COMMENTARY | Bleary-eyed (as always in the 4 a.m. hour), I wandered into the office and logged into my email account. As is often the case, I wondered why we hadn't opened the windows to reduce the effects of oppressive July Aurora heat.
Before analyzing that thought, I noticed a jarring and almost unbelievable news item: 12 shot dead at Aurora Mall Theater. This was the theater complex less than a mile from our home.
My first thought was about my stepson and his fiancée who often enjoy midnight movies. But I was (almost completely) confident that he was working last night and couldn't have been there.
Then the news and contacts came flooding in by all electronic media. As news of the tragedy spread throughout the country, everyone who knew my Aurora address needed to be reassured of our safety. By this time, it couldn't have been a hoax or inaccurate reporting. There was only the overwhelming wish that it had been.
The Columbine event occurred to many of us, by virtue of number of victims and senselessness of the action. Is it human nature to wonder about motive? Probably so. As was the case with Columbine, however, the motive was of less significance than the outcome.
This had one other horrible and nearly inexplicable similarity to Columbine. The entire community, Aurora and beyond, shares an all-encompassing sense of grief.
A three-month-old child was riddled with bullets. Someone's aunt was shot in the leg. A co-worker had canceled plans to be at the theater last night. Although there is no guilt associated with the lack of personal loss, the emotional, spiritual and human damage to our community is palpable.
Finally I knew the truth about why the windows were not left open. The sound of ambulances would have punctuated, dramatized and further defined the frightening reality of this disaster. And perhaps being spared the several hours of alarm was one of few (small) blessings to be celebrated
On a higher level, the amount of concern expressed by friends and family teaches a more profound lesson. In spite of the triggering event, I was presented a view of the care for my family and me that I might never have known.