Lessons from the Aurora Theater Massacre

We’ve all heard the tragic story by now. Early Friday morning, a gunman opened fire on the audience at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colorado, killing at least 14 and wounding more. It’s hard to respond to news such as this because it hits each and every one of us close to home. Each of us goes to the movies, and many of us watched Batman at midnight last night at our own local theaters. It’s difficult to imagine that something so awful could happen on such a seemingly normal occasion.

Photo by R.J. Sangosti, The Denver Post.

I can’t help but be reminded of the aftermath of September 11th. Regardless of politics, religion, or any other form of difference, America stood as one country on that date in the face of loss. Now, we see this again as the media shows an outpouring of love and support for the victims and their families. The optimist in me seeks out the opportunity in this-maybe we can get through this as a nation. Maybe this will serve as a reminder that life is fragile and beautiful and that we cannot take one second of it for granted. We all know that, but we forget it. Maybe instead of allowing the many lives lost in Aurora last night be in vain, we can use this as an opportunity for growth. Cokie Roberts, contributing senior news analyst for NPR News summarizes my thoughts on this well. Though he is referring to 9/11, this can really be applied to any sudden loss of life.

“The moment to spend with a husband who loves me, or a sick friend, or a delicious new grandchild is here and now. Not some time later …. The nation learned this lesson all at once that horrible day in September 2001. The pictures stay with us — the fires and falling debris, and, most hauntingly, the faces. Look how young so many of them were, people who thought there would be much more time, a lot of ‘later’ when they could do all the things they really wanted to do. I grieve for their families — especially for those, like me, who haven’t found any trace of the people they loved. But I grieve even more for the people who died that day. They couldn’t know what we know now about the precious gift of time.”

Cherish your life. Cherish those around you. And don’t forget what is important in your communities and in this country. That is what I am reminded today. What have you learned from the Aurora shooting?

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