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 Columbine. What’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.
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.