I just read an article by Lisa Belkin called Stop Wondering Why There Were Young Children At The Aurora Theater. This particular article caught my attention because I have a confession to make. Today I was reading a list of victims from this horrific mass-shooting with the sole purpose of sending thoughts and prayers into the universe for them and the people in their lives that love them. When I realized how many young children there were an involuntary thought popped into my head, Whaaa? Why are there young children at a midnight showing of a violent movie? Then I quickly shamed myself for even letting such a thought evolve; the entire tragedy has zero to do with why any particular person was there and everything to do with the fact that every single one of them had the right to be there without even the possibility of being harmed in any way.
In Belkin’s article, she points out that these parents are now feeling forced by society to explain their actions rather than grieve and process this traumatizing event. Belkin quotes Heather Spohr’s blog More Spohr: I’m sure ALL the parents were prepared for the only realistic consequence of taking a kid to a midnight movie: next-day crankiness. No one thinks, “I shouldn’t take my kid to this movie because they might get shot.”
And so I share these articles and my confession in the hope that it reverses the judgement that I (albeit silently) put out into the universe. In fact, althougth I can’t imagine bringing a child to that particular film at that particular time of the day, I will be the first to say that circumstances constantly come up as a parent where you find yourself doing something that you thought you would NEVER do. And I sincerely hope all of us never see that off-chance of something going horribly wrong.
It seems that many of the judgemental comments target the parents who brought 3 and 4 month old babies to the movie. Really? Because that’s exactly who I WOULD bring! Nora is 3 months old and I brought her to the movies last month when I wanted to see Brave with my sister and nieces. She slept almost the entire movie and didn’t make a peep. (Ok, some parts were extrememly loud and I had anxiety that I had damaged her hearing…) When they are that young they aren’t retaining the movie and they’re probably awake then ANYWAY. But again, that’s all beside the point. The point being that these families do not deserve our judgement. They deserve our empathy, sympathy, prayers, and shared grief at such a horrible, horrible event.