Reflections on the Aurora Tragedy

At this point in my life, few things surprise me.  I feel like I have seen enough, done enough, and experienced enough to have a good handle on what we as humans are capable of.  However, when I turned on the news on Friday, I was surprised and disturbed to hear about the movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO.

Like most people, I had never heard of Aurora, CO.  I was later made aware via Twitter that a friend of mine lives there and had actually turned down an invitation to attend that ill-fated screening of The Dark Knight Rises at the Century 16.  (In my defense, I always knew that she lived in a Denver suburb.  I just never knew the name of it.)   The whole scenario made me begin to think of how many things in life I take for granted on a regular basis.  After all, none of those twelve people who died believed that their lives would end as a result of a night at the movies.

At the time I heard about the shooting, I was already a bit preoccupied.  I knew that my mother, my cousin, and several women from my old church were flying to Miami for a women’s retreat that would be taking place during a cruise to the Bahamas.  Although I fly pretty often, the fact remains that I am still pretty uneasy about the concept of being in midair.  Truth be told, I am probably more prayerful when I am flying than when I am on land.  Plus, it was raining that morning.  Rain and flights do not go well together.  I was awaiting news that my mom and my cousin had landed safely in Miami when I first learned of the incident.

It was at that moment that I realized how irrational I had been with my specific flying-related anxieties.  The unfortunate reality is that we all can die at any time in any place.  In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter whether we are flying, going to the movies, or even walking down the street.  (I have a cousin whose leg had to be amputated after a police patrol vehicle jumped the curb and pinned her against a wall during what had been a relaxing walk downtown.  While the incident occurred several decades ago, it still haunts her and her children to this day.)  God is the only one who knows for sure when our lives will come to an end.

For now, I am coming to terms with the fact that I need to learn to trust God more.  I have a habit of becoming worried about little things like finances (and on rare occasions whether or not my high standards for relationships will lead to perpetual singleness), but I need to have the faith to believe that the same God who faithfully takes care of me through the unseen dangers that I regularly take for granted will also take care of me through the few bad things that he allows me to see.

The people of Aurora, CO, will be in my prayers.  Their quiet suburb has been thrown into the public eye for being the location of the worst mass shooting in American history.  This tragic incident will always be a part of their collective history and is already being manipulated for political purposes by both conservatives and liberals.  It is my hope that the people of Aurora, CO will be able to heal in peace without people attempting to use these tragic events in order to further their own personal agendas.  Unfortunately, our society doesn’t seem to work like that anymore.

The gunman James Holmes needs prayer as well as a full mental evaluation.  He went from a shy, promising PhD student to a calculated, maniacal killer who was quoted as identifying himself as the Joker.  It is clear that a lot of hatred and animosity will be directed toward James Holmes and his family because of the magnitude of his actions.  While such hatred may be merited, I have learned from experience that continual hatred hurts more than just the target of such hate.  For that reason, I will also be praying that all of those people who have been adversely affected by this shooting will muster the courage to forgive James Holmes someday.

Before I end this post, I cannot forget the twelve people who ultimately lost their lives as a result of James Holmes’ actions.

Jonathan Blunk, 26

Alexander Boik, 18

Jesse Childress, 29

Gordon Cowden, 51

Jessica Ghawi, 24

John Larimer, 27

Matt McQuinn, 27

Micayla Medek, 23

Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6

Alex Sullivan, 27

Alexander Teves, 24

Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32

Please keep their loved ones in prayer.

For more information on the victims, check out this article from Time.com.

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About Spencer

Spencer T. Clayton is a typical millennial who believed his mother when she told him that he was capable of accomplishing great things (and as a result has amassed a large amount of student loan debt). When he isn’t blogging, he is either out with friends, writing and performing music, or busy working as an Executive Pastor and Consultant while simultaneously pursuing a PhD in Public Affairs.

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