You just never know

From the Washington Post

It was probably the only thing that could’ve overshadowed the opening weekend of the most anticipated movie this summer would be some kind of freak massacre.

Which is exactly what happened on Thursday at the midnight premiere of “Dark Knight Rises,” the last of the Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan, in Aurora, Colo.

The suspect, James E. Holmes, a 24-year-old doctorate student, dressed all in black and wearing a gas mask and bulletproof vest, opened fire in the theater with three weapons, killing 12 and injuring 58. The tragedy made news around the world and, even on Sunday night, still dominates online sites, TV news and blogs.

While the number of people killed — and the stories behind them — make this crime horrific, it’s really the location and profile of the alleged gunman that have people shocked and worried.

Holmes is smart, normal, with no criminal record save for a speeding ticket. He had no history of torturing animals or writing death threats on Facebook walls. He could’ve been that guy next door, the one standing in line behind you at Foodland — or the one you sat next to in a crowded theater on the midnight premiere of “Dark Knight Rises.”

And the location was just as disturbing. A movie theater. A place where people go to escape exactly these kinds of abhorrent things. A place where families go, friends go, couples go. It’s the last place you’d expect something like this to happen.

I find myself completely obsessed with news coverage, mainly on the suspected gunman. And for precisely the reasons I’ve listed above.

You hear criminal psychologists talk about the common traits of serial killers and mass murderers. Well, this guy didn’t exhibit them, and that’s what makes this whole tragedy that much more disturbing.

You just never know.


I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose someone in such a needlessly violent way, and my heart goes out to all the survivors, the families, everyone who’s been affected by this tragedy. Know that the world is thinking about and praying for you, even the folks in Hawaii.

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3 Responses to “You just never know”

  1. David Jackson July 23, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    This story is sad on every possible level. And it reminds me of a scary event from my past.

    As a backdrop, in the prior two years a number of people had been robbed at McDonald’s. In both cases it was an employee working the closing shift in the evening. It had not happened in the morning shift so most of us did not worry about it.

    In our case it was an event that lasted 10 minutes It is a eery state your mind gets into. Afterwards two things dominate your thinking. First, what could I have done differently. In my case it was not to agree to work someone’s shift. Or, not be the first one in the store when we opened up. Being first in I had a double barrel shotgun rammed up against my throat. And lastly, and the worst thing to think but you think it… could I have taken the guys down. The next process is ‘I am still alive’ and what did I do to deserve another chance. The answer invariably becomes ‘I didn’t.’ I was a teenager at the time. I remember thinking, ‘so this is it, I’ll never have sex, never marry, never have kids.’ I remember thinking that my mom and dad would be upset, my grandparents, all my friends. My two sisters looked to me as big brother so what would they do. I thought of all of this while lying face down in a puddle of water under the sink at McD’s and for years afterwards.

    There is one thing though you discover about yourself through all the aftermath, you feel vulnerable. And you stop trusting people. You don’t look at people the same afterwards because to your point Cat, you just never know if that perfectly normal acting person is going to pull a gun and end it for you.

    I really want to leave that option open to a more interesting ending.

    • David Jackson July 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      Neglected to mention the two earlier robberies had resulted in those being robbed being killed. Also left out the part that there were 3 of us. The assistant manager who was pistol whipped while he tried to open the safe, The girl who was locked in the meat freezer. The perpetrators were never caught. The girl never set foot in a McDs again, she was also in therapy and on meds for years afterward. The Assistant quit. I lasted about another month then left. Oddly, in the 30+ years since I have been in three banks that were robbed. I was also mugged. And once when my car broke down three nice teenagers pulled over to beat me senseless for no good reason. It took me until I was 39 years old to have a child of my own because I was convinced this world was too messed up to have kids. There really are some truly F*&*^&d up people out there.

  2. Annoddah Dave July 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    CAT: Am sure the news hounds will dig up something in this guy’s past…like he was a victim of abuse or drugs, etc. This happening is so sad. What is it about Colorado or is it this country that’s screwed up?

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