THE OTHER NIGHT IN THE MOVIE THEATER
It was evil.
It wasn’t guns, it wasn’t violence in the media, it wasn’t which party holds the White House.
It was evil.
The evil that rose up within Cain and led him to slay his brother. An evil which rose up within a college kid and led him to slay his brothers and sisters wholesale.
It was murder.
Pure and simple.
With tears streaming down our faces we wonder why and ache in our hearts and try to make sense of something that makes no sense to anyone of sound mind.
We love our families, we like going to the movies, we would give our lives to save another. And we cannot fathom the purposeful slaughter of innocents. Children and parents and people together. Strangers and friends and a happy escape in the multiplex.
And Cain strode in.
A premeditating, plotting, murdering monster.
Who had planned and fantasized about that night with a stunningly thorough perversity. Guns and more guns, ammunition and more ammunition, gas mask and body armor, a couple of smoke grenades and a cold-blooded, filthy attack.
He came with everything.
Except a heart and a conscience, and the least amount of decency.
And they fell.
A child over here, a war veteran over there, some men and some women, a random sampling of humanity, come together to watch a movie on a lark in the dark of the night.
When horror came to call.
It was a slaughter. They were defenseless and stunned. Some rushed children to the door, others threw themselves on top of loved ones, it was fish in a barrel and the fish fought to flee.
But you can’t outrun a bullet, and you can’t quench evil, and he fired and fired and fired.
And we’ve spent three days trying to figure it out.
Some see in it issues of gun control, or bullying, or the dangers of violence in the media.
Others wonder about weaknesses in our mental-health system, or issues of parental neglect or responsibility.
But none of those things really apply.
The notion of debate does not apply.
This is not a matter of disagreement, there are not two sides to this matter.
Except the sides of good and evil.
It doesn’t matter what you think about guns, or mental illness, or violent movies and video games, it matters what you feel about the slaughter of these dear people. It matters that you feel a lump in your throat and wish that you could reach out and hug the victims and comfort the families.
We were second-hand witnesses to horror, and we have been hurt.
We are not at one another’s throats, we have one another’s backs. We are crying on one another’s shoulders. We are feeling one another’s pain.
I wish I had been there with a gun of my own. I wish I could have done something. We all wish that. But none of us could. All we can do is hear and watch and weep.
We are not divided by our parties, we are bound by our souls. It is not us and them, it is all us, and we were attacked and we were wounded, and now we mourn.
It is good versus evil.
And we are good and the attack was evil.
And somewhere in the deepest hell, the father of all evil laughs and applauds and wishes that the gun hadn’t jammed.
There are 310 million people in America, and Friday morning in Colorado one of them did a sickeningly horrendous act. He made league with the devil, he laid his plan, he died his hair, he came in through the back door.
And in sending others to heaven he sent himself to hell.
And our grief is driven by our goodness, by the fact that for all of our faults and confusions, we know better than that, we do better than that, and we are horrified by that.
The heart of the devil beat in him that night.
And we weep because we have a different heart in our chest.
We weep because we are good.
And because, in the great conflict between good and evil, we have chosen to stand with the good.
To denounce the wrong, to choose the right, to push our lives upward and onward.
There was sadly nothing new in the theater attack.
It was as old as Cain and Abel.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2012