Today, more than 50 people were shot in a movie theater. So far 12 have been reported dead, including at least one young child.
As I watched it unfold during a 2am feeding, I felt such a terrible sense of fear.
This is the kind of thing that could happen at any movie theater in any city. It wasn’t in a terrible neighborhood, it wasn’t in a war zone. It was in Colorado, at the premiere of a movie that we probably would’ve gone to if my husband didn’t have to work on Friday and I didn’t value my little bits of sleep so very much right now.
And all day today, the internet has been abuzz. There have been news reports, articles, blog posts, tweets, all about this tragedy. Everyone is dissecting every moment. And everyone is searching for someone or something to blame.
There are those that jumped on the NRA because the alleged shooter used an assault rifle reportedly obtained legally.
There are others who blame gun law advocates because those in the theater could’ve defended themselves if they were armed.
There are those that jumped on politics, first reporting that the alleged shooter was a member of the Tea Party. Then he was a registered Democrat. Then he wasn’t even registered to vote.
There are those who jumped on families who allow their kids to play with toy guns, because it promotes violence.
There are those who blamed kids who were underexposed to weapons, because it makes them a forbidden fruit.
There are those who blame healthcare, for not providing enough mental health resources to serve those with major mental health issues who present a danger to others.
There are those who blamed the parents of the two youngest shooting victims, ages 3 months and 6 years, for bringing them to a midnight movie.
And those are only the ones I’ve seen on the internet today, I’m sure there will be more theories in the coming days. It’s been one giant blame game. And I understand. When there is senseless violence we are searching for understanding. For some reason in the chaos. But here’s the thing- there is no blame. There is no reason. There is no sense.
We want a reason so we can feel safe, so that we can tuck our kids in at night and know that they won’t be victims of something similar. So we can not worry about our mother or father or siblings. We want a reason so that we can understand this, compartmentalize it and move on from it.
But there is no reason.
There is no one person or organization or philosophy to blame and continuing to try to find someone or something to put all responsibility on is a dangerous game. To act as though there was an easy way to prevent this is to take away from the enormity of what happened. Our focus today should be on the victims and their families, on the community of Aurora, Colorado. It should be on those mourning their loved ones, or waiting for their family member to come out of surgery, to be released from the hospital.
Instead of finding ways to further divide ourselves, we should be finding ways to unite. Charities to donate to, blood banks to support or religious communities to pray with (if that’s your thing). Arguing with others, and blaming anyone for what happened won’t bring back the 12 people who were killed. it won’t undo the injuries to the other 50. It probably won’t even prevent a similar future event. And it certainly won’t turn back time and give us back that shred of innocence we lost.
It will only make enemies. It will only make more sadness and anger where there is already too much.
Tonight, instead of blaming others for this unthinkably tragic event, give love. Love your kids extra. Call your parents, or siblings. Mourn those who died by living, by loving. Not by fighting. Make sense of this tragedy by calling it what it is- senseless. There is no one to blame.
And the sooner we can accept that and find a way to come together, the better. For all of us.