When I awoke Friday morning and learned of the tragedy that befell Aurora, Colo., my heart sank. I couldn’t fathom the horror or the immense grief that community was feeling. The only thing that brought a glimmer of happiness was the thought of everyone rallying together to show support.
That notion was quickly destroyed as I began seeing blogs, tweets and Facebook postings asking why young children and infants attended this midnight showing.
I was incensed that people would look at this tragedy and begin pointing fingers at anyone but the shooter. What good does it do to question the parenting practices of those in the theater – the victims? It is akin to wondering why a rape victim was dressed scantily at a bar. It is disgusting.
Is the conversation about taking infants to a late movie worth having? Sure, why not. My issue isn’t in the question; my issue is that people have used a tragedy to stir the pot.
David Draiman, a singer for a band I’ve never heard of, tweeted, “All you parents out there that think it’s OK to take your infants out on the town with you, to a movie theater or otherwise, do the world a favor. Give your children up for adoption to parents who know what it is to be a responsible parent, and sacrifice on behalf of their children. Get a damn babysitter.”
Hearne Christopher Jr. of KC Confidential had similar feelings, although was at least a little more tactful. He didn’t offer any of his own opinions (how very brave of him), he just noted that he agreed with others who said things like, “what idiot takes a baby and a young child to a movie theater at midnight? The sound system in theaters today can permanently damage little ears for another thing. How very, very sad.”
In all of this, the one thing these folks find to discuss is taking infants to the movies? There are probably 100 other things that pop into mind before that. Gun control, mental health treatment, the effects of media on our youth, the stories of those who perished, etc., would all be on my plate before questioning the parents caught in this tragedy with their children.
Debates are good. Having conversations with those who disagree with us is great. I love people who stick their necks out to stand for something. But for goodness sake, can’t we do it with a little humanity? Can’t we see the bigger picture? Is it too much to ask that people take a look at what is driving them to take these stands? And once and for all, can we please have a discussion without calling people idiots or dismissing them as an inept parent because they follow a different path?
I have no grand delusion that parents should be hand in hand singing songs with flowers in their hair. Heaven knows I would be the first to run from that. But if we can’t come together in a time of tragedy, there really is no hope.
Cat Koehler is married with two children. She works full time. Read her Mondays on momaha.com