Mass Shooting at Movie Theater in Colorado – 12 Dead

The face of death, Aurora, Colo. shooting suspect James Holmes.

Colorado was once again the scene of a shooting tragedy today.

A lone gunman entered the Century 16 movie theater and opened fire in Aurora, Colo., during a sold-out midnight screening of the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.

At least 12 people were killed and 59 others have been injured.

My condolences go out to the victims, their families and to all of Colorado. No one deserves to lose their life going to see a stupid movie.

I offer condolences to all of us as well, because once again something innocent has been lost. Now I need to watch my ass at the movie theater.

This was one of the few places left where we as a society are allowed to get away from life for a couple hours.

No cell phones, laptops or iPads; just unplug and decompress in climate controlled comfort.

Until somebody decided to roll in fully armed and light up the room.

What’s that all about?

The suspect is James Holmes, 24, of Aurora. The University of Colorado confirmed Holmes is a doctoral candidate in its neuroscience program.

Reports are the suspect burst into the theater through the emergency exit doors to the right of the movie screen.

He was wearing all-black military or police-style tactical gear, including a helmet, bullet-proof vest, throat protector, groin protector and gas mask.

You have to remember this is the first showing of the third installment of the current Batman franchise. This is a movie that has a devoted following from comic book readers, super-hero enthusiasts, gamers, devotees of science fiction and the goth crowd.

There have been news stories about critics receiving death threats for giving The Dark Knight Rises mediocre or poor reviews. Pretty crazy stuff!

With a frenetic crowd like that at a midnight screening on a Thursday, it is to be expected lots of people would show up in costume.

This helped the suspect in two ways.

One it allowed for concealment of weapons, and second, many people thought he was part of the show upon first entering the theater.

This gave Holmes a few valuable seconds to perhaps adjust his eyes to the darkness and steady himself.

Then the guy tossed a couple smoke bombs or tear gas canisters, and opened fire on a packed theater with an assault rifle, shotgun and two semi-automatic pistols.

In one of the more cringe-worthy messages I’ve seen thus far, an unwitting and obviously callous staffer at the National Rifle Association posted a message on Twitter saying, “Good morning, shooters. Happy Friday! Weekend plans?”

The NRA certainly is a compassionate organization and continues to show it really cares about keeping America safe.

What is going on out in America?

As a previous law enforcement officer these kinds of stories always get my attention.

What if this was just one in a series of coordinated attacks?

If five, or 10, or 20 theaters were hit at once in different states what would we do? How would we react?

There is virtually no security at theaters, and like with most of the super-hero or sci-fi movies, everyone comes in costume, especially to the openings, making it easy to conceal a shooter’s face and weapons.

Even more devastating would be if 10 or 20 Wal-Mart stores were hit across the country. Those are underneath soft-targets that would strike at the fabric of America.

Everyone shops there, it’s full of kids, and no one would be prepared.

Another thing this Colorado shooting brings up is why?

Interestingly, the shooter didn’t kill himself. Usually they do in this type of situation.

It will be interesting to see what authorities and medical professionals learn from Holmes about why he felt compelled to shoot innocent people at a movie theater on a Thursday night.

Aurora is a suburb of the Denver, which has a metro area population of over 2.5 million people.

Aurora also happens to be located about 13 miles from Littleton, site of the April 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

There is pressure on everyone in America these days. The cumulative impact that events like the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, the government failure surrounding Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, Afghanistan, the housing collapse, lack of jobs and the ongoing economic downturn are having are unknown.

These huge catastrophes keep happening, and we have no choice but to get on with life.

Keep earning. Keep providing. If we stop for a minute the wheels fall off.

But that doesn’t mean people have truly dealt with these catastrophes.

It would be one thing if they were isolated events with some time in between, but they back up on each other, overlapping, one on top of another. Building up.

Not that long ago it was unimaginable that Americans might be capable of carrying out suicide attacks against targets domestically. The thought was Americans weren’t wired for that kind of fundamentalism, such as the types of attacks seen routinely in the Middle East.

But after several decades of repeated suicide attacks involving postal workers, school shootings, other workplace rampages, and the abhorrent plague of domestic-related murder/suicides – it no longer would even seem that shocking if a coordinated suicide bombing occurred in the United States.

In fact it is more “when” not “if” such an attack will take place.

There is a national atmosphere of bullying in America these days. Everyone is trying to blame someone for the troubles facing our society. Much of it is the right-wing against left-leaning Democrats.

Issues like tax cuts, immigration, global warming, terrorism, anti-government sentiment, health care, pro-guns, pro-life, all these warrant healthy debate, but Republicans, like Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John Boehner (R-OH), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), former-Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Fox News are all about disinformation and hate.

There is no constructive, sensible discussion with these folks, only venom.

They need an unstable America in order to gain political power.

That hate is bleeding out into our society, permeating our culture.

Unless this divisive rhetoric is stopped it will rise up to bite us.

Hate breeds violence.

We’ve always been a reactionary people.

It’s about time we stopped looking for short-term gains and sought out preventative, long-term solutions, before something comes along that can’t be bought, borrowed or stolen.

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