In Response to the Aurora, Colorado ShootingChristine Coppa
Everyone is blogging and talking about the Aurora, Colorado shooting and now I shall. Yes, it was a midnight showing and there were kids in the movie theater. One was just three-months-old. Everyone, gasp together. Would I take my three-month-old to a midnight movie? People, I can’t even remember the last time I saw an adult movie in the theater, but the answer is no, I wouldn’t take JD to a midnight movie. But guess what? I wouldn’t assume we’d get gunned down at a movie theater if I did. I take him to inappropriate places all the time. I do this because I have to. The good news is that the 3-month-old has actually been discharged home from the hospital. Praise Jesus.
It’s survival of the fittest, here. Ann Curry said something so eloquent tonight as JD and I ate linguini primavera at a table set for two. And a superhero figure. Something along the lines of the parents being young and needing a break and wanting to get out. Probably not having a sitter. Curry reported the kids were sleeping on their parents. I really get these parents. I know what it’s like to want to go out but not have a sitter. Hi, I’m blogging and drinking wine alone on a Friday night. JD is sleeping. These parents are not bad. They are bada*s. They are bold. They are human. They wanted to see a movie. They went. They didn’t go on a crack run in a shady neighborhood and leave their babies alone in the car.
We actually went to the movies on Thursday. Just JD and me. I worked a half-day. He wanted to see Disney’s Brave and it was rainy. Perfect day. Needed to kill time and what do you know, the movie really spoke to me. It was more about the relationship a child has with their mom than anything else. I cried. Gorgeous.
We got to the theater at 10:40 AM and bought tickets for the 11 AM showing. I had a bag of drinks concealed in my purse (read: REBEL). JD handed the tickets over to the older gentleman and I bought us a six dollar bag of popcorn—cha-ching. We held hands and walked around the theater, stopping to take pics by the Brave decor (obvi).
It was pretty quiet except for a few other moms and kids. I grabbed a booster seat and we headed into the Brave theater. We were the only people in the theater. It was … eerie at best. Dark. Quiet. We watched the previews and two older women, no kids came in. One woman coughed loudly. She seemed sick. It seemed like a sick, wet cough. I kept thinking this lady better not get JD sick even though she was sitting in the last row far away from us. We watched the movie. JD peed twice. He moved from the booster to my lap and back again. He ate crackers, popcorn and drank three juice boxes.
That was my biggest concern. A coughing woman getting my kid sick. It never in my wildest dreams occurred to me that some lunatic could burst into the theater and shoot us. But it should have. It should have, really, because horrific things like this happen every, single day and we are not safe. Our kids are not safe. I am not playing this up. This is real life. I am for real. We’re not safe. We’re just getting by. All of us. Fate has us by the throats. I feel out of control.
I remember Columbine like it was yesterday. I was a senior in high school. We got to leave campus for lunch. Instead of going to the bagel store or pizza place with my girls, I decided to go home to my house alone. My dog, Brandy, greeted me at the door. I took her out. We came inside and I made a ham and cheese sandwich on toast. I fed Brandy the crusts. There was a giant wooden spoon and fork on the yellow painted kitchen walls. The house was empty. The windows were open. It was spring. The leaves on the trees shhhhh’ed with the wind. I loved that sound. So many trees in my yard. I turned the TV on. It was a chunky, black square TV on the counter. I watched kids my age run and scatter from that school building. I listened to the news. I saw a kid fall from a window and two policemen attempt to catch him. He was bloody. It was horrific. I cried. Brandy was at my feet. I fed her the rest of my sandwich, sick to my stomach. I called my parents. I called Carlo. He was at Monmouth University. Bri was stuck in the cafeteria back at Wayne Valley. It was his birthday. I drove back down the hill to school. I walked cautiously in. I had Child Development class. I told my teacher. She hadn’t heard. She believed me, but looked like she didn’t believe me. Because people don’t want to believe sh*t like this happens. But it does. And we can’t prepare for it. It’s fight or flight. It’s fate.
We can eat our vegetables. Say our prayers. Wash our hands. Send our kids to expensive, private schools, make nice with the co-parent, pay our mortgage on time, let someone in during a traffic jam, and help our neighbor carry her groceries upstairs — and this is all great — but we can’t stop the psycho from shooting us or our kids in the head, because he’s a f*cking psycho. Life is a gift. Only this moment is certain. Love the people you love and love them right now. I’m certain of this moment. My fingers on the keys, tap, tap, tap. The sweet wine in my mouth. The pictures of my baby on the wall. The bad breakup doesn’t matter. The awesome book review in the NYT is silly. The money in the bank is a flipping joke at best. I’m happy to be breathing. My kid is breathing. Wake up world.
That’s what I know. That’s what I believe.
RIP victims. God bless your souls. Peace be with your families.
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