No easy answers in massacre

Published 12:06 pm Saturday, July 21, 2012

When the news flashed across television screens on Friday morning, our hearts skipped a beat.

A shooter had opened fire in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. Panic, fear, and death ensued.

In the hours that passed, the story unfolded. Police had captured the shooter – 24-year-old James Holmes – and begun the process of disarming he booby traps and explosives from his apartment, in an attempt to find answers and end his swath of terror.

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By day’s end, the toll became staggeringly evident: 70 people had been shot, 12 of them fatally. It had become one of the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history.

In an world desensitized by violence, Friday’s massacre served as a jarring, undeniable event. Unsuspecting innocents – children, teenagers, adults – trapped in an enclosed theater and maniacally murdered by someone who looks, well, like the guy next door.

Our minds search for answers, for an explanation. Our guts burn for justice. And our hearts break in agony for the victims, their families, and the untold others whose lives are forever altered by this event.

Of course, answers escape us. Reason holds no comfort and anger serves only to give voice to our emotion, albeit a necessary voice at times.

Debates will arise, as they always do, and public discourse will discuss everything from gun control to public safety concerns. None of that will change what has happened, or what we can do today to cope.

What we can do is pray – unceasingly – for the victims, for their families, even for the shooter whose demons drove him to this act. And, most importantly, for peace and healing.