This morning, I woke up to a phone call from my husband. ”I guess you haven’t heard the news,” he said. ”There’s been a shooting in Aurora.”
So I jumped on the internet and was shocked to see pictures of my hometown. I grew up about a mile away from the movie theater where James Holmes allegedly opened fire, sending babies to the hospital and killing 12, including a 6 year old child.
How many times did I visit that movie theater? How many late night desserts were eaten at that Chili’s in the parking lot (and there’s always a Chili’s in the movie theater parking lot in Colorado. It’s contractual or something)? I still have clothes I bought at that mall.
It brought back other, old memories. When I was in high school there was another shooting, at Chuck E. Cheese. 5 people were shot, including four teens. My classmates worked there. The perpetrator is on death row. The first funeral I remember attending was for one of those victims.
Now there are 12 more funerals scheduled, because of another senseless shooting. James Holmes broke into the theater while the movie was playing, threw tear gas canisters and then picked people off at random as they fled for their lives. People who just wanted to see a movie with their friends and family.
I know later this will probably bring a firestorm of gun controversy. It always does. The facts will come out – where did he get his guns? Where did he get his gas? and then everthing will be picked apart in the media. The talking heads will have some fiery debates and yell over each other via satellite on the cable news channels. Op-eds will be written.
But I have to think, I wonder if one of those innocent people could have been saved had someone been carrying a concealed weapon. I wonder what would have happened if someone who had been through a handgun training class and was licensed to carry a weapon on their person had been there that night.
I hope the Aurora sherriff has some overtime in his budget to process new applications.
I’m obsessively watching footage online. I can’t help it. I know those streets. The neighborhood where the shooter lives is partially evacuated, because he wired it with bombs. It’s in one of the worse parts of town. I spent my teen years around the area- it’s about 1000 feet from what used to be Fitzsimmons Army Medical Base. I went bowling there! So many memories. So many friends lived in that area. It’s also a main thoroughfare to get into Denver- Colfax Ave. is the longest mainstreet in the world.
I’ve been in Houston for four years, and moved many other places but Aurora is my home.
Praying for them and for James Holmes. May God have mercy on his soul.
News for my Colorado friends and family:
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila will celebrate a Mass for victims, families, and friends of the Aurora shooting at 5:00 p.m. at Queen of Peace Parish, 13120 E. Kentucky Avenue, Aurora.
All priests are invited to attend.
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Bonfils Blood Center is accepting donations. If you feel helpless and like you can’t do anything to help, please give the gift of life.