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Tragedy in Aurora, Colorado: Gunman Kills 12, Wounds 50 at Midnight Screening of The Dark Knight Rises


On a morning when the most we could have expected to wake up to was the news that The Dark Knight Rises had smashed midnight screening records just as its predecessor The Dark Knight had done, we are instead waking up to something very different. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims of a horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado, a neighboring city of Denver, where a man named James Holmes killed at least twelve and injured fifty people in the wee hours of the morning as their screening of The Dark Knight Rises began.

According to reports, Holmes entered the theater wearing a bullet-proof vest and gas mask, armed with tear gas, a hand gun, a rifle, and a knife. After releasing the gas into the theater, he opened fire. According to witnesses, the sounds were, for a few moments, mistaken for being part of the movie. He was apprehended behind the theater by law enforcement. Police said he did not attempt to flee or resist. According to the Denver Post, the FBI do not suspect any connection to an organized terrorist group, and as of the publication of this post no hard information on his motives has been made public.

President Obama has released what is likely to be only the first of his statements regarding 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.

Cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises were to have attended the movie’s Paris premiere today, however, Warner Bros. has cancelled the screening and all of today’s scheduled press interviews and public appearances. As of the publication of this post, Christopher Nolan and cast have not made public comment. The Mary Sue and likely many other nerds, geeks, cinemaphiles, pop culture appreciators, and simply anyone who appreciates art and the public and shared consumption of it feel particularly affected by the way this shooter has managed to take, as Alyssa Rosenberg puts it a “product of genuine enthusiasm and an expression of collective joy,” a “genuinely mass cultural event,” a moment of “shared enthusasim” and “suspension of belief,” the midnight screening, and twist it against itself.

Update: Warner Bros. has released this statement:

Warner Bros. is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.

Update: President Obama adressed the shooting in a speech this morning, and ordered flags to half mast until Wednesday.

(Many links in this story found via In Other News and The Huffington Post.)

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  • http://twitter.com/giapet gia manry

    I just woke up to this after going to a midnight screening myself here in Texas. I’m glad as many people got out as they did, and I’m horrified and saddened for the victims and their families.

  • http://twitter.com/BrightBlueInk Inky

    I live in Colorado and went to a midnight showing tonight (although not in Aurora, I went further south because that’s where friends were meeting), and found out about the shootings right after I got home and went on Facebook to talk about how much I enjoyed it. Very, very surreal thing to come home to. I have a lot of friends up there (although I think none of them were at the midnight showing, thank goodness). I’m praying for the community and all of the victims. The thought of this happening is just…horrible.

  • http://twitter.com/antiavenger Mike Perry

    This is such a piece of depressing news. What should be possibly be viewed as a good moment has a twinge of incredible (somewhat eerie) sadness to it.

  • Anonymous

    Hm, the comment connecting this to Rush was deleted before I could even reply, but I’ll reply anyway.

    ———————————-
    No. Sorry, but no.Until this guy specifically says he was inspired by Rush’s reveal of the “conspiracy” can this be connected to him in any way.
     
    And even then, this is clearly a nut.  People like this will find a “reason” to do what they do, whether it be the rantings of a person on the radio. messages they find in every fourth word of a popular novel, or the configuration of the cornflakes in that morning’s breakfast. 
     
    It didn’t REALLY have anything to do with ANY reason he eventually gives.  And if the media had any brains at all, they wouldn’t give anything he says any credence. 
     
    If his explanation references anything they have decided they’re already against, it will be repeated endlessly, and while not actually saying his ideas are correct, they will be discussed ad nauseum. 
     
    He’s a nut. Period.  Unless we discover that a specific, actually extant person gave him the guns, drove him to the theater, and told him what to do, is motivations are utterly immaterial.

  • http://twitter.com/giapet gia manry

    Agreed, but everyone will always try to make sense when faced with the senseless.

  • Anonymous

    Nothing that ANYONE says will either make sense, or attempt to have the act make sense.  It will be said to further their own agendae.

