Devastation In Colorado


Video: Frantic video shot from a movie-goer’s iPhone capturing the panic and chaos in Aurora, Colorado

Like hundreds of thousands of people across the country, I was packed into a theater waiting for the 12:05am Friday morning opening of the highly anticipated summer blockbuster The Dark Night Rises.

Just like the people at a theater in Aurora, Colorado.

I kept my phone on until the last reasonable moment, looking up reviews of the movie while the theater lights were still on, and before the previews started.

Just like the people at a theater in Aurora, Colorado.

I Tweeted and Facebooked my excitement as the countdown began before the movie started.

Just like the people at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, including Jessica Redfield who Tweeted:

@jessespector MOVIE DOESN’T START FOR 20 MINUTES

More on her powerful story in a minute.

Just a little way through the movie, I and the countless people around me were closely following the plot, characters, and action scenes completely unaware that those innocent people at that theater in Aurora, Colorado were running for their lives (if they had the chance to) amid chaos and carnage.

In the end, 12 people were dead and more than 50 (by most reports) were injured.  I was stunned when I saw the news later that morning.

A dozen people, most likely unfamiliar to everyone else in that theater, were gunned down in the middle of a great American tradition:  watching movies with friends and family.

Even in a theater, people were no longer safe.

Now we’re learning more about the victims that died, like Jessica Redfield mentioned before.    She was an aspiring sportscaster and popular Denver-area hockey blogger.  Chilling enough, as it’s been reported, she narrowly avoided becoming a victim in a Toronto shooting just weeks before.

She even blogged about it saying:

“I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. “

Deeply impactful words.

There’s also Alex Sullivan.  A man who was celebrating his 27th birthday with friends, watching the movie he had been waiting for all year.  His dad frantically searched for him in the hours after the attack, showing his picture to news reporters, asking if they had seen him.  He got the life-altering news late Friday night.  His son did not make it.

On Saturday, we learned about a woman named Ashley Moser, who is hospitalized with bullets lodged in her throat and her abdomen.  She has yet to learn that her daughter, 6-year-old Veronica did not survive the shooting.  She was the youngest of the victims.

There are many others whose names and stories will emerge through the media in a short time.  In the meantime there is a long road ahead for their families and friends, as well as for survivors that are recovering in the hospital.  They have been and will continue to be in my prayers.

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