Tragedy mars a Summer’s evening

The shootings in Aurora, Colorado are too painful to think about very much. And yet think about them, we must. Too much blood has been shed to do otherwise.

The movies are our escape from the realities of everyday life. They have been that ever since the time when moving pictures were invented. Those early films–silent, black and white, and typically devoid of any modern production values–offered a way of spending time inside another world. Once inside the theater, your job didn’t matter, the kids weren’t yelling at each other, and the yapping dog was nowhere in sight. Whatever it was that ailed a person could be forced to side, as long as the room was dark and the projector was rolling.

And some idiot came along and violated all that. He used the festive air of a midnight screening of an anticipated new movie as cover. When the lights went down, and a theater filled with people began their customary escape from life’s troubles, into a world they expected to be more interesting than the one they left behind. And then the shooting started.

There’s a code about going to the movies that some people seem determined to ignore. Whether it’s talking too much during the film, or checking out the smartphone, some people are so absorbed in their own world that everyone else’s enjoyment of the movie is not important. But even those people still understand what the movies are for. And yet one troubled young man in suburban Denver threw all of that out the window.

May the families of the victims somehow find comfort in their grief, and may the rest of us realize that the movies are a pathway leading away from life’s troubles, and not a staging ground for making new ones happen.

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