This is absolutely despicable and the kind of horror you could never imagine: Last night, Batman fans gathered in a Colorado movie theater for a midnight screening of the hotly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises, but partway through the film a gunman entered the theater and began shooting. By the time police apprehended 24-year-old James Holmes, twelve people were dead and at least fifty injured. Many of the victims were children.
President Obama has already released a statement about the shooting:
Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.
The cast was supposed to attend The Dark Knight Rises‘ Paris premiere today, but Warner Bros. has cancelled all appearances and interviews for today.
The most chilling aspect of this story is the notion that the gunman very carefully chose the setting. According to reports, Holmes walked into the screening wearing a riot helmet, goggles, and bullet-proof vest… not unlike the homemade Batman costumes many fans wore to the event. When he shot at the ceiling, moviegoers at first thought that it was part of the movie, but after he threw a gas can into the audience, they knew that it was real. And of course, this was a setting guaranteed to have many children; all of the reports include at least one quote about the children that lay dead in the aisles. I have no words for how awful this is.
Holmes hasn’t revealed his motive, though police have determined that he probably isn’t connected to any sort of terrorist organization. I wouldn’t be surprised if pundits start blaming the movie, with its Occupy Wall Street subplot and common man’s army led by Bane, for influencing Holmes. For the moment, however, all we can do is extend our condolences to the families struck by this tragedy.
Update: Here’s a photo of Holmes, who of course looks like a normal, happy guy. But at the shooting, apparently his costume was meant to reflect The Joker, not Bane.
Photo: Warner Bros.