I have nothing but sympathy for the victims of the Aurora Theater shooting. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose a loved one to violence. Nor can I imagine the severe trauma of having your own body gravely injured by bullets. My heart goes out to the survivors of the tragedy.
That said, I feel that the civil lawsuit currently being adjudicated in Arapahoe County is misguided. 28 people think that Cinemark should have done more to anticipate and prevent the mass shooting.
I followed the shooting and subsequent trial closely and I don’t feel the facts support this assertion. The plaintiffs seem to base their case on a memo from the Department of Homeland Security warning that movie theaters could be a possible target of terrorist attack. Yet, the memo gave no guidance as to how a business should proceed to prevent such an attack. Until July 20, 2012, no movie theater had been subject to any kind of rampage as we saw in Aurora.
The plaintiffs suggest that Cinemark should have equipped every exit door with an alarm that would have alerted people to James Holmes’ entrance. This would require security to deactivate said alarm every time a movie ends so that the crowds of people using the exit doors would not set it off, then reactivate it once the theater is empty. This may seem like an easy call post shooting, but beforehand, it would have appeared to be an inconvenience.
James Holmes was not a terrorist. He is a psychotic monster who meticulously premeditated the slaughter of dozens of people. He selected a gun-free zone, then cased the theater and diagrammed the entire layout of the premises. He charted the response time of police and rescue units. He even booby trapped his apartment with explosives in the hope of killing more people. I do not believe that this was a man who would have been stopped by metal detectors or door alarms.
After a tragedy of this magnitude, there is always a tendency to blame. Many blame guns and the gun lobby. Others blame violence in our entertainment culture. Still others blame a failing mental health system. Personally, I tend to point my finger at the lawyers. Gun control? Faugh! How about tort reform?
God bless the victims of this evil, senseless tragedy. And I will also pray for James Holmes’ family. Contrary to the opinions of some, I don’t believe they are responsible for the murderous actions of their adult son. I do hope the victims can heal from this horrific episode. I just don’t feel that greedy, opportunistic lawyers assessing blame in a courtroom is the most viable solution.