The soulless evil loosed upon innocents in an Aurora movie theater must occasion reflection. No issue should be off the table: violence in the media, easy availability of instruments of war, identification of prospective murderers with no criminal record.
The murderer’s life must be studied. Far from the public eye, experts can comb through the debris of his sordid life for information that may assist in preventing future criminal incidents.
What’s not necessary is extensive public conversation about the identity of the criminal or the workings of his mind. There’s no wisdom in conferring even the wretched celebrity of infamy to an evil coward. As seen in much “psycho-biography,” reflections on the shattered glass of a broken psyche are unlikely to yield serviceable data.
There are, however, others who were in the Aurora theater whom we should study, discuss–and honor and emulate.
Two O’Clock in the Morning Courage
The horrific carnage occasioned breathtaking selflessness, service, courage and sacrifice.
There are individuals whose names and deeds should find life in our collective sense of what it means to be an American.
Their courage is all the more extraordinary, because it was called upon so unexpectedly. Seated comfortably at midnight, with the relaxed expectation of entertainment, they were confronted by something that must have been hard to identify at first….
Is the shrouded intruder armed with weapons of war part of the entertainment? Is it conceivable that the horrific sights and sounds of fire and blood and iron and carnage are real?….
Then.. with the sickening realization that this was very much for real… without time to reflect….individuals hurled themselves to violent death, protecting and saving others….
Military and law enforcement personnel are trained for such eventualities. They are on vigilant alert. Their uniforms and medals certify their courage. Their regalia also reflect a choice of a life of service, a course of conduct, of thought, of extensive preparation for the blinding flash of a moment of truth.
And yet…with all that, as the warlord Napoleon Bonaparte observed from hard-earned battlefield experience, there is nothing more rare than 2 o’clock in the morning courage.
Where Does America Find These People?
This question does not refer to the murderer. As we saw in peaceful Norway just last year, evil in action from a demented killer can be massively empowered in our time.
The greater questions: Who are these heroes? How were they created? What can we learn from their lives? How did they emerge, even amid a troubled culture, to such heights of courage?
Such questions merit study and reflection. By contrast, the ravenous narcissism of the killer should not be fed.
Service and Sacrifice
Sacrifice refers to a particular kind of service: sacred service.
These young people have displayed a courage rarely seen anywhere.
Their example should be honored everywhere.
Perhaps we can begin by learning from a brave 13-year-old girl who sought to save another.
Aurora | Service and Sacrifice
UPDATE: It’s reported that Jon Blunk was a Navy veteran.