The blame started flying as soon as the facts hit the airwaves.
The youngest person shot in the Aurora, Colo. shooting was a 3-month-old baby. The child was at a midnight movie with someone who wanted to be among the first to view “The Dark Knight Rises.” A 6-year-old girl was killed.
Immediately, folks asked, why would someone take a child to a midnight movie? Well, we can come up with all kinds of reasons, can’t we? Can’t find a baby-sitter. Can’t afford a baby-sitter. Don’t want to bother with a baby-sitter for a baby who is likely to sleep through the entire movie.
Simone and Nadia haven’t been to a midnight movie, but they have been to plenty of animated movies during the day. At no point did I ever think anyone would come in the exit door, throw a smoke bomb, and commence shooting. Not once. I’m guessing the person who took her infant to the movies did not imagine such a tragedy would happen. But that’s what police say happened.
We would show no mercy if that baby had been left unattended, or left with a child molester, or left with a child abuser. We would cast judgment if a parent left a child with someone who didn’t take her responsibility seriously, someone who fell asleep on the couch while smoking, someone who left something cooking on the stove.
This parent had a child in her care when a man decided to use the movie theater as a shooting range. It’s certainly not the first or last time a mass shooting will occur. It’s also not the first or last time that a selfish person will steal the lives of children. In 2008, 2,947 children were killed by gunfire. In 2009, that number decreased to 2,793, or by 5 percent, according to the Children’s Defense Fund.
Any child’s death is a sad reminder that children can be killed anywhere.
At church. A 4-year-old was killed at midnight during a New Year’s Eve church service.
At home. A 9-month-old was killed while sleeping on the couch in his home.
Around the corner. 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking home.
As parents we protect our children any way we can. We also hope and pray no one will intentionally harm them. If we’re going to criticize parents for the behavior of others, we should certainly ask ourselves what we’re doing as a society to cultivate killers.