All Articles Tagged "Aurora shooting"
I hadn’t heard of writer Erica Kennedy, but I’d seen her title Bling on the shelf at Barnes & Noble a few times. Still, having only heard her name in reference to her June passing, I was taken by the number of requiems penned by fellow woman-writers in her honor, most of whom had never met her face to face. The memories were similar in that each written memoriam agreed that Kennedy was mentor to many and a connector of women who, in some fashion, had demonstrated promise in the realm of writing and publishing. All agreed that she was witty and sharp, but most of all, Erica Kennedy was remembered as an encourager.
This made me wonder about the legacies we leave. This was not the first time, however. During Whitney Houston’s funeral in February, a friend tweeted, “Who will speak at your funeral, and what will they say?”
In late-March, a co-worker of mine passed unexpectedly. In the days after the staff received word of the terrible news, we moved around each other in the halls, pressing our lips together and raising our cheeks in contrived acknowledgement and grief. As I placed my lunch in the break room refrigerator the following week, I had to push a Diet Pepsi out of the way. I wondered if it belonged to my deceased co-worker, a man whose penchant for the drinks became the stuff of office folklore. Did he have any food left in the fridge or freezer? I thought about how this simple sign of life turned into a striking reminder of how frail and fleeting our moments can be.
My officemates and I were rows deep in the sanctuary of a catholic church the following Monday, offering support to the grieving family and to each other at the funeral. Throughout the church were emblems of the departed’s life outside of the office: the youth athletic teams he coached (both current players and alumni), old friends, co-workers from past professional lives, and members of a tight-knit family, all of whom had faces flushed with shock and sorrow, all of whom spoke highly of their coach, colleague, and loved one. I thought about how much this said about his legacy.
The question of legacy hit home once again when, in the wee hours of July 20, twelve moviegoers were killed in the theatre tragedy in Aurora, Colo. Among them was Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sports journalist whose social media prowess prompted her to post an essay about narrowly missing the gunfire at a Toronto mall the month prior to attending the fateful midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado. The message she shared with her blog readers: “…every moment we have to live our [lives] is a blessing.”
It seems that we work hard to be somebody in this world, to be seen, to be “important,” as if our titles and toys mean anything really. What we can learn from all of this is that what matters are our connections, real and digital — reaching out to others, using our stories for good, and being an encourager and a mentor. It’s about using our platforms and positions for good and not just for gain. It’s a cliché because it’s true: you can’t take it (the spoils, the toys, the titles) with you. Whether online or in real life, our connections are lasting relics of our spirits. What remains are memories of your encouragement, your belief and your passion for someone and something other than yourself.
Readers, what do you hope is part of your legacy? Who will speak at your funeral, and what will they say?
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Gun sales, background check approvals, and requests for concealed-weapons training have spiked in the days following the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, CO that left 12 people dead and 58 injured. The primary reason is fear; fear that this could happen again, and fear that politicians will tighten gun laws.
According to the Associated Press, summer months are usually a slow time for gun sales. However, in Colorado alone, nearly 3,000 background checks were approved by the state in the three days after the massacre. The same can be said for other states as well, including Connecticut and Florida.
Apparently, this follows a pattern established by prior mass shootings, like the one in Tucson, AZ that left six dead and a number of people injured, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“Gun dealers, in fact, owe a lot to Mr. Obama,” writes the Christian Science Monitor. “Before his election in 2008, gun sales spiked in anticipation that he would promote a gun-control agenda – even though he did not campaign on the issue and the Supreme Court had just handed down its landmark Heller ruling, which asserted an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
The shooting in Aurora has reignited the gun law debate among politicians and pundits. Mitt Romney has said that more restrictive gun laws “won’t make all bad things go away.” Fox News has the following headline: “Colorado shooting a reminder that psychiatry, not gun laws, needs fixing.” New York’s Mayor Bloomberg has called on both candidates to address the issue. And Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) is preparing legislation that will curtail the number rounds in a gun’s magazine.
Meanwhile, even as the number of gun owners has declined in the U.S., there are still somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 million to 300 million of them in the hands of citizens, nearly one for every person in the country. It appears that even though there are fewer individuals buying guns, the ones who are buying are purchasing more of them.
The Great Samaritan: Jarell Brooks Saves Woman, Children In Colorado Theater After She Was Abandoned By Her Boyfriend
When Patricia Legarreta talked to ABC News after escaping the movie theatre shooting in Colorado she said:
“It makes me feel happy to know that in times of trial, there are good people out there.”
Patricia was referring to the man that she credits for saving her life as well as the life of her 4-month-old son and 4-year-old daughter on that horrific night.
That man was 19-year-old Jarell Brooks.
Brooks said that when Holmes started shooting, everyone scrambled for the exits. While trying to get out of the theater, he saw a woman, later identified as Patricia Legarreta, struggling to get herself and her two children out. He said he crawled on top of Legarreta in an attempt to push her and the kids out the door but then couldn’t get out himself.
