I’ve been wrestling all day with this morning’s news of the shooting that occurred during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado. It’s been hard for me to articulate my feelings on the subject. Like everyone else, the attack has left me shocked and saddened, but it’s more than that. I feel, even though I’ve never met anyone involved, almost personally affected by it. And I think, due largely to a point made here, that I’ve figured out why.
When James Holmes opened fire last night, shooting 71 and killing 12, he did so in a movie theatre, at a midnight showing, of a comic book movie. A place so many of us were last night, so many of had been on so many nights before.
He came into our house, and attacked our people. The people that stay out to 3AM on a weeknight because they want to be the first people to see a movie. Film fans, geeks, us. Whether we knew them personally or not, these were our friends, our family.
Already today people on both sides of the aisle are trying to politicize this tragedy. This morning ABC News made the mistake of connecting the shooter to the Tea Party, a mistake which quickly drew the ire of conservatives, some of whom inexplicably blamed the shooting on the president. There are people saying that if Aurora, CO allowed concealed-carry permits then someone in the theatre would have stopped Holmes… who was reportedly wearing a bullet-proof vest. There are people saying that this means we need tighter gun control laws, though we don’t yet know if his guns were bought legally or not. [edit – We now know they were bought legally.]
This is not the time for that.
Now is the time for us to send our thoughts and condolences to the victims’ families, and as part of their larger family of geeks and film-lovers to stand up and not let this dampen that love of cinema.
If you were planning to go to the movies tonight, go. See a great film. See a terrible one. It doesn’t really matter. The movie theatre is our home and we cannot let the actions of one man take it away from us.