Archived Story

Will it ever end

Published 10:35am Saturday, July 21, 2012

It’s hard to sit in front of my computer today and think about much else besides the tragedy that took place in Aurora, Colo., early Friday morning.

At least a dozen innocent lives were lost and scores of others were scarred forever because someone lost their mind and decided to shoot up a crowded movie theater.

We don’t yet know much about the perpetrator or what motivated him to commit such an atrocity, and frankly, I don’t really care. Because regardless of what triggered in his brain or unraveled in his personal life, several families will spend the rest of their days missing a brother or sister or mother or father or son or daughter.

It’s a tragedy of the highest order.

Our hearts are broken for those who lost someone and for those who were injured or bore witness to the event and will bear the physical and emotional scars for a lifetime.

I think of all the times I have sat with my children in a darkened movie theater eating popcorn and drinking sodas, and how horrifying it must have been the instant their world erupted into violent chaos.

I am also saddened by my lack of surprise that this has happened again.

Thirteen years ago, when two troubled teenagers went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School 15 miles away from where Friday’s movie theater killings took place, the world came to a screeching halt. It was inconceivable, at least to me, that something so brutal and horrific could happen anywhere, let alone in a school full of children.

I was absolutely stunned, as were many of you I suppose, by the images of children fleeing their school, some bloodied and running for their lives. I was captivated by the television coverage and the stories that came out of that gruesome event.

I can still vividly recall the father of one victim holding hands with the brother of another as they gave a television interview together the day after the shooting. I distinctly remember thinking that they were two of the most courageous people I had ever seen; two strangers who chose to face the world together, forever bound together by tragedy and indescribable grief.

As did many of you, I mourned not only for the loss of innocent lives, but also for the fact that our world had become a place where that kind of a tragedy could occur. I prayed that it would never happen again.

But of course it has, again, and again, and again.

In a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Pennsylvania. At an immigrant community center in New York. On the campus of Virginia Tech. On an island in Norway. In a kindergarten classroom in Scotland. And now, in a movie theater in Colorado.

When I first woke up Friday morning and my wife told me what had happened the night before, the first thing that struck me was that sinking feeling in my gut.

What struck me next was how eerily familiar that feeling had become. The loss of innocent life to mass violence is the worst kind of human tragedy.

The fact that it now happens with such regularity is not far behind.

TONY CLARK is the associate publisher at The Tidewater News. He can be reached at

  • bobs94

    Blaming guns for something like this is the equivalent to blaming cars for drunk driving deaths. And no one is suggesting extreme measures on car ownership and there have been far more people killed in this manner.

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  • bobs94

    Actually the people at Ruby Ridge faired quite well. Gun control is not the answer here. Punishing 100′s of millions of citizens because some nut shot up a movie theater will solve nothing. There will always be ways to cause massive casualties at public gatherings. If you recall, the 9/11 attacks were committed using cheap and widely available box knives. There were bombings that used fuel and fertilizer. Should we regulate these as well? Placing the blame on the weapons and devices used is backwards.

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  • chilimac72

    Well isn’t that just fitting. We finally hear a case of a legal gun owner committing a crime and that justifies all the anti-gun criticisms. Because we know that only those with the legal guns commit crimes.

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  • Makalani

    The only problem with taking up residence at the local dog pound is overcrowding. Euthanasia at the hands of the govt would probably come a lot sooner than many would like. So we can scratch the dog pound as a “safe” place to live.

    Probably the farthest thing from the people’s minds who went to that theater was dying at the hands of some gunnut!

    Should their deaths cause us to become paranoid and look for a “safe place to live?” Of course not — that‘s an absurd notion! We use normal precautions — get on with our lives and let the chips fall where they may. Death strikes so arbitrarily and capriciously only a fool would live his /her life in fear of dying!

    With the exception of 9/11 — the govt has done a pretty admirable job of protecting us from foreign enemies. A well-armed citizenry with their “arms and powder magazines” would have been about as useful in repelling that threat as the entire US Army!

    As far as protecting our freedoms from the govt — many are sitting around on cases of ammo armed-to-the teeth gripping their guns while their freedoms are being taken away with the tips of ballpoint pens — not the tips of bayonets.

    As far as taking on the govt with “arms and [personal] powder magazines” to protect freedoms — the people who do that will undoubtedly fare about as well as the people at Ruby Ridge and those at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco.

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  • Liberty With Responsibility

    If you want a truly “safe” place to live, I suggest you go on down to the animal control shelter and have yourself admitted there. You can live “safely” in a cage, without worrying about food, or drink, and I hear they have air-conditioning, too! Pretty nice! Stay there until the government decides they have allowed you to live as long as they deem proper. As for the rest of, we will take our chances, and protect ourselves—our LIBERTY is too precious for us to give our ultimate defense over to the government police, National Guard, and Reservists to “protect us.” What do you think the arms and powder magazines of old were for—not for hunting, and not for self-defense, my friends. You figure it out.

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  • Makalani

    This latest slaughter of innocents is sure to revive the gun control debate. The NRA lobbyists in D.C and expert propagandists “… errr…errr… PR staff” probably have already mobilized to suppress renewed gun control efforts that follow these mass shootings.

    As a staunch defender of the Constitution and our rule of law — I applaud those who fight vigorously defending the 2nd Amendment!

    But I have to question the sanity of those who fight for the right of citizens to freely purchase weapons of war like the AR 15 assault rifle used in this massacre. They are not are not very practical or legal for hunting — nor are they very practical for self-defense. Their main purpose is killing people.

    Would the Founding Fathers have exempted assault rifles from ownership had they existed during that era? Probably not — given the recent war to throw off the British yolk and the need for a well-armed citizen militia.

    Today — our Army is well-armed with the latest high-tech weaponry — backed up by a National Guard and thousands of reserve soldiers! Do we need citizens armed-to-the-teeth with weaponry — including assault rifles — to defend our country against foreign invaders? Probably not! Will these well-armed citizens be able to overpower the Army if our society ever degenerates to that point? Probably not!

    What is certain — the 2nd Amendment makes no provisions for screening out from gun ownership many of the deranged — the unhinged — the suicidal — the homicidal — white supremacists — black militants — govt-hating sovereign citizen zealots/nutcases and many others with nefarious motives who walk among us! After passing a perfunctory background check — they are free to exercise their right to bear arms!

    This nutcase ALLEGEDLY used his right to bear arms to massacre/wage war on innocents sitting in a movie theater!

    “Will it ever end?” Probably not!
    This is the price our society must pay in order not to infringe on the right of the sane to bear arms!

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    • DonVader

      I for one am sick of hearing about people complaining about the right to bear arms, owning assault rifles and having ammo. So what? If all goes back to the individual. Having been directly and closely affected by violent crime I’m not for gun control. It amkes no difference. The Bad Guys will ALWAYS (read again) ALWAYS get their hands on weapons whether via legal means or illegal means. You can seriously tell me with a straight face that gun control will prevent that? We have lawas against drunk driving…still happens…we have laws against drugs..still happends. It’s against the law to kill someone/rape someone yet people get off and walk away each and every day. It’s my right to own weapon(s). If I want to own an AR15, AK47, etc, then I will. I’ll license them if required, take gun safety classes, no problem. I happen to enjoy target shooting with my me, it’s a awesome experience – I suggest you try it.

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      • DonVader

        I apologize for the poor spelling…I’m sitting in the dark due to a power outage and can’t see the keyboard very well.

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