Last night, just after midnight, a 24-year-old gunman named James Holmes who had methodically planned an act of supreme evil unleashed his fury on a packed movie theatre here in Aurora, Colorado. It’s a dark irony that a very real villain would coordinate his attack with the premier of a super hero movie featuring a villain who wears a mask and a troubled and eccentric billionaire with cheeky gadgets and exotic vehicles who invariably does good even if he goes unlauded and unappreciated.
This villain also wore a mask and protective vest and was armed with gas bombs, a pistol, a shot gun, and an assault rifle. Just minutes after The Dark Knight Rises started, this real-life villain kicked in the emergency door and deployed a gas grenade before he began to open fire. He was indiscriminate in the victims he shot, killing 10 in the theatre and injuring more than 50, one as young as 3 months old. More victims have died in the hours since the initial attack and many more remain in critical condition. The weapons he used were so potent bullets went through the wall into the adjoining theatre, injuring even more people; one woman had her jaw shattered and lost teeth to a bullet that came through the wall.
Heroes are real.
Hundreds, and soon thousands of real-life heroes all around Colorado are at work right now and will be for months to come. These are not exotic billionaires with ninja training and unlimited budgets. They are the regular people who rose to the occasion in that movie theatre; they are the police and law enforcement who apprehended the gunman and secured the scene, his car, and his appartment; they are the EMTs, PAs, nurses, physical therapists and doctors who have trained for years to learn the skills necessary to undo the harm this man wrought; and they are the donors and volunteers that support the hospitals, grief counselors, and other organizations that hope every day that they’ll never need to come to the aid of victims but are ever-prepared to do so.
These heroes are very real and they live their lives every day to fight against evil and entropy and they go almost universally unthanked until horrible days like this.
Thank you, heroes. Thank you for showing us that you don’t need to be a demi-god, a billionaire, or a science experiment to be a true hero and that fictional super-men will never compare to the real men and women who dedicate their lives to protect others against mishaps and madness.
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