(Tom Sullivan embraces family members after searching in vain for his son, Alex.)
It’s extremely difficult to process an incident such as the one that occurred in Aurora, Colorado early Friday morning. Quite frankly that is an understatement: it is a monumental task. What words of comfort can be uttered to the victims and their families? What explanations can be given when something this unthinkable occurs? It’s hard to believe that human beings, capable of reason, can carry out such acts of remorselessness. It would seem that only animals are capable of such acts. If only that were true.
As Colorado police have descended upon the booby-trapped apartment of the shooter – James Holmes – 12 have been confirmed dead while countless others have sustained injuries. Not all the names of the deceased have been released to the public, but some have been made available:
Matt McQuinn was killed after shielding his girlfriend and her older brother from gunfire.
Jon Blunk – also former military – lost his life in an effort to protect his significant other, Jansen Young.
Naval Petty Officer John Larimer, 27 – stationed at Buckley Air Force Base – is among the deceased.
Alex Sullivan was celebrating his 27th birthday.
Micayla Medek, 23, was in attendance with a group of friends.
Jessica Ghawi, 24, was a sports blogger.
Veronica Moser, 6, is survived by her mother who was wounded.
The survivors of this experience will try to make sense of what happened a long with the families of those killed, but no excuses or explanations will be able to change the events of July 20. People’s lives have been forever altered by a 24-year old medical student.
When these national tragedies occur, the whole country takes a collective pause. We did it in 1999 after the shootings at Columbine High School. We did it in 2001 when terrorists killed 3,000 of our fellow citizens. We did it after the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007.
We mourn. We heal. We pull together. We move forward. That’s what we do. We’re Americans.
Why did James Holmes feel the need to act out? What made him believe this was his last and only course of action? It doesn’t really matter.
None of these people deserved such a fate.
I have other thoughts related to this incident, but I will share them in a forthcoming post.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.
You are not alone in this tragedy. America is grieving with you.