I’ve had Colorado on my mind and not in a John Denver kind of way.
The horrible events of this past weekend have filled the papers and the internet with stories of survival, tragedy, and tremendous pain. I read each one looking for what everyone else was looking for: the why. Why would someone randomly kill people in a movie theater?
Was he picked on?
Was he on drugs?
Did his parents abuse him?
We can’t bring the victims back, but perhaps there is something we can collectively point our fingers at and say, “Oh, that’s why he did it.”
But truthfully, why do we need that so badly?
The simple answer is that there is some comfort in finding a cause. If we have an answer, if we have a trigger, then we can do something with it. We can teach our children not to use drugs. We can tell them how hurtful it is for someone to be bullied. We can actively work to make sure someone else does not do anything so horrific. A reason also gives us a sense of control. You can explain it to your children with a clear understanding of why “that would never happen to us.”
But there is no why here. There is no motive. And it is the randomness of the whole thing that adds to our collective horror. It is what will make me think twice about going to a midnight premiere again. Or make me think twice about my overall safety. It’s the “you-never-know” part of life that we always knew existed but rarely had to own up to, or face. You never know when your time will come. You never know if a car will run the light while you are crossing the street. You never know if there’s a clot somewhere in your body that is headed for your brain.
You never know if someone will attack the audience in the theater you are sitting in.
I can’t make any sense of it any more than the rest of the world.
And that’s why there are no words of comfort for the survivors. Nothing to say to the families. Nothing to say to anyone. Nothing even to say here.
Nothing except, “Here’s my hand. Here’s my shoulder. Lean on me.”
Because while Colorado has been on my mind, I know it has been on the minds of virtually every person in America. And that is what reminds me that random acts of violence are random, not rampant. That the number of people who care and can mourn with perfect strangers far outweighs the number of those who choose to wreak havoc and cause pain. That knowledge is what will bring the ultimate comfort.
There is no why here, and I’m not interested in it anymore.
For now, I’m just keeping Colorado on my mind. And holding them in my heart.
And I know I am not alone in that.
And I know that is what will eventually bring me back to the midnight movies.