During my normal routine of checking the latest headlines of the day, when I opened the CNN homepage I shuttered. Not quite the same shutter as I experienced on July 20, 2012, but not far from it. With it being almost seven months after the Aurora Century 16 theater shooting, it still very much hits close to home every time I see a story involving James Holmes or any of the victims. Several times I’ve tried to convince myself to go visit the memorial, but it’s too much to take in.
The preliminary hearing began today, Monday, Jan. 7 in Centennial, which is about 45 minutes North of me. This process gives prosecutors the opportunity to show a judge that the state has enough evidence to proceed to trial. During this time, witnesses are being arranged and prosecutors outline their evidence in the case, so ultimately the hearing could go on for days.
A 13-year Aurora police officer, Justin Grizzle, testified on the opening day of the hearing and recounted his experience the night he entered the theater. He described “so much blood the theater floor had become slippery. Bodies with horrific injuries. The eerie sound of cell phones ringing, over and over again.” In a CNN article, Grizzle also mentions his efforts to help badly wounded victims to the hospital in his police cruiser, two of which were Ashley Moser and her husband. Their daughter, 6-year old Veronica Moser-Sullivan, was one of the 12 killed in the shooting rampage.
“He was shot in the head somewhere. He kept asking where his…daughter was. He opened the door and tried to jump out.”
I believe this is one of the many horrific testimonies that everyone will hear from this tragic event. Families of the lost loved ones and recuperating victims have had it rough for the past couple of months and now they are fighting back at the reopening of Century 16. The theater is slated to reopen to the public Jan. 18 and family members say theater owners are only interested in good publicity.
Cinemark USA Inc. sent an email two days after Christmas to the relatives of the victims inviting them to a “special night of remembrance.” In a CNN article, relatives of nine people killed in the theater said an invitation to attend an event on the eve of the complex’s reopening is “disgusting” and “wholly offensive to the memory of our loved ones.” They wrote and signed a letter to the theater chain’s management and will urge others to boycott “the killing field of our children.” The letter reads:
“Our family members will never be on this earth with us again and a movie ticket and some token words from people who didn’t care enough to reach out to us, nor respond when we reached out to them to talk, is appalling.”
I understand the families’ anger and agree with the terrible timing of when the letter was sent out. Two days after Christmas is a sensitive time to be reminded of that unfortunate day and I think management should have went back to the drawing board of when to send the email; after the New Year would’ve been more reasonable. For the group wanting to boycott the theater’s reopening, is a bit much. After every major mass shooting, Columbine, Virgina Tech, Fort Hood, we must rebuild, but not forget. However, I think it’s too soon for Century 16 to reopen; I would prefer sometime in the Spring. I honestly don’t know if I’ll go back to watch a movie at the theater. Although I wasn’t there the night of July 20 and thankfully none of my friends were involved in the shooting, just imagining the events of that night would be very emotional. Read my post about my reaction from that day.
What do you think about the reopening of Century 16? I would love to hear any thoughts from you about the Aurora theater shooting.