The Aurora theater shooting news first came around at 5:20 a.m. today in an e-mail alert:
NATIONAL REPORT: AURORA CO: @0115 GMT AN MCI FOR 20+ GSW VICS IN THE 14000 BLOCK OF EAST ALAMEDA AVE ‘CENTURY 16 MOVIE THEATER’ RPTD GUNMAN USED TEAR GAS AND BODY ARMOR (41,AP) –
At first, I saw “Aurora” and thought immediately of our good neighbor, where I have so many friends. Then I was shocked when the news began to play out in the national media about the Colorado theater shootings.
It’s the kind of senseless violence that we’ve seen too often in recent years, and I’m sure it will call up images from Columbine and more discussion about the violence we see in films and video games. The Matrix was blamed in the Columbine case. More discussion will come in the following days on the Dark Knight series.
Locally, we’ve seen similar tragic events at Northern Illinois University, and folks in DeKalb have repeatedly and rightfully pointed out that this sort of violence can happen anywhere. The truth is, the NIU campus are as safe as any college town on Earth, but mental illness is universal, and no person or place is immune to its most-violent effects.
There’s an excellent opinion piece on Urbandale Patch by Anne Carothers-Kay, a mom whose daughter was at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises—not the one in Aurora, CO, just at the Cobblestone Theater in her hometown.
As she points out, at least a dozen people were killed and 50 injured in the shooting and tear-gas spree, and that reality “hits home” with all of us. It could just as easily have happened in Urbandale or at Charlestowne or Randall 16 here, or in Aurora, IL, instead of Aurora, CO.
“There but for the grace of God go I,” is commonly credited to John Bradford back in July of 1555.
But it was the first phrase that came to mind today, July 20, 2012.
Rick Nagel is editor of Geneva Patch.
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