I went and saw The Dark Knight Rises at midnight on Thursday night. I watched Bane and Batman go at it and I saw the story unfold and I left the theater on Friday morning completely mesmerized by the quality of the film I had just seen.
When I woke up, I turned on the television and found out that, while the moviegoers at the Century 16 theatre in Aurora, Colo. expected to watch the same film, they instead experienced hell on Earth.
I am 24-years old, the same age as James Holmes, the suspected shooter at the movie theater. Over the course of Friday, as I kept one eye on the news sources at all times, gathering the information as it developed, I kept thinking how strange it was that in nearly every area of the country, 24-year-olds are earning Emmy awards for choreography (for those who watch So You Think You Can Dance, I'm referring to Travis Wall), they're taking a break from master's programs and teaching, and they're working at local newspapers or other businesses.
And yet, in this specific area of the country, a 24-year-old opens fire on 79 innocent victims.
I spent most of the day torn. On the one hand, I'm angry at Holmes. I don't understand what could have gone through his mind.
But, on the other hand, I will not refer to him as "insane." This man was in a PhD program, studying neuroscience. He already had a neuroscience degree. He was smart, and he knew, every step of the way, how he wanted things to turn out. If he wasn't sound of mind, I believe the entire situation would have gone differently.
Every time someone gets in front of the camera or a computer screen and they refer to him as "deranged" or "not of sound mind," the only thing they're doing is fueling his lawyer's case. He could plead not guilty by way of mental illness, and spend the next however-many years in an institution that allows him craft time and group therapy.
I'm not sure what happened over in Colorado. I wasn't there. And, while I do have opinions on the minutest details -- the gun control laws and why there was a 3-month-old baby in a midnight showing to begin with -- they are not the issue at hand. The real issue is that there are 12 families who will never see their loved ones again, and there are 80 families who are forever changed.
I hope that, in the coming days and weeks, as the rest of this tragedy sorts itself out, we put aside our political tendencies and our needs to be right, and we take a moment to send a thought and prayer toward the shattered citizens of Aurora.