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Colorado Shooting

September 20, 2012

The National event I will be writing about is the Aurora shooting in Colorado, during the midnight release of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” In this horrific incident, a man by the name of James Egan Holmes, dressed in costume and stormed into a movie theater and went on a rampage, firing weapons into the crowd and killing 12 people and injuring 58 others before things came to an end. Now, this is a movie I was very much looking forward to, and these reports cause my mom into trying to talk me out of seeing it. Her talking didn’t work, as it is the Final installment of the Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan, and I had already planned to go see the movie a few days after this shooting occurred, and I didn’t want to let this change my plans.

I first heard about this event from a friend and I immediately checked yahoo news (via my iphone). The article I read was filled with VERY detailed first hand accounts of what had happened, but a lot things hadn’t been confirmed yet as the investigation was still going on. Initial reports said that a man in orange, dressed up as bane (a character in the movie), stormed in, threw smoke grenades, and started firing fully automatic rifles into a helpless audience.  Many people, according to the article, had originally thought it was part of a special skit or real life special effect put together by the theater for the midnight release, and therefore didn’t get out of the way or try to escape. I remember the article quoting a person in the theater at the time saying they initially didn’t know what was going on, and as the man threw the smoke grenades into the crowd, he thought it was all part of the act.  Not much else was known, so most of the story was centered around the actual events, and not much on the shooter himself.

Later that day after I had gone home I saw the story on the news. By this time more details had come out, and there was a clearer picture of what happened. They showed a picture of the shooter on TV, and I could now clearly see what he looked like. Compared to the first time I read about it on Yahoo, it didn’t “wow” me as much as when I was reading the first hand accounts. It seemed much more crazy and dramatic in my mind as I imagined an intimidating man, tall and buff, wearing an scary mask, charging in and picking off people one by one. In a way, my mind was making it overly dramatic – almost like a movie, but the news really brought it back into reality. To me it was much more scary reading it than watching it on TV. Although it was scarier reading it, it really hit home after watching it on TV. It was very saddening seeing all the horror left behind and all the devastation that was caused to the families and friends of the deceased. It was not “movie scary” this time – it was more shocking and sad.

Both forms of media (TV and radio) really hyped up this attack, and put a scare into the people watching and reading about this incident. Many news agencies had mentioned how the film could have inspired the man to do what he did, and how it was possible to have copycats. This scared people who had planned to watch the film into staying home, and the movie took a huge hit revenue wise. Instantly theaters reacted, they talked about, and eventually did ban costumes, including masks and fake weapons. Costumes make up a large part of midnight releases and launch events, so there was a lot of controversy about this, especially since all evidence pointed to this being an isolated incident. This incident also brought some forth discussions about gun control, but they didn’t really go far in that direction.

From both the original story I had read, and the more detailed story on TV later, both reported on the horrific aftermath of this man’s actions and what resulted from it, but both of them were very much talking about the movie itself. Instead of taking this story and using it to start discussions on gun control and much needed help for the mentally ill, they ended up talking about how this would hurt Hollywood. The way the news agencies spun the story does not help the people at all, but all it did was advertise for the movie. This is detrimental to the people, because instead of taking this tragic incident and using it to help the community, all it did was scare a few people into not seeing the movie. So much more could have been done. 

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