Making Sense Of The Shootings In Aurora, Colorado

Anger is a complicated emotion.

It is not yet clear, nor will it ever really be, why that 24-year-old man tear gassed and then, aided by multiple firearms, grievously and fatally wounded dozens of people at a sold out show in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

I did a google search for the word anger. The first definition provided by is “A strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong; wrath; ire.” The second is a British dialect: “pain or smart, as of a sore.” An italicized word prefaces the third definition: obsolete. “Grief; trouble.” I disagree. Anger troubles me, anger causes trouble, and anger has an undeniable symbiotic relationship with grief — this is illustrated by both physics as well as alchemy. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; as above, so below.

What that man did to those people in Aurora, Colorado on July 19th, 2012 was an act of violence, and while it is impossible to correctly suppose what causes violent acts such as this, I believe it was a form of anger known as hate: a desire to destroy that which is not understood, to conquer that difference. It is a powerful force to reckon with; hate is strong enough to possess a person to take destructive action towards that which he hates — it is a sick mix. What that man did was take people away from each other. He hurt them, he hurt their families, he hurt our collective trust in each other. And I hate him. I hate him right back. And I’m not alone. “To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

My cousin was in the theater that night. She was shot several times; one bullet went through her neck. The fact that there is another human being out there that raised a gun at a member of my family and then pointed it in the direction of her head incenses me. He meant to shoot and kill her. That fact has filled me with a cold rage since my mother telephoned me with the news in the early morning. A collected rage, a rage I am in control of probably only because he is in custody. My cousin was still in surgery when my mom called. “They are working to save her carotid artery. They are working to save her.” My mom paused. I waited. “Pray.”

A life is of ineffable value. We are so very precious and no one is disposable. Our differences may annoy one another but they are necessary and special and while cynicism can be a harmless outlet don’t ever lose the reins. Keep your eyes on the reins of others. There is no way that nobody didn’t notice a 24-year-old student amassing a trove of violent paraphernalia. “If you see something, say something” isn’t just a subway rule, it’s an everywhere rule, and let’s remember that, forever. TC Mark

image – Kevin Dooley


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  • Kate

    Thoughts with your family, especially your cousin. Sincerely hope she makes a full recovery.

    • A different take

      Bless you and your family. Will pray.

  • Only L<3Ve @

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  • Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective

    Praying for your cousin…

  • Danielle Nathan

    Praying for your cousin <3

  • Mari

    I’ll be sending my love and prayers to your cousin.

  • A Friend

    It is perfectly possible to understand something and to still hate it.

    Human life is very common here on Earth. So much so that it is becoming a problem (for those of us with a certain viewpoint).

    As tragic and (currently) senseless as the shooting was, I think it would be even more tragic if we were reduced to a population that dialed up the DHL anonymous tip hotline every time we thought we noticed something “suspicious.”

    The dude is (still) alive, and sooner or later the prison shrinks, a cell-mate (should he ever get out of solitary), someone is going to get the reason out of him. It may not seem sane, but we will have a reason. Unless he is an Iago.

    Sorry to hear about your cousin.

  • Harrison Wilder

    Praying for your cousin and all the victims. I am so sorry this happened. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  • A different take

    I hope you take your hate and anger and turn it into something proactive to help yourself heal and make our world a safer loving place. Because in the end if we can forgive we can recover from the world of pain that keeps us down. Forgiveness is NOT for the other person, its for ourselves. I by no means expect anyone to get this now with all the grieving shock and media mayhem. This tragedy is a test to our society, what will we do to make weapons 100 times harder to obtain, how our net will be watched and more so EDUCATE our people on the depths of mental illness, because as one who has suffered from it I can see this crazed red haired psychotic is mentally in another dimension and I want our world to also reckon those who have the potential to participate in such tragedy. RIP to the all the victims and their families, please don’t forget to understand James Holme’s parentales may be the biggest victims, I’m sure they will be shunned for an act that was beyond their control….

    • Elizabeth Maureen Smithson-Keefe


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