I felt like I should say something, being from Colorado and actually having worked (and once lived) a couple miles down the road from the Aurora Century 16 theater where the unspeakable atrocity occurred yesterday. I used the word “unspeakable” intentionally. In this day and age nothing could be further from the truth. From TMZ reporting the sex site the killer logged into the other night to our (Denver’s) own anchors digging and scratching and pawing at the story, chewing every piece of possible information—important or not—from the bone.
Yet here I am, writing about it. Not really. This will probably be my shortest blog in history. I want to say things like “my heart goes out to the families, to the people who were there, affected, etc.” but that’s what we always say. As a writer I feel like I should be able to come up with something better, some grand words that will make all the pain go away. There aren’t any. I can promise that. When we lost our son, words meant little. Humanity, that’s what made the difference and that’s what’s made me proud of my cities, counties, and state this past day or so.
What helps is a shoulder to lean on, a body to collapse against, an ear to listen.
There aren’t any answers to be had. Not yet. Maybe never. But we’ll go on. We survived Columbine, 9/11, the Virginia Tech shootings.
The saddest—and perhaps only—answer to come from this is nothing has changed. These inexplicable massacres go on. Terrorism goes on.
And we all will go on. Again.
I believe in God, but the senselessness of this world leaves me many times alternating between leaning on and questioning my faith. Whatever your beliefs, wherever you are, the best advice I heard is to do something nice for someone near you—pass on something kind to honor those lost. We’ve heard often that it’s the pebble that creates the largest ripples in the pond.
So again, the best we can do—the way we defeat this kind of evil—is to go on with our lives. A little sadder, a little wiser, and with yet more questions than answers.
On a personal note, I did not know CTR3 John Thomas Larimer, the sailor that was one of the ten killed inside the theater, but I’ve worked with a Naval Warrant Officer for the past few years and my friend knew the victim. Tragedy that strikes closer to us personally, it cuts deeper and somehow feels more real. I will spend many days ahead thinking about my friend, and about each of the victims.
Words are inadequate, and probably should be.
Follow-up: After posting my blog, I read another, by a writer friend also from here. I was wrong. Words can be adequate. For me, hers were. Please read what Renée Pawlish, who still lives near Columbine, had to say here.
Follow-up 2: Jo VonBargen, another great writer friend, commented below; her words so moved me I decided to do yet another update and include them here, so if you are reading, you won’t miss them (people don’t always read the comments section):
Murder has no tongue, yet speaks eloquently. We should do no less. Our words of sympathy may not comfort the grieving, but we remind our selves, the living, that we who are not murderers have not lost our humanity and become callous in the face of so many tragedies. Our hearts do, indeed, go out to the grieving families, and one day they will be able to feel that our arms were around them.
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