I'm Still Scared To Go Into Movie Theaters Six Years After The Aurora, CO Shooting

I'm Still Scared To Go Into Movie Theaters Six Years After The Aurora, CO Shooting

America, we have a people problem.
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On July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred in Aurora, CO at a movie theater. If you're familiar with the news and what happened back then, you would know that 12 people were killed, and nearly 70 people were injured. All because they chose to go to a movie and enjoy their night.

In 2012, I was 14 years old. I am now 20 years old and still petrified to go to a movie theatre for fear that someone will come in and gun down me, my friends, or my family who happen to be watching the movie with me. SIX YEARS LATER and I am still scared to go to a movie theatre because of an incident that happened thousands of miles away from me.

All I want to do is sit down and an enjoy a movie in a theatre, but I can't. I can't because someone chose to ruin that for me by being a murderer with a gun. I fear for my family and all of the other people around me when I am in a theatre. What if it happens to us in this theatre I sit and wonder. What if that person has a weapon? What if that person who just came back in went to get a gun?

All of these fears are perfectly rational for anyone who heard about the shooting. I can't imagine being a person in/around/near the theatre when it occurred. I know they have it far worse than I do, and for that reason my heart aches for them. No one should fear a fun night out at a movie theatre.

On February 14, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 17 people were murdered because of someone with a gun. All because they chose to GO TO SCHOOL THAT DAY. How insane does that sound? 17 people were MURDERED because they happened to be at school that day.

Not because they were enjoying a movie. Not because they were having leisure time. These people were at SCHOOL a place they have to be to gain education and become tolerant and knowledgeable human beings in this world.

A safe haven for a lot of kids, a place to learn and to grow. A place to socialize and enjoy their time. School. It took 6 minutes for 17 people to be ruthlessly murdered. All because they were at school that day.

On May 18, 2018, 3 months and 4 days after the shooting in Parkland, there was a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School. 10 people were murdered because of a kid with a gun. All because they chose to go to school that day. 10 people will never wake up and get to go inside a school again because of someone with a gun.

I can NOT fathom how it is for those students to attempt to go back to school. Any odd sound makes them cringe. A loud noise induces a wince. PTSD for these students and faculty has to be all too real. Because someone with a gun ruined their safe haven.

Their place of learning.

A place where most students and teachers go to learn and help students blossom. I can't imagine how impossible it is to go back to normal after a shooting occurs at your school. I was nowhere near the shooting in the theatre in Colorado, but it still scares me.

Now, sit back and think for a second— if that scares me and I was thousands of miles away and it was almost six years ago— how do these kids feel? Children and teachers all across the nation are afraid to go to school because of the thought— what if we are next? What if the next shooting is us? Just like I think about movie theatres.

This is wrong.

This is ABSURD for us as Americans to have this issue in our schools, theatres, etc. No one should be afraid to attend school for fear of someone showing up with a weapon and killing them.

Students should be able to attend school and the biggest worry should be hating lunch that day. No one should have to implement a plan for an active shooter. No student should have to think "Wow, when is a shooting going to happen at my school? It's only a matter of time."

I think we should start to focus on the people impacted by these shootings. How are they? How traumatized are they? What can we do to fix this issue that is only getting worse? No child should be afraid to attend a place of learning.

America, we have a people problem.

Cover Image Credit: WIkimedia

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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