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Tragically Close to Home - Aurora Theater Shooting

Updated on July 26, 2012

Senseless and Seemingly Unpreventable

My daughter and her boyfriend went to the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" last night. I am a concerned mother always - probably too protective, and often checking too much to make sure that my kids are safe. I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. cleaning until they made it home safely.

They had contemplated going to the movie in the Denver area. Aurora is a suburb of Denver, and only 65 miles from our home. I have driven past The Century 16 Theater many times. My daughter's boyfriend went to see the midnight premiere of "Captain America" last summer at The Century 16. He explained this morning that if circumstances had been just slightly different, if my daughter hadn't wanted to see the movie, he could easily have chosen to go with his friend to the midnight screening at the Century 16 in Aurora this morning.

This is real. This is close, and I am devastated and praying as I write, for the families in agony today, over the loss of dear ones.

Reach out and show you care...

The feelings you have when something like this happens - horror and helplessness. The helplessness, the torture of wishing you could somehow turn back time to prevent it, hits you in the gut like a ton of bricks, one at a time, over and over throughout the days following such violence. Twelve dead. Fifty-eight injured. Seventy victims makes this the largest mass shooting in American history.

I feel too stunned to write, but I also feel compelled to speak to this horrifying event.

We've watched these things on the news over and over. Immediately I wonder what is to blame? Is it just that evil exists and we have to accept it? Are there gun control laws that could have prevented it? Why are there individuals that seemingly leave NO warning signals before they emotionally explode into a world-shattering act of unspeakable terrorism? Or are the signals there, if we'd only pay close enough attention for our own collective good?

How do we recover? How do we move forward?

I don't begin to pretend that I have the answers, except to believe that at the core most people are loving and good. That is the greatest hope for the future that we have.

I heard one brave and caring 22-year old woman, Jennifer Seeger, (who survived the shooting) said on the news today, that she wished she could have taken a bullet for the baby that was injured. Thankfully, the 4-month old she spoke of is safe at home this evening.

Maybe if we asked questions more often - reached out to hurting people more - noticed when people are closing off from society and imploding in on themselves in a dangerous obsessive pattern of behavior - maybe then we would begin to grow more sensitive to the warning signs.

I don't know.

I just strongly feel that we should be learning something from this.


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    • heavenleigh707 profile imageAUTHOR

      Heaven L Burkes 

      6 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      BraveWarrior - So hard to make sense of the senseless things that happen in this world. I agree. I don't know the answer.

      I love what you say about just shining our light though! Thank you for your brightness and heart of gold!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Heaven, I don't know where the answers lie. We can say we should have paid more attention, we should have reached out, but in the end we cannot blame ourselves. I don't know why these atrocities occur. It's frightening that our would has come to a point where one must constantly be wary of the "what ifs". Why are some souls so tortured they feel compelled to torture others? Is there a residing evil that won't allow them to turn for help? Or even recognize they need help? I don't think this kind of mindset is something those of us who cannot fathom the thoughts that travel through the mind of those who do harm to others can recognize, let alone reach out to help.

      These catastrophic tragedies seem to be happening more and more. Sadly, I think all we can do, individually, is to keep God in our hearts and actions and pray those who do not know Him will not reach so deeply into the depths of the opposite pole so as to harm others before seeking answers.

      We must band as one in the name of Jesus Christ and create a fortress which allows us to live life without fear. There is power in prayer. There is vulnerability in doubt and fear.

      Somehow, we must move forward and set as positive examples as we can. I think that's all we can do as humans with good intentions.

    • heavenleigh707 profile imageAUTHOR

      Heaven L Burkes 

      6 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Denise, thank you so much for your insightful thoughts. Yes, it isn't feasible to go around looking for the next mass murderer in order to help them and prevent this again. Good point. I see it more as an intention and energy we can send out into the world - of caring a little more, perhaps.