“At the end of the aisle, I ran into a woman. She yelled, ‘My kids!’ and I saw she had two young kids with her,” he told ABC News. “I made sure they got in the aisle and pushed behind her to make sure she got out of there.”
That’s when Brooks said he felt a shot to his leg. Brooks said he was shot in the thigh, and fell to the ground.
Patricia Legarreta was also hit.
“We fell together,” Brooks said. “I picked myself back up and continued to the back exit door, on one leg.”
Jarell told ABC News that the bullet that struck his leg could have hit Patricia’s 4-month-old infant if not for his body covering the family. But he refuses to be called a hero.
“I don’t want to say hero necessarily, I was just in the wrong place at the right time,” he told ABC News’ Chris Cuomo during a TV interview.
“I was in the wrong place because I had to deal with the situation, but I was there at the right time because I was there to help a family.”
After she recovered in the hospital, Patricia confirmed the story, and said she’s thankful there are young men in the world like Jarrell.
I saw someone in distress,’ he said. ‘I’m not the kind of person who would let them be in that situation and me selfishly trying to get myself out of the equation… all she’s trying to do is protect her kids, so I felt like if I could get her out, then maybe, I would have gotten out maybe I wouldn’t, as long as I knew she was OK I was alright.’
25-year-old Patricia came to the theater that night with her two kids and her boyfriend 25-year-old Jamie Rohrs. So, where was he when this complete stranger saved his family’s life? Jamie had run outside, hopped in his car, and driven away.
Patricia said that after seeing smoke and then hearing gunshots, she heard Jamie yell for her to get on the ground.
“I threw my daughter on the floor,” she said. “I just remember thinking my fiance has my son.”
While she was on the floor, she said, she could see her 4-month-old baby on the ground near the stairs. Patricia said she did not know the whereabouts of Jamie.
“At that point, I reached out and I grabbed him and pulled him in to me,” she said. “I didn’t even check my leg until we were out in the parking lot.”
Jamie, who had Ethan, said he jumped over the seat with the baby in his arms. He said he considered lying on the ground and playing dead but feared for his son’s life.
“I’m trying to keep him low. … And he’s crying,” Jamie said. “People are running all over. I’m tripping and falling. I don’t know if I laid him down or sat him down. I’m wondering maybe there’s more of them. [I'm thinking] ‘He’s crying and they’re going to come get me.’ I look up to see if I can run. I’m ducking, dodging, turning left, turning right. … Every time you hear a gun shot, it’s like ‘Oh, I’m dead.’”
“I’m just disoriented after I put him down,” Rohrs said. “I’m just waiting for me to hit the ground and fall down dead. You could see the gunfire and people are dropping.”
He said he wondered where Ethan was but realized he could not go back to get him. Rohrs finally jumped over the balcony and ended up outside.
“It just felt like the worst thing ever because my son’s still in there,” he told ABC News. “My girlfriend is still in there. I’m out here. Who leaves their child there?”
He said Patricia called him from another phone and he drove back to the theater.
When Patricia was in the hospital, Jamie said “I know this isn’t the time or the place, but will you marry me,” and she said, “Yes.”
The New York Post talks about three men who died trying to save their girlfriends’ lives. None of those couples had children with them in the theater. I’m not saying that Jamie had an obligation to take a bullet for anyone, but laying his baby on the ground in the middle of that chaotic situation where the baby could have easily been trampled and then escaping to his car is utterly unbelievable.
Yet, all day on Friday, Jamie was on national television next to his girlfriend holding the baby as though he hadn’t just abandoned them hours earlier. For her to accept his marriage proposal after all of that is shocking. He showed his true colors in that theater and the fact that he had driven away without even knowing her status or the status of their baby shows what kind of person he is. Marrying a person like that is a mistake.
Thankfully for Patricia, unlike Jamie, Jarell saw it necessary to take a bullet for her and her kids if it meant helping them to safety. Judging from his Facebook page, he loves fantasy superheroes and that night he got to become a real life hero himself. When the wife of retired NBA player Isaiah Rider heard the news she set up an online fundraising account to raise money for him and his upcoming college tuition.
Earlier this year, Jarell posted this MLK quote on his Facebook page: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
It’s pretty clear that Jarell is quite a man and his heroics unwittingly exposed the coward in Jamie.
What do you think about this story?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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This morning my friend tweeted, “The most I intriguing thing about the news is it’s never going to stop happening…like ever…”
She’s right. Every day there is something. And today there was something incomprehensible: a 24-year-old man wearing a gas mask and head-to-toe body armor while toting three weapons (including an AK-47) entered a movie theater during a midnight showing and opened fire at random. 12 people were killed and 59 were wounded including a three-month-old baby.
Unfortunately, tragedies happen in the world and when they do we can always count on our favorite news organizations to totally sensationalize the coverage.
Today, that sensationalism was at an all-time high. CNN used the “Breaking News” graphic after every commercial whether or not there was any new information. Headlines blared: “The Dark Knight Rises Massacre!”; “Batman Shooter!”
True, the shooting happened during the opening night of “The Dark Knight Rises” movie. True, this was definitely a “massacre”. But it is not necessarily true that the mass shooting had anything to do with Batman beyond it happened during the screening.
Emotions were running high surrounding this movie. Before it came out, RottenTomatoes.com movie critic Dan Hines saw the movie and had less-than-stellar things to say about it in his review. As a result, anonymous commenters began hurling insults and death threats at him to the point that Rotten Tomatoes had to shut down the comment section.
Anyone who writes for the internet knows that keyboard courage is astounding. The cloak of anonymity the internet provides resulting in little fear of reprisal makes comment sections an unmitigated cesspool of vitriol. These people are on every message board on nearly every website and are probably otherwise average citizens. I agree with Dan Hines who says that there is a big difference between a random Internet threat and what happened today in Colorado.
“We know nothing about [the shooter] and why he did what he did,” said Fine. “Maybe he was a crazed Superman fan who was upset that the Batman movie came out first – we don’t know. This is an act of violence and everybody knew that every theater in the country was showing this movie at midnight last night, so it was going to be packed with people. So, if you’re someone who’s decided that, ‘I’m going to make an impact by killing a bunch of people and becoming a celebrity,’ what better way to do it than to go to the place where you know the most people are going to be so that you can have the most victims.”
True, there are crazy Batman fans, but there are also crazy people who have never seen Batman. It’s not the movie. It’s the person.
It’s a fair assumption to say that the shooter, James Holmes, is a deranged lunatic. Some reports even said that his hair was painted red and, while he was getting arrested, he told the police he was The Joker. (If you watched The Dark Knight starring Heath Ledger then you know The Joker was wearing a red wig during the hospital scene). James may be building his “insanity” case because it’s doubtful that a former PhD candidate studying neuroscience truly believes he is The Joker, but then again, anyone who would commit this sort of crime definitely has some mental health issues.
Unfortunately for those who are sick of hearing the blame placed on the entertainment industry, this latest development will undoubtedly begin a conversation as to whether or not violent movies make people violent. People are already asking, “What is it about this movie that makes people lose their minds??” I don’t think it’s the movie that is making people lose their minds, I think people are already out of their minds whether or not they’re a fan of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
For their part, Warner Brothers decided to cancel the Paris screening and pull the trailer for the upcoming Sean Penn film “Gangster Squad,”. The trailer was shown before the Dark Knight Rises screening and ironically includes a clip of men with machine guns shooting into a movie audience from behind the screen. Movie theaters across the country are beefing up their security to discourage would-be copycats.
These kinds of precautions are necessary to restore a sense of safety and prevent a similar event from happening somewhere else. We certainly cannot be too careful in light of this tragedy. People lost their lives, some were wounded and still others are undoubtedly traumatized for life. It’s not fair though to blame the movie for this crime considering there are thousands, maybe millions, of Batman fans who saw this movie last night yet are not deranged killers trying to pretend to emulate The Joker. That’s why I think It’s entirely too simplistic to call James Holmes the “Batman Killer” and assume Batman made him crazy. Clearly there are way more things going on there then watching a movie and wanting to execute hundreds of people — despite reports that James was a “normal church going boy”. He may have attended a Presbyterian church, but he obviously isn’t “normal”.
So instead of sensationalizing this story and citing “The Dark Knight curse” or calling for the boycott of violent movies or dubbing this kid The Batman Killer, we need to be talking about the severity of mental health and how we can spot these people and essentially make them get help before its too late.
What do you think? Do you think the Batman movies are promoting violence?
Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink
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-A dozen people were killed in a shooting at a Colorado movie theater during a showing of the new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises early this morning. Another 38 people were injured, including a three-month-old baby. The gunman, 24-year-old James Holmes, reportedly wore a gas mask into the Aurora theater and threw gas canisters before opening fire. He was arrested in the parking lot of the theater with four guns. President Obama has released a statement expressing “shock and sadness” over the news. A Paris premiere screening of the film has been cancelled as a result. This is an ongoing story.
-On a much different note, Viacom and DirecTV have reached a programming fee agreement, ending a 10-day blackout that deprived the satellite company’s 20 million customers of stations like BET, MTV and Nickelodeon. DirecTV will not be required to carry Epix. Separately, Dish customers haven’t had access to AMC for about a month, meaning they’re missing Breaking Bad. Dang.
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-Mitt Romney’s wife Ann has stirred up some controversy over an interview with GMA in which she defended her hubby’s refusal to make several years worth of tax returns available by saying, “Because there are so many things that will be open again for more attack… and that’s really, that’s just the answer. And we’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life.” You people?!
-Presidential campaign fundraising has exceeded $1 billion. That includes spending by the candidates, the parties, and their Super PACs. Spending could reach $3 billion. President Obama is frantically trying to raise money, warning his supporters that he could be outspent by his opponent.