Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices


    Aurora, CO

    For five days now, I’ve been wondering what to say. Some would surmise that in an event like this that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing as there is no need for (additional) commentary and conspiracy theories from the masses. To be honest I wasn’t going to say anything about what happened in Colorado because anything I wanted to say or could say was trite and cliche at best though well-meaning. But, really, who cares at a time like this.

    That is until yesterday when I popped over to a few blogs and on Twitter and noticed a trend that had started the day of the shooting and will be something to be argued and debated until we know why this happened. I believe that in the face of pure evil, we wonder what could drive the perpetrator to act in such a horrific fashion. Until we know why we can only wait and speculate. And speculating is what we humans are most excellent at.

    The posts in question all dealt with 'victim shaming' or whether or not a child of six years of age or three months old should have been at that particular movie - The Dark Knight Rises - at that particular time - midnight. Perhaps it’s because I am not a parent that this isn’t immediately where my mind went in the aftermath of the shooting. My first thoughts were “Oh God...”. Followed by stunned silence and, as I mentioned before, wondering how and why.

    One would think that as a single person that I wouldn’t want children in the same theater as I. And you would be correct for the most part. While I love children - and I really, really, do - I tend to be that grumpy asshole who sighs deeply when I see a toddler about to sit near me on a plane. Something about confined spaces and being disturbed when all I really want to do is get to my destination. Under normal circumstances I would make sure I lived up to being a real single, childless, asshole and make some remark on Twitter. Under normal circumstances being asinine is accepted.

    What happened last Friday wasn’t normal. In the aftermath I am far less concerned about why a child was in a movie theater and more concerned as to why there aren’t proper protections and safeguards in place to prevent the sale of assault weapons to the general public. There is a difference between being allowed to bear arms and having what amounts to gearing up for World War III in your apartment. Then there’s the case of ‘concealed carry’. The argument here is that if other members of the audience had a weapon on them, then they would have stopped the perpetrator. Never mind (and I know that what I’m about to state has already been said) that it was a dark movie theater with tear gas and one gunman firing so of course adding another gunman to the mix wouldn’t have created an insurmountable amount of chaos.

    But issuing stricter gun control legislation for a state or nationally are far more difficult to comprehend or to make happen. It’s barely even tangible as, let’s face it, Congress is far too politically divergent right now to take such a divisive vote. Then there’s that pesky health care situation where despite mandates for mental health parity they often only apply to group/employer-based plans and only if there are over 50 employees. Despite some coverage you cannot force people to address their mental health issues until it becomes too late and/or a public problem.

    The reality here is that nothing can be done about the larger problem at hand (guns, mental health). The larger problem at hand requires an act of Congress and an act of Congress, in this day in age, requires an act of God. But if you’re up for learning how to lobby, I am totally down. What can be controlled is where our children are and when and with whom. In times of distress where many find comfort is in what is perceived to be preventable. In the case of Aurora, what is preventable is making sure that one’s six year old or three month old is not at the movie theater after ten. It’s not the most important issue here but it is, by far, the easiest to deal with.

    I’m at a loss for how to end this just as I was at a loss for days when it came to describing my feelings about the unthinkable. It is what it is, I suppose. Until we can change the big things, we can focus on the smaller issues that hit closer to home. That doesn’t make it right or appropriate but it’s the least we can do. For now.

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    Reader Comments (1)

    Those children had every right to be there; their parents had every right to have them there. Maybe the Dad works odd hours and wanted to take the toddler. Maybe they needed to be there together.
    And the three month old? Maybe it's the first time Mom and Dad have been out together since baby made three. Maybe that baby has been up all damn night for three months.
    That's the answer - big brother tells us when and where we can & can't take our children/infants out in public.

    July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

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