It is a dark day for Americans. The Aurora, Colorado theatre shooting is a horrifying reminder of the dark side to freedom. The price we pay for living with few boundaries is that the best of us will sometimes cross paths with the worst of us.
Chances are good that I spend more time in movie theatres than you. I have already been asked multiple times today if today’s violence will impact my movie going. The answer is a resounding ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Very few of us live our lives as hermits … locked away in a Safe Room or shelter. What makes our society so wonderful is our ability to hop in our car and head off to a sporting event, a musical production, a religious ceremony of our choice, a restaurant of our choosing, and even a grocery store with its endless supply of fresh produce. Every morning, we pack our kids’ lunches and send them off to learn in a building with a few hundred or thousand other kids. We do these things because we live in a society with freedom of movement and freedom of choice. We trust the society will work as it is designed.
There is inherent risk in a free society. We depend on others to do the right thing and make proper decisions. The vast majority of us do. Most of the time, this system of trust works beautifully. When it doesn’t, and some lunatic snatches our freedom in an instant, it frightens us beyond belief … sometimes crushing our spirit. We can’t believe the horror of another person making the decision to purposefully hurt others, for no apparent reason.
Inevitably, someone who knows this accused shooter, will state that something just didn’t seem “right” with him. This is the responsibility we have to each other. Your parents probably taught you to trust your “gut feeling” about people. We owe it to each other to pay attention and do something when our internal alarm is alerted … or would you rather be the one on TV saying “I knew something wasn’t right about that guy.”?
The documentary filmmaker Michael Moore issued a statement today saying that “historians will look back on us and simply conclude that we were a violent nation”. I for one, vehemently disagree with him. We are a nation of citizens who sometimes forget the responsibility that comes with our freedom … a freedom that allows the rare lunatic amongst us to make a horrible decision that jolts and pains us. We are also a resilient lot who will now pay a bit more attention to the guy who “just doesn’t seem right”. So, yes, it is a dark day. A very dark day. But know that each of us is responsible for bringing back the light.