Posted by: ritagone | July 25, 2012

Here We Go Again…

Everyone of course has been glued to the television screen since the horrible and senseless shooting massacre in Aurora, Colorado on, of all dates, Friday the 13th of July.

There’s always that conflict one feels when things like this happen – and they happen way too often, don’t they? – that conflict that says: Don’t give the person or the people who did it public recognition, because that’s what they’re looking for, after all, and Tell us more, tell us more, because we need to have every dreadful little detail of the events as they unfurl and are dug up.  Interviews, research, endless talking heads giving endless opinions as to why it happened, more interviews to fill air space while waiting for the next important piece of news to happen: a report from an official, a statement from the bewildered family, a relative of someone cut down in the prime of life.

It’s all too familiar and all too horrific.

Then the on-going debate roars: gun control, no gun control.  That argument rages for a few weeks, with lots of political posturing, especially when something happens in an election year, as is the case right now, then everything settles down again…until the next time.  It’s as predictable as a new Kardashian clothing line or Emmy nominations for 14 HBO series.

The weird connection for me with Aurora, Colorado is this: when my children were little, my in-laws lived in Aurora, and I would take them there to visit their grandparents often.  I’m not sure where this movie theater is in relation to where they used to live over 30 years ago, but it’s still strange to associate Aurora with this kind of heinous event instead of happy times at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  I’m sure for many this feeling is the same: a pleasant connection with Aurora, Colorado has now been shattered forever.  Because, like so many places before it that have been tarnished by a horrific maniac’s actions, not only people are damaged.  Places carry stigmas for a long time too.

Or a pleasant connection with midnight movie-going.  I wonder how many people will not go to movies at midnight anymore because of this, not that this is a big deal, but just something to think about.  (Or how many people have already decided they will not go to movies, malls, sporting events, concerts, or anywhere large crowds congregate, JUST TO BE SAFER.)  I remember when the first Star Wars movie came out, we dragged our kids to the midnight premiere along with friends and their kids in order to be among the first to see the much-anticipated film.  It never occurred to us that we might lose our lives in so doing, just as I’m sure it never occurred to the people at the Century 16 complex in Aurora a week ago Friday.

Where doesn’t your mind go in trying to figure this all out?  What don’t you talk about, analyze, dissect?  If you’re like me, you’ve spent an inordinate amount of time talking about this event, even though you probably don’t have any connection to anyone involved.  You’re a spectator only, and for that you (and I) are tremendously grateful.  At least this time.

Because, let’s face it, another thought that does go through everyone’s mind is this:  When might this happen to me?  Where could I be when a shooter or a suicide bomber or a person with a knife runs amok?  When will it be my turn to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

And yet…

I certainly don’t mean to minimize the tragedy for those who have lost a loved one in this horror, but we always must cling to the positive even more when the negative seeks to overwhelm us.  And in this case, there are plenty of positives, examples of heroism, of boyfriends throwing themselves bravely in front of girlfriends, of parents instinctively doing the right thing to protect their small children, Batman forgotten, enjoyment and pleasure forgotten, the only gut-reaction: Get my child to safety in the midst of something happening that is dark and dangerous.  This is also free will, when people ask.  This is also God at work, when people ask, because those questions start immediately, the God blaming, the questions meant to hurt God’s reputation or ability, as if He stood outside the theater and waited for everyone to be seated, for the lights to be dimmed so that He could start shooting.

Free will works both ways.

It allows evil, but it also allows amazing good.

And when you need to see a miracle in all of this in Aurora, look no further than Petra Anderson, who was “gifted” with a particular brain formation that allowed her to survive a shot that went up her nose and into her cranium to the back of her skull.  The shot probably should have killed her…but it didn’t because of a birth defect that Petra would most likely never have noticed or known about, a small channel of fluid running through her skull, at the exact point of entry of the shot and which was only discovered during surgery!  Miraculously, she is expected to recover fully.

You could easily and confidently say that God had prepared Petra in the womb for July 13, 2012, knowing that a madman would take a shot at her.  And maybe those bullets that lodged in her arm and the one in her brain saved someone else’s life from being ended.  Just maybe that too was a miracle.

There are many more such miraculous stories, perhaps as many as the horrific ones.

In a town and in our culture right now that needs to see some positive and some good, let’s hope we hear as many of the miracles as of the sad ones, while not degrading the memory of those who were senselessly gunned down.  Perhaps this is the best way to honor them: to not let the killer win by catering to the negative all around us but emphasizing instead what still remains glorious and wonderful.


  1. What will I remember about this article?

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