I try my best to keep this blog free of things I don't know about: politics, soccer, Pintrest, shows about teen moms. I like to write about things I know in life, because I don't want to false report or hearsay anything. But today is different. Five years ago, a friend of mine was shot at Trolley Square by an 18 year-old who illegally bought illegal guns. This kid shot my friend four times at pointblank range. Miraculously, my friend survived, albeit the life lived before February 12th, 2007 is now all but a memory.
This morning when I heard about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado - another massacre of ordinary people doing ordinary things - my heart stopped for a tiny second, then sank to the soles of my feet which were planted firmly on the floor. I caught my breath and put my head down, closed my eyes, sat very still, and prayed. When I opened my eyes and raised my head again, the heartbreak I felt consumed me for only a minute, and then turned to confusion, which eventually morphed into anger.
What is so wrong that someone finds it necessary to take the life of someone else, to openly kill people completely unknown to that person. To shoot a little girl and a tiny baby, to shoot anyone of any race, gender, age, or nationality? What is the motivation to kill at random, at one's leisure, to take the life of a person just wanting to learn or shop or be entertained?
I don't expect an answer, nor do I expect to gain understanding. Random acts of heinous violence like the one today can be blamed on mental illness, depression, personality disorders. I don't buy it. It all boils down to this:
There is no peaceful country, every country is at war with itself, citizens are battling against each other. Everyone is divided on everything, whether it's political lines, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, immigration reform, consumption of animals, or something as trivial as whether Coke is better than Pepsi, which bachelor should be chosen on "The Bachelorette", or Team Whoever over Team Whomever.
Accountability - What's that? Did you know you can buy a gun at The Gun Show without a background check? The purchasing of bullets doesn't require one either. I'm all for the right to bear arms. I believe people need to be able to defend themselves if necessary, but there has to be accountability. And it has to come before the fact.
Love has given way to hate. That's obvious. Everyone knows it.
It's quite simplistic, really. Love has given way to hate. Tolerance has given way to bigotry. And contentment has given way to fear. You can't fly on a plane, go to school, or shop at a mall without feeling a pang of fear that you may not walk out. Now we can add movie theaters to that list. Movies: the great American passion, one of the few remaining hallowed institutions to congregate and enjoy ourselves. How often will they be tainted for us now? How much hesitation will come before deciding to see a film in the theater? Are pat-downs, bag checks, and metal detectors going to be the newest installments to hit movie theaters?
All I want when I go to the movies is popcorn, a Diet Coke, and a giant box of Reese's Pieces. I want to be entertained, maybe enlightened, possibly uplifted, perhaps renew some hope. I don't want to have to fear for my life and the lives of those around me. Even the most irritating, loud-talking, comment-making, seat-kicking moviegoer deserves to walk out of a theater alive. It seems too much to ask anymore, to travel, educate, indulge, and believe.
I wonder if Nine-Eleven, Columbine*, Trolley Square*, and Aurora are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Today it certainly feels like it. *These could be substituted with any school or mall shooting, of which there have been many.
The words to Jack Johnson's song "Sleep Through the Static" have been running through my mind all day: "Who needs to see what we've done? Who needs please when we've got guns? Who needs keys when we've got clubs? Who needs peace when we've gone above / but beyond where we should've gone. We've gone beyond where we should've gone. We went beyond where we should've gone / we went beyond where we should've gone."
The clandestine want and need for faith in humanity is quickly dissipating from inside of me. I want to believe... I just need to remember a miniscule percentage of the population who are out to ruin lives and experiences does not represent the whole.