Last week our nation woke up to the news of the massacre at the midnight showing of the Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado. We have enjoyed many "Midnight Madness" evenings at our local Met Cinema and many local charities have benefited from those early showings of anticipated movies. They are fun events.
It is interesting to look at such a horrific event and witness the reactions as we all come to grips with the reality of the tragedy. First shock and then anger, disbelief and anger, a search for a reason and anger, a desire for vengeance and then a demand for justice. Amongst all those emotions comes other emotions. I think parents hugged their children a little tighter the next day.
We look at the troubles in our own lives and most pale in comparison to the events in Aurora. We try to make sense of it and many of us turn to prayer for the victims and their families. We need to also pray for those who have had to care for the wounded and the dead as the images will linger in their memories. I find my self also praying for the parents of the accused gunman. They must be going through a hellish experience and they never would have thought that their child would ever have planned such a thing.
When many of us turn to prayers for the victims as well as those involved in other ways we find ourselves wondering why events such as these happen and many of us are asked why God allows such things to happen. The answer is simple: we don't know why these things happen except that there is evil in the world.
Aurora wasn't being punished by God and those folks who simply went to the theater that evening were not being punished with a death sentence or serious injuries. They simply happened to be in a spot where a young man decided to perpetrate his evil acts upon innocent people. I don't think he would be described as legally insane but I think he was evil.
So the question comes down to why? When my wife developed cancer 19 years ago and people asked her why she thought she got cancer she simply stated there really wasn't a "why" but more of a "just is." When my Uncle Al died on his 49th birthday and I wondered why God allowed this to happen to a wonderful man the priest replied back, "Why not your Uncle Al?" There are no guarantees of safety for believers.
My faith helps me through these troubling times. Most people find the same strength within their faith and we find ourselves praying for understanding as well as healing and healing mercies for those involved.
We have seen photo after photo of folks gathering to pray together as well as holding vigils for the victims and the families. We have seen the studios cease the advertisements of movies and the presidential campaigns in Colorado have been placed on hold. President Obama rightfully flew into Aurora and met with the families and addressed the citizens of Colorado.
We have started to see the media bringing on experts who will try to explain what the motives were in this senseless killing spree and then there will be the people who will want to turn it into a political issue.
Now is the time for all of us to recognize that there is good and evil in the world and while there is far more good we must deal with those who are evil.
The girl who almost opened the gunman's apartment door was spared being killed. Her not opening the door saved that building and all the residents who lived there. Maybe there was divine intervention and maybe there wasn't but she sure is convinced there was.
It is a time to reflect on our blessings and it is a time to recognize what really matters in our lives.
Now we need to pray for healing for the victims and their town. We need to allow our great justice system to handle the legal issues and we need to make sure to honor the victims and not make the killer into a celebrity.
This month we are all citizens of Aurora.
Keep them in your prayers.