(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
Much of North America is still trying to process the horrible violence that emerged out of Colorado yesterday. A masked gunman entered a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises and proceeded to kill 12 people and wound 59 others with guns that he had purchased legally just weeks earlier.
As is the case when these things happen - and they happen much, much too often - questions about why, how, and who are thrown about. While we may eventually figure out the "how" and the "who", it's impossible to ever really know why someone would choose to do something so....ugly.
Perhaps most frustrating and heartbreaking about this entire affair is that for as many times as this has happened - did I mention that this has happened much, much too often? - that unless the political leadership in the United States takes action on gun control the chances of it happening again are, unfortunately, higher than they should be. There is no reason for your average citizen to need an AK-47 in their personal arsenal. None. The same goes for 6000 rounds of ammunition. I don't care how often you go to the gun range, being able to purchase that much ammunition at one time over the Internet should raise some kind of alarm.
But that's all I'm going to say about that. For now. (And I'm not pretending that gun violence doesn't happen here in Canada. Sadly, we're not immune. However, last I checked semi-automatic weapons like the ones usually used in these massacres are highly restricted here. That's at least a start, right?)
If that's what I would like to see happen, here's what I DO NOT want to see happen: I do not want the rest of us to give up our right to enjoy our public spaces freely, without fear.
Last night, the poll taken by a local news station looked like this:
Do you think about your safety in public places?
This, to me, is a tragedy. Taken on its own, the question seems innocent enough. But it was asked on-air immediately after the story about what took place in Colorado, which to me indicates that they are asking people if they are now going to be scared going out in public.
What???? Is this what our world is coming to?
Please, let the answer be no. I want to go to the movies and the mall without having to walk through a metal detector. I don't want to give the bad people that kind of power.
I definitely don't want to raise my kids in a world where they are constantly reminded about the bad things that might happen to them.
Instead, I think we would be wise to follow the advice of Jessica Ghawi, a young woman who escaped the shooting at Toronto's Eaton Centre last month, only to die weeks later in a Colorado theater. Following her experience in Toronto,Ms Ghawi wrote:
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.
None of us know what tragedy might be waiting for us. But in the meantime, let's focus on enjoying what we have instead of all the ways we might lose it.