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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In Memory of Those Who Died in Aurora, Colorado, at the showing of The Dark Knight Rises

Danny and I went and saw The Dark Knight Rises on Saturday.  It was awesome!  I saw the teaser trailer a while ago, but I hadn't seen any other trailers before seeing the film, so I didn't have many expectations when I walked in the theater.  It was great, I would love to see it again.  (And if I looked like Anne Hathaway, I would wear that cat suit every day!)

When we got to the theater it was about 15 minutes before the 1:00 showing.  We figured we'd get in to the one after that, which was at 2:35; we expected to be at the theater for at least an hour before seeing the movie since it was opening weekend of one of the most anticipated movies of the year.  However, when we went up to the box office the employee informed us that there was still plenty of room in the showing that started in just fifteen minutes; out of 300 seats, only about 50 had been sold.

We were a little surprised.  Then we realized the reason it must have been so barren: the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.

It's hard to put into words the feelings that come from hearing about this terrible event.  Senseless violence and murder are something I can never wrap my head around.  I just can't understand why someone would want to inflict that kind of pain on another living person.

When the movie started, I was imagining what it must have been like for them: sitting there, enjoying an evening with friends and about to see a film I'm sure they were all looking forward to, when someone comes in and starts shooting.  These were people with hopes, dreams, families, expectations, goals, and so much ahead of them, and it was all taken away in the blink of an eye.  My heart goes out to the victims, their families, friends, and the survivors from the theater.

One time, in a group of friends, someone asked us all what we would do if we only had two minutes left to live.  Most people responded with things like "fight to the death so I can live!" and "call 9-1-1!" and asked questions like "what am I dying from? Can I find a cure before I die?  Am I close to a hospital?"  My response was simple: "If I had just a few minutes left to live, I would think of all the things that made me happy."

In the wake of this shocking catastrophe, there have been a lot of people calling for stricter gun laws and more government control.  People are throwing out statistics about how many gun-related deaths there are every year.  The truth is, getting rid of guns won't be what makes the difference.  They're simply a tool, not the mastermind behind the crime.  If a person wants to inflict harm on another, they're not going to just say "Hmm, I don't have a gun.  Oh well, guess I can't do anything to hurt them."  They'll find other means; they'll use another tool.  Tighter gun laws isn't going to change how people feel, and it isn't going to stop violence- it'll just make it so that the only people who have guns are the ones who acquire them illegally.

To back up my statement there, consider this: when alcohol was illegal during the Prohibition (1920-1933), it is estimated that alcohol consumption remained at about 60%-70% of what it was pre-Prohibition (source).  That means that out of 100 people who drank alcohol before the Prohibition, there was around 70 who still regularly consumed alcohol while it was illegal.  That's just an estimation, so it's likely that it could be higher.  Take a look at marijuana: it's illegal (a few states allow it for medicinal purposes only, but no state allows it for recreational use), and yet it's estimated that almost half of the population uses it regularly.  If people want something, legal or not, they can get it.

So what's the solution?  I'm not sure, really.  The easy answer is that the solution to violence is love and kindness, but I have no idea how to implement that on a national scale.  Maybe the solution is to just do what we can as individuals to show kindness to all others; kindness is contagious, and it spreads fast.

Of course, some people, like James Holmes, just aren't stable.  No person in their right mind would do such a thing to other people.

My heart and thoughts go out to all affected by this.

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