There are certain things we do in life in which we should have some degree of confidence and security that a good, perhaps even boring, time may be had.
Going to school. Eating a sandwich on an airplane while perusing Sky Mall magazine. Taking our kids to an amusement park. Buying toilet paper at the local Walmart. Excitedly settling in to the midnight showing of a much anticipated movie.
These things should be able to be counted on for excitement, a laugh or three, or even a yawn.
Columbine and Virginia Tech put paid to the notion that heading off to school is an innocent endeavor.
Sewing needles in sandwiches last week brought our thoughts that airplane food is bland crashing to the ground.
A fun trip to a Six Flags earned a young girl two prosthetic feet when a cable snapped and took hers with it.
Gunfire in the Walmart in College Station (where Culley shops) made Mr. Whipple change his famous line to "Please don't squeeze the trigger."
And last night, excited moviegoers needed the very hero they paid to watch on the big screen to materialize and take down the bad guy.
Unfortunately, Batman isn't real, but the bad guy and his bullets were.
While reports vary on casualties, this morning's estimate is that 12 people are confirmed dead, and 58 more are recovering from injuries received when a lone gunman entered a darkened movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, threw a smoke bomb, and opened fire.
James Holmes, the murderer, who we will surely learn far more about in the upcoming days, shot with impunity - his victims and those injured range in age from 4 months to 45 years old.
Motive? Who knows? And honestly, knowing won't bring back those 12 people who excitedly set out for a night of innocent moviegoing, some popcorn, and perhaps some handholding in the dark.
Over the next few weeks, until this story does what all stories do - fade away - much will be made of the peripheral issues:
~ Who the hell brings a 4 month old to a midnight showing of Batman? Seriously, people, the number of small children in that theater is testament to a bunch of adults with ME ME ME syndrome. Get a babysitter, or wait for the DVD if the best you can do is drag a small, sleepy child out at midnight because YOU CAN'T WAIT.
~ Gun control: already the battle is raging on comment boards. Those who say we need MORE guns because surely in a dark movie theater amid chaos, an armed citizen could have taken the gunman out without more injuries. Right, Rambo. Unless an armed citizen was pretty much directly beside or behind this piece of shit, one clean shot was not likely to happen. And as nearly every person who was in the theater has stated, they thought it was either a prank or part of the show. Fast forward to real bullets, real blood, mass panic, and dead bodies.
Then there is the other side, using this to advance the issue that guns are too readily available, too easy to get.
Personally, I fall into the latter group. Guns ARE too easy to obtain. I am all for a person's right to protect themself, I am, but I am also for making it harder to get a weapon. If you are a decent, responsible citizen, you should have no issue with a longer waiting period, or a more intensive background check.
Guns aside, it is James Holmes who did the deed. Insane? Mentally wobbly? Just plain mean?
Again, who knows.
The fact is 12 people lay in a morgue. 38 more lay and ponder the luck that keeps them breathing.
And all the answers in the world won't change the facts that nowhere is safe these days, and that we can never know when our own dark night will fall.
May they all rest in peace.