coward.  To do this to innocent people…I can’t come up with the words…

Other thoughts raced through my mind as these awful events played out.  Oh, no – another Columbine.  Not again.  I don’t know if this happens to other people, but for me, the second I hear about Columbine, especially in this type of context, I think to where I was when I heard about the Columbine shooting: at work.  People started coming around the office: did you hear, there’s been a shooting at ColumbineWhat’s going on?  Who’s there?

I lived within a few miles of Columbine (still do).  It was a rival school when I was in high school.  You start wondering, was anyone I know in there?  And you wait and watch the news.  Some young people from my church were victims.  I went to the makeshift memorial a few days after the shooting, stunned, speechless.

At church that Sunday, the pastor got up to speak.  He talked about going out to the memorial with his daughter.  He said afterward, they were sitting in the car, waiting at a red light and his daughter asked him: Daddy, why are you so sad?  As he looked at his parishioners, he said I was just waiting at the light, but that’s what my daughter saw.  He went on to talk about the tragedy, and he said he didn’t know why this happened.  None of us did.  We went about, not knowing what to say or do.  The stories emerged, over and over…courage, grace, love, sacrifice…

And we don’t know why these things happen.  To say I’m angry is an understatement.  I am angry at the ___ who did this (I was going to say man, but he’s not a man, really).  I am angry at the violence in this world.  I wish this hadn’t happened again in my city.  I echo the sentiments of our governor: Denver, and Colorado, are beautiful.  It’s a wonderful place to live.  It’s too bad senseless acts might tarnish that.

I pray for the victims, their family and friends, the first responders and the various departments that came to the rescue.  I am thankful for the people who are rallying around all of them now.  I hope and pray that this kind of senseless violence will stop.  I will go to church, for comfort, for prayer.  And we there in the sanctuary will know that we don’t know why…

I don’t know how to end this post.  I was striving for words that could tie this into something related to writing, but really, how can one?  It doesn’t make sense.  It’s tragic.  Maybe the best thing I can say is that stories from the victims, their families and friends will emerge, and they will be more meaningful than anything I can write.

Thank you.


It’s ironic that after I finished this post, I read Rob Guthrie’s post, and he read mine.  He decided to link to mine, and I am doing the same to his.  He is a fellow Coloradan and wrote what’s in his heart, and some of the comments are thought-provoking as well.  It’s worth a read.  Thanks.

About Renée Pawlish

Award-winning author Renée Pawlish writes the bestselling horror book, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the Reed Ferguson mystery series, short stories and non-fiction ghost stories.
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14 Responses to A Coloradan’s Thoughts On The Aurora Shooting

  1. So well said, Renee, that I am going to update my blog to link back to yours. I was wrong. There are words, and you’ve written them here. Thank you for that. Rob

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thank you, I appreciate it. Your post has an eloquence of its own, as do the comments. I will also link to yours as I think it’s important that we, as human beings, express ourselves, share, mourn, and move on.

  2. Carrie Green says:

    Renee, Thanks for putting into words what many of us are feeling. I’m from the Chicago area, but we had the Brown’s Chicken murders which will flashback to me when these sort of horrible tragedies occur. I remember how I struggled with my emotions about the unfairness of sudden violence that targets innocent people who are just going about their lives–9/11, Columbine and this recent case, brings it all back too vividly. There is never a good reason, or an easy answer, and time does not heal these wounds. We go forward, because that is our only choice, but I know that I’ll feel sad and angry for a long time.

  3. An insightful and poignant reflection Renee. It is, in aftermath so hard to articulate thought and feeling towards such a tragedy but it is because of your courage to reflect that we can start a conversation that is measured and thoughtful.

  4. Robbi Bryant says:

    I agree. Your post echoes the sentiment of most of us. There are no words to express the deepest grief we as a nation share.

  5. Well done, Renee. There is nothing more difficult than attempting to capture in words the experience of grief and disbelief that follows such tragedy. You are brave and caring to have done so.

  6. Thanks Renée for sharing your feelings and expressing them so well. I can see in the comments how what you’ve said has resonated with your readers and they certainly have with me – even though I live very far, on the other side of the “pond” (in Italy actually). Here in Europe we are aghast and attribute this kind of thing to the laxity of American gun laws though that is probably an erroneous view: after all, it was in sober, law-abiding Norway, that some of the worst killing rampage ever occurred, I’m referring to that madman who killed 79 kids last summer on that island summer camp (I forget the name of the place). Dreadful!

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      This kind of senseless violence, anywhere, is inexplicable, and it’s hard to know how to stop, or slow it. It’s been difficult here in Colorado with the record-breaking heat and drought, wildfires, and now this, but we will get through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Julia Kovach says:

    I found your words honest and heartfelt and I thank you for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us. I had goose bumps the entire time I read your blog. Your words were quite adequate. Thank you. xoxo

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