|The Century 16 in Aurora, CO|
A movie theater is a place where you are supposed to be able to escape the horrors of real life for a couple of hours. The lights dim, you sit back and (hopefully) enjoy 90 or more minutes of escapism, far from the madding crowd...
But early this morning, at 2:39 AM Eastern Time, a madman (identified as James Holmes, a former med student, originally from San Diego) opened fire on a Colorado audience who were enjoying the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises, the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Holmes was quickly apprehended and reportedly told police "I'm the Joker." When police went to Holmes' apartment, they found it booby-trapped with "incendiary devices." As of this writing, a motive for Holmes' actions has yet to established (or at least, announced). Neighbors describe Holmes as "a loner."
I already have tickets to see TDKR for tomorrow night, along with D; K; Q and Dale. We're seeing it at an AMC, which has announced that they have instituted a new policy prohibiting costumes, masks and replica weapons. Personally, I'm not scared. Just as I wasn't scared to go to McDonald's after the 1984 incident in San Ysidro or enter a high school after the 1999 shooting spree at Columbine. Nor did I stop attending public events after Senator Gabrielle Giffords was gunned down in 2011.
Yes, these were all horrible, terrible, evil events. But I can't allow the actions of a few lunatics to stop me from living my life. Terrible, random things happen all the time. Auto accidents; earthquakes; tsunamis; tornadoes; hurricanes; floods; wildfires; lightning strikes; falling trees; terrorists flying airliners... the list goes on and on. And yes, they are all awful and tragic and very sad. But that's just life. Now, I don't want you to think that Uncle P is a callous bastard who doesn't empathize with the victims of such tragedies. Quite the opposite, in fact. My heart is broken every time I hear about something like this. So many futures cut short; so many families torn apart; so many loved ones lost.
But we can't live our lives in fear. Hell, if I worried about everything that could kill me, I might never leave my house. And what good does that do anyone? I could fall down the stairs or slip in the shower or get electrocuted by a faulty lamp. Broken toes or arrests for public lewdness only serve to prove that we are alive. Face it - the worst thing that is ever going to happen to you is going to happen, no matter what. Whether it's at the hands of lunatic or while asleep in our own beds, there is no escaping the inevitable.
Keep going to the movies. Keep riding roller coasters. Keep sky-diving. Truly live your life as though today is the last, because it very well may be. But never stop planning for the future. A life lived in fear is no life at all.
I'll post my review of The Dark Knight Rises as soon as I get home tomorrow night.