Signing at RWA and Thoughts on the Aurora Deaths

Sorry – it’s not a pretty picture. And I suspect I don’t really have “fans” out there who will be looking for me in the wild chaos that is the RWA Literacy Signing. BUT, if you are out there and and want to plan ahead – you can find me at table 105, right by the cashiers. See? I put a little red smiley on it.

I leave on an early, early flight tomorrow morning and will be at #RWA12 all week. I’ll try to post pics, but you regular readers know how well I do at that. Best bet is to look for posts on Twitter.com (@jeffekennedy) or Facebook – Author.Jeffe.Kennedy lets you see stuff without being my friend. To see posts on Jeffe.Kennedy, I’m pretty sure you have to be a friend. But who understands how Facebook works anymore?

On to less frivolous topics…

I debated all weekend whether to say anything about the theater shootings in Aurora last Friday morning. I’m not sure I have anything substantive to add and it annoys me when people turn a tragedy like that into being about them. I don’t want to be all “look at me.”

But I feel like I want to say something.

I grew up in Aurora. My mom bought a house there in 1972, just before my sixth birthday, and she owns it still. When we moved in, the address was Denver, but the City of Denver ceded a section to the City of Aurora, as part of the redistribution of taxes in the rapidly growing metro area. These days you can’t really discern that you’ve driven from Denver to Aurora. Like many big cities, the metropolitan area of Denver incorporates many smaller cities and towns.

Which is why I always just say I’m from Denver. My mom was born and raised in Denver proper, and that feels no different to me than my own growing up. But my high school boyfriend and first love, Kev, who comments on here from time to time, often gives me grief for saying “Denver” instead of “Aurora.” For him I suspect it’s a loyalty thing. For me, it’s a “no one has ever heard of Aurora” thing.

Until now.

Once we saw the news Friday morning, the internet network fired up. I figured Kev wouldn’t have been at that showing, because he’s not big on midnight showings, since he works early in the morning. And what were the odds, really? Finally, I texted him and, to my relief, he was fine. Then he said that he, his wife and son had gone to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises – but at a different theater.

So close.

We all sent Facebook messages among my old gang of geeky friends who love things like Batman premiers and, amazingly enough, it seemed no one we were connected to had been there. Of course, our little burb has grown considerably over the years.

Yesterday, I looked at the list of the dead that the police finally released and found myself weeping over it. I didn’t recognize a single name. And I was grateful for that. It’s a strange place to be – thankful that the people you love aren’t the ones who died.

When I see those videos of the lionesses carving out a hapless gazelle from the herd while the others dash away, I wonder if they have a sense of gratitude, those luckier gazelles, that they can go back to grazing in the sun, because their number wasn’t up that day.

I don’t know what the take-home message is. All the conversations now are about controlling this – banning guns, carrying guns, anti-terrorist training, more security, more psychiatry. But, really, these things are the attacks of the monsters in the dark. It seems there will always be monsters lurking, taking a cut from the crowd. A choice as simple as preferring one theater over another can determine fate. There’s no controlling that.

Maybe all we can really do is enjoy the sunshine and the sweet green grass.

10 Replies to “Signing at RWA and Thoughts on the Aurora Deaths”

  1. Thanks for your sensitive piece, Jeffe. I didn’t realize your “other” home was in Aurora. Perhaps I’m relieved, as I didn’t have time to get scared for your mom and Dave. Your thoughtful musing about how hard it it to process when you’re scared for loved ones was a nice juxtaposition to the other coverage debating the value of gun control, mask and costume control and other ideas. Like you, I believe that the monsters in the night can sidestep any of these steps.

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