“Elizabeth, I’m really sorry to wake you up but I think you need to see this,” Kyle’s hand was on my arm and I shot up in bed and stared at the clock. 6 AM.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, my heart already in my throat. I texted my brother in a blind panic: “Ben, please tell me you didn’t go to the Dark Knight premiere.”
“I didn’t. But I know about the shooting.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too, sis.”
I don’t like to be one of those people that jumps on a tragedy bandwagon.This horrible thing is not about me. It didn’t happen to me. It didn’t even happen near me. Physically. And it’s like my dad says, there is no safer place than the arms of God.
And yet I find myself somehow in the periphery of the mass shooting in Colorado today since it happened about five minutes from my parents’ home, the home I grew up in, at the movie theater I visited almost weekly in junior high and high school. I am so thankful that the people I know who live and work near that theater are safe. I am thankful for the law enforcement and emergency crew who responded to the scene. I am thankful that they have the shooter in custody. I am thankful for God’s mercy.
But I am shaken. I spent so much time in that particular theater. I took my brother to a midnight showing of the first Batman movie there a number of years ago. I had my first real date there. I held hands with a boy for the first time in that movie theater. Even now, I can see the inside of that building in my head. I know the layout, the feeling of that carpet under my feet, even which games are in the corner arcade. I was there just two weeks ago.
The pain of this for people who were there, who had loved ones there…that has to be unbearable. For me, it’s just on the edges of my mind where I can’t really see it in focus. Watching the coverage on the television and seeing that Century 16 sign, I just can’t even process it. I can’t read any more about it. I don’t want to see pictures. I don’t want to hear the 9-1-1 calls or look at the mug shot of James Holmes who is my age and a PhD student and I don’t want to see it or know it.
I guess I’m just sad. It’s staggering how far away “hitting close to home” can actually be.