Updated, 4:30 p.m. Friday, with details about James Holmes.
At least 12 dead and dozens injured, several seriously.
One gunman and one crowded theater.
The specter of copycats.
Bay Area residents awoke Friday morning to live shots coming from Aurora, Colo., where James Holmes, a suspected gunman reportedly wearing a gas mask and a bulletproof vest, opened fire during a midnight showing of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, a movie expected to gross $200 million this weekend.
The number of deaths and injured isn't confirmed. But no matter what the final numbers are, there is one definite: It's a tragedy.
It has changed the mood of the country. Walnut Creek