Teens & Twenties writers reflect on Aurora, Colo. theater tragedy

Special to the Times-News

  James Holmes, 24, is accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 others when he allegedly opened fire at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” inAurora,Colo., on July 19. The Teens & Twenties writers reflect on this national tragedy:
   There’s nothing funny about Holmes’ “killing joke.” Ironically, although he may have viewed his violent actions as some sort of punchline, they only served to mar the very comic book property he was trying to pay homage to. — Sabrina Otero, rising sophomore at Western Alamance High School
What can you say about things like this? It’s awful, terrible, and so sad. My heart and prayers go out to everyone and anyone who got hurt physically and emotionally and to the families who have lost someone dear to them. Be safe and most importantly, be strong. —  Jessica Page, home-school graduate 

In the past few months, I have been battling the most difficult and challenging time of my life. It has been both emotionally and mentally draining. However, it is unfortunate that it takes something such as the tragic shootings inAurora,Colo., to put things in perspective. I want to sincerely express my condolences to those who lost family members or friends and I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to all of those who have been affected by this shooting.
   It is times like these where personal hardships, political opinions and any other differences that may separate us should be pushed aside. Who knows why horrible events like this take place or what possesses a person to commit such a horrendous act? Whatever the reasons may be, it is time for us to come together and support theAuroracommunity as they go through this difficult and challenging time. — Devarrick Turner, an Elon University graduate
The shooting made me feel like you never know what could happen. Something like that could happen anywhere and you could easily end up one of the unlucky ones. Because of this one incident, many theaters will probably start changing things. I don’t think I even want to go to a movie late at night because I don’t feel nearly as safe anymore. — Tawny Metcalf, a rising junior at Western Alamance High School
When I first heard about the shooting in Aurora ,Colo., I thought my dad was joking. He had to be. There was no way something like that could happen. He wasn’t joking, I found later after going to see another movie inGreensboro. On every entrance was posted a sign that said: Due to the tragic events inColorado, no one is allowed to wear costumes or carry fake weapons.
   The whole incident is sad, not for the fact that something as innocent as watching a movie could turn into such a tragic massacre, but for the lives lost, as well as for the people who mourn them. — Rebecca Herter, rising  junior at Hawbridge School
The Aurora, Colo., theater shooting was tragic; it is a shame that so many innocent people were injured by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, it is touching to see how so many communities have come together to support those injured in the shooting and their families. We can only hope that those injured will make a full recovery and will somehow be able to cope with the tragedy. — Kendall Wiggins, junior at Western Alamance High School.
The Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting was a very depressing event. The youngest victim was only 6 years old.
   This event changed America. Thousands of people were affected by this. But because of this, we were brought together as Americans to show our support and condolences to those who were injured or killed and to their families and friends who were affected by this. — Michaela King, sophomore home-schooler
The shootings in Colorado gave everyone pause. It is impossible not to stop and look in horror as the number of hurt or dead just seemed to keep growing. In my mind I couldn’t stop thinking that this could have happened anywhere. That could have been my mother or best friend getting shot and suddenly a void left in my life. Innocent people who were only going to see a movie and it truly makes me wonder how someone could be so spiteful as to take those lives. My heart goes out to the people who have lost loved ones and I hope something like this never happens to another human being. — Kaitlin Gillespie, rising junior at Western Alamance High School
The shootings inAurora, Colo., was an act of terrorism. They will probably set age limits for midnight movies. They shouldn’t do much more than that because things shouldn’t change because of one person who did such a horrible thing. Mostly because if they start taking away our freedom, then you start taking away what it means to be an American. — Jalisa Brown, rising sophomore at Cummings High School
As for the shooting, it’s shocking to think that someone can so easily commit a crime of such magnitude without a second thought. The shooting inAurorais a senseless tragedy and my prayers go out to all of those affected. — Bailey Pennington, rising freshman at theUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
One of my friends had sent a text and asked me if I had heard about it; I had. However, I didn’t know the details, so she gave me them. I was shocked, and the reason I was so shocked because going to the movies was something ordinary that everybody does and you don’t expect it to happen in a theater in a small town. It’s so sad what happened, and I’m praying for the families that were affected in this tragedy. — Matt Herter, rising sophomore home-schooler
When I learned of the massacre in Colorado, I was just getting home from doing the exact same thing the good people ofAurorawere doing: seeing “The Dark Knight Rises.” Those people were doing what most of us do when we go to the theater — escaping into a different world than our own, a world where good always prevails. It is an extremely sad situation the citizens of Aurora and Americans across the country are dealing with. But in these dark times, it is imperative that we put differences aside to lift up the citizens ofAuroraand help them move past this tragedy. My thoughts are prayers are with the families of the victims, the wounded, and the city of Aurora,Colo. — CJ Click, rising freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
It was a horrific tragedy and my prayers are with the families of those who were wounded and killed. —Thomas Herter, rising senior at Hawbridge School
The massacre in Aurora,Colo., has not only affected the family and friends of the victims, but it has once again rammed a rod of fear into the hearts of Americans everywhere. It seems that despite all the safety precautions, security and surveillance, there just does not seem to be a safe place to go. My heart goes out to all of those affected.
   It pains me to know that it was not just the loss of the lives that makes this situation so frustrating, but it is also for the fact that the lives lost were lives anticipating something big, something epic. They will never witness a movie that brought joy to so many Americans. They never got to laugh or joke or reminisce amongst themselves about the movie and life in general.
   For those lost or injured, and for the family and friends of the victims and the James Holmes, I pray that their souls find closure in the midst of this tragedy. That, coupled with the fact that the victims will never be able to experience the rest of their lives, makes my soul sink.
   Despite the madness and loss however, I am sure with the help of a nation, the victims who died in the shootings will not be in vain. These physical and emotional scars will heal and one day soon, from this dark night, we will rise. — Ngozika Nwoko, freshman at Alamance Community College
My deepest sympathies go to the families of the victims, but it bothers me that this is becoming about gun control, which doesn’t work as criminals are not known for following laws. It also disgusts me that the media released the shooter’s name because all that did was give him his 15 minutes of fame. I hope this does not turn into a politicized event. — Sam Diezel, senior home-schooler
The story of one of the Aurora shooting victims changed my perspective on life forever. Jessica Ghawi was one of the lucky ones to get away from a shooting in Toronto only to find herself in a similar situation, which unfortunately resulted in her not making it out of the theater alive. To see that someone could be so unfortunate as to be a victim in two shootings in such a short period of time made me realize how precious life really is. — Philip Kowalski is a student at The Elon School


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