Gary Darling: Colorado shooting has changed the movie theater

Gary Darling

Shock. That is what I felt when I heard the news. Those feelings quickly turned to horror and rage as more details about the crime filtered in.

But I will get to that...

Much like any other Friday, I got up, played some Diablo 3, showered, got the kids up and dropped them off at day care.  I wasn’t expecting much to be going on in the world since I figured most people were either in line for the “Batman” movie or sleeping off the midnight showings.

Then I clicked on my computer, logged into my Twitter feed and my jaw dropped. A “man” entered into a theater, gassed it, then started shooting every man, woman or child who got in his path.


I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Much like everyone else, I was stunned. I didn’t know what to do or how to act. It was like losing a loved one. I?even felt weird about posting my review that morning.

Would it be in bad character to post a wonderful review with all this horror going on in Colorado?

I just sat at my computer desk in stunned silence. Afraid to do just about anything other than read the news scrolls as they rolled by.

Then I thought to myself, what if it had been my town or my theater? What if it had been my wife and I in that audience? What if it had been my 2- or 4-year-old sons that had been killed?

It was enough to make this grown man lose it uncontrollably for a few silent moments. The pain I felt for those families was just gut-wrenching. Even as painful as it was for me, I cannot even imagine how it must be for them. My heart broke.

Then it turned into anger.

It made me angry because a 6-year-old girl died. It made me angry that a man, who serves for us in wars, was killed. It made me angry because a woman barely missed another tragedy such as this just to survive long enough to be a victim of this one.

I just wanted to turn my head up to heaven and SCREAM!!!?WHY??WHY??WHY?

As the anger subsided, another thought popped into my head, and this is a thought that only another parent would have. What must his mother and father be going through??

As a father, myself, I have no idea how I would be able to handle my son turning a gun on so many innocent, defenseless people.

Finally, there is trepidation in my life now when I go to a theater. Just this Tuesday, I made my way out to see the film again since seeing it a week ago. Usually, I just sit there with my friends and joke about life and have a wonderful time escaping into the movie that plays before us.

Not this time. This time, whenever someone walked to the exit, my eyes shifted towards them. Every time someone made their way up the stairs to their seats, I would watch to make sure that they had nothing diabolical in mind.

That is sad that my once-safe haven has been tainted with the blood of the innocent in Colorado. One day it might not affect me anymore, but not now. Not today.

Things have now changed.

Gary Darling is the geekiest employee at the Maryville (Mo.) Daily Forum. His online blog address is: & his email is: Drop him a line sometime!