    I expect the various 11:00 newses will be FILLED with live reports from midnight showings, interviews with people asking if they;re afraid, etc.  Politicians will link it to gun ownership, violence in the media, lack of national healthcare, or anything they think will get them on TV in This Moment Of Crisis..

    It was a nut, where and why he chose to let that silicon chip inside his brain set to overload is utterly random.  It is sad that it happened here, and tragic for the people involved, but it doesn’t MEAN anything, other  than some people go crazy. 

  • Anonymous

    It’s already starting.
    “After Movie Shooting, Bloomberg Calls for Tough Gun Policy”
    http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2012/07/20/in-wake-of-movie-shooting-bloomberg-calls-for-tough-gun-policy/?mod=e2fb

  • http://twitter.com/antiavenger Mike Perry

    Yeah you’re right but politics these days is just about a series of overreactions to every serious thing that happens. Not that it’s acceptable, just something to trudge through till someone says something correct.

  • Anonymous

    Serious?

    No, it’s an overreaction to EVERYTHING that happens, IF they think they can spin it their way.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but how is that political grandstanding and not a completely logical policy response to this tragedy?

    Suggesting that “Crazies are crazy, watcha gonna do?” is the only appropriate response is just apathetic. If we make laws so the crazies can’t get their hands on guns and explosives, maybe this sort of thing stops happening.

  • Anonymous

    Part of the problem is an act like this is an elephant, and everyone is standing at different parts, saying it is like a wall, a tree trunk, a rope, or soft and mushy.

    LATER is the time to discuss why this happened, perhaps after we have some actual FACTS.  Right now, everyone is simply trying to get their faces (and ideas) on TV, and the media is reporting them all, in the hopes you’ll stay tuned, hopefully through the commercial breaks.

  • Anonymous

    OK, if your objection is to the timing then I think that’s fair. We agree.

    As long as LATER comes eventually, and we collectively sit down and have this much-needed conversation. Taking steps to stop this sort of thing from happening is practical, not political.

  • Anonymous

     Funnily enough, people say this every time there’s a gun massacre. “Now is not the time for political arguments.” The same thing happened after the shootings at Virginia Tech and in Tucson. But that time never actually comes. Each time, the media spend a few days talking about how awful and tragic it is, and then move on to something else. The political discussion never happens.

    If immediately after a gun massacre *isn’t* the appropriate time to discuss gun laws, when *is*? The simple fact is, as long as no one wants to talk about the issue, these killings will keep on happening.

    The Onion has a rather good take on this:
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/sadly-nation-knows-exactly-how-colorado-shootings,28857/

  • Linda Radomsky

    To quote a somewhat well-known butler: “Some people just want to watch the world burn.”

  • Anonymous

     If Batman begins had also been marred with tragedy, I would say these movies are cursed. Dark Knight had Heath Ledger’s death, nearly right before opening night, and now a shooting the night of Dark Knight Rises. I have to feel a bit for Nolan, it must be horrible to have your work marred by such tragedy.

  • http://twitter.com/ironduck Addie/Annie D

    It’s so terrible to see something like this happens. 

    What was supposed to be a great night for the people of Aurora, twisted into something sick, twisted & horrible. 

    I give my thoughts & prayers to the families &  community  of Aurora. 

  • http://www.wordflow.webs.com/ Invisible_Jester89

    Obama talked about it because Obama is a nerd like us. ;3 The man loves Spider-Man and Conan.

  • http://www.wordflow.webs.com/ Invisible_Jester89

    Obama talked about it because Obama is a nerd like us. ;3 The man loves Spider-Man and Conan.

  • http://www.wordflow.webs.com/ Invisible_Jester89

    I’m glad you chose to go further south and are around to comment today. I can’t imagine how much your friends in Aurora must be grieving right now. They are in my thoughts.

  • http://www.wordflow.webs.com/ Invisible_Jester89

    I’m glad you chose to go further south and are around to comment today. I can’t imagine how much your friends in Aurora must be grieving right now. They are in my thoughts.