For most of us, going to the show is an escape. We can laugh or cry or be scared silly—all in a safe environment where we know that nothing can really harm us. When you think about it, violence has always played a major role in the movies: combat soldiers waging war, Wild West outlaws living on the edge, machine-gun-toting gangsters taking each other out, fearless cowboys defending the open range . And let’s not forget those menacing monsters that shake us up with nothing more than their frightening faces.As early as 1903, director Edwin S. Porter scared spectators in ‘The Great Train Robbery’ when he filmed a close-up of a gun firing (minus the bang) straight into the audience. The paying public had never seen anything like it. Despite the lack of sound, they came back again and again just to experience the thrill. And that’s always been the fun of it until one day in late July 2012 when a real gunman took away the safety factor. Even my daughter says she has not been to the show since the shooting.
Aurora’s theater remains closed and surrounded by yellow caution tape. A nearby memorial erected by the locals still attracts visitors. Some come to pay their respects while others just want to satisfy a morbid curiosity. City officials have asked Aurora residents what they feel should be done with the building, but no decisions have been made at this time. The shooter remains jailed as the legal process unfolds. Twelve families mourn, 58 victims recover and, as for the rest of us, we just wonder why.