      Some who are withdrawn or obsessive would never resort to violence and terror, except toward themselves. It's just a general "reaching out" that I feel compelled toward. Yes, holding our dear ones a little nearer - and appreciating life more - very good things to learn. Thank you again for the wisdom of your comments. ~h~

    • denisevirostek profile image


      6 years ago from Richmond, VA

      I also believe that people are inherently good. What I don't believe is the idea that we should keep a close eye on people who seem detached from society....or a bit different from everyone else. Many people go through this detachment, but that isn't to say they are going to shoot up a theater. Things happen. Lives change. We can't walk on eggshells because of it. For someone THAT hell-bent on killing people, there was nothing that could've stopped him. I know you said you weren't sure what the cause was. This is just what I believe. So, regardless if some believe it could have been prevented, or others do not, it is still a great tragedy. For me it is just another reason to feel blessed to be alive and to have my family safe as well. If anything, I think through these awful incidents, we should all learn to appreciate our lives more.

    • heavenleigh707 profile imageAUTHOR

      Heaven L Burkes 

      6 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Dear ShiningIrishEyes, Thank you so much for your kind and compassionate comments. Yes, you put it perfectly. A few simple decisions can be life changing, and I am keenly aware that it could just as easily have been my daughter there.

      Sometimes it is very frustrating to have "the sight" - or whatever the best term would be. I had so many signs of foreboding that day, but not in enough detail to change anything of the horrific outcome. My heart hurts for the parents who lost their children. They are all our children in a sense. I don't know how I would possibly heal from such a loss.

      Thank you again for your loving words. I believe that our thoughts and prayers do energetically reach them. Much love and many blessings to you and yours, ~h~

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Devastating - absolutely devastating and I am sadden by the misery inflicted on so many innocent victims.

      I am also glad to hear your daughter and her boyfriend chose a different location.

      It is a case of "There but for the grace of God, go I".

      I send my prayers and condolences to all the victims and their loved ones.

      Blessings to you as well my friend with the unique "enlightened soul". I get the feeling you can see a bit farther into areas than the rest of us? Or is my intuition mistaking me? Perhaps a thin veil that you have the capability of lifting? Maybe I'm wrong and if I am, I apologize.

      Sending sincerest blessings friend.

    • heavenleigh707 profile imageAUTHOR

      Heaven L Burkes 

      6 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Thank you Snakeslane, for sending love. My shock is just how close it came to my family, and feeling the pain and anguish of others. I can only imagine how those who actually lost family members must be feeling. I hope we can evolve enough as people to figure out how to get in the flow of preventing things like this in the future. Many thanks for your loving spirit.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Hello heavenleigh, I can imagine this article must have been very difficult for you to write as you are in shock, and feeling so much pain for the families suffering today. Thank you for opening up the conversation. I wish like you, we could just turn back the clock to yesterday, it is so difficult to comprehend. I am happy that you are able to report your children are safe from harm. This is truly a nightmare. I share your grief, and distress. Regards, snakeslane

    • heavenleigh707 profile imageAUTHOR

      Heaven L Burkes 

      6 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Thank you Mike. I am deeply hurting for them, yes. It could be any of us, and it feels in a way, as if they are my children too. When you think about how someone you love could have easily been there and been lost from this world, God! It is a strange feeling. So much love going out to hurting families tonight. Thank you for commenting and sending love to them too.

    • mckbirdbks profile image


      6 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      heaven thank you for this presentation. You are wise to worry about the safety of your children. Thankfully they were spared from this tragic event. This 'hit' close to home and I can tell it has had a great impact on you. Our hearts go out to the families that were not so lucky.

    • heavenleigh707 profile imageAUTHOR

      Heaven L Burkes 

      6 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Thank you so much Sunshine 625. Much love to you. Blessings to keep you and your grandbabies safe always. ~h~

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      This tragic event was very close to you Heaven. It's so unfortunate for the lives that were lost and the fear that the survivors felt. The memories of this tragedy will forever be etched in their minds.

      I'm glad your daughter and her boyfriend are safe. I understand the worry and concern of a mother. I now have that worry and concern as a grandmother. Thank you for writing this article to give others a chance to discuss their feelings.


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