On Friday, July 20, at midnight, a theater full of people in the suburbs of Denver excitedly sat down to watch the much-anticipated ending to the Dark Knight trilogy. None of them would have ever guessed it would turn into a nightmare with a gunman throwing tear gas into the room and opening fire.
With 12 people confirmed dead and 58 injured, a somber President Barack Obama said, “There will be other days for politics. This will be a day for prayer and reflection.”
While they don’t agree often, Obama’s Republican opponent Mitt Romney quickly agreed. He put aside his planned attacks on the president and wrote an entirely new speech.
Romney said, “This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another.”
While the two vying for the nation’s top seat did the right thing on Friday, so many others didn’t. The discussions became political all too quickly for my taste.
Radio shows and many others immediately started arguing over gun control, gun rights and on and on and on.
One radio personality, whom I choose not to give the satisfaction of being named, wished that someone with a concealed weapon would have been in the theater so this person would have been able to return fire.
Really? What if in the smoke-filled darkness of a chaotic theater, this concealed weapon carrier missed his target and hits an innocent victim who was just trying to get out of the suspect’s line of sight?
While the left cries for stricter gun laws, the right cries that there’s not enough of them.
In this world filled with hate-filled politics, I started feeling on Friday that the victims got lost in the battles of two parties hell bent on disagreeing on anything and everything that is brought up.
For those of us in Tucson, the shooting hits a little too close to home. We can’t forget Jan. 8, and we are still hearing the ongoing debate about what should happen to prevent these tragedies from taking place.
In the case of Jared Lee Loughner, who is accused of taking aim at the innocent victims in that Safeway parking lot on Jan. 8, he still sits in a Missouri mental health facility being pumped full of drugs so he can be deemed fit to stand trial in what likely will become a plea of insanity.
Will that be the same case with James Holmes, the man accused of taking lives and wounding dozens in Colorado? We know he dropped out of med school the day before, but with all the equipment and gun power he had, he had to have been planning his attack a lot sooner than Thursday.
Holmes’ own mother told ABC News that she wasn’t surprised to hear that her son was the culprit.
I wonder now, if like Loughner, Holmes was showing all the warning signs, but no one stepped in to help. Or, did Holmes seem sane like his neighbors and fellow medical students have stated?
We focus so much on gun control, but where is the focus on mental health? Where is the focus on stopping these people from taking lives at all? Where is legislation that prevents these tragedies altogether?
These tragedies aren’t just centered around the fact that someone owns a gun and used it to carry out a senseless attack on innocent people who just wanted to see the final Batman movie.
The politics have to be put aside and everyone needs to come to the table and look at the fact that these tragedies are becoming too common.
Those in power must look at all of these mass shootings and take every aspect into account from guns, to mental health, to where they get all of the ingredients they need to carry out such a dreadful plan.
Our society should not become fearful of attending a movie, or visiting our elected officials at a grocery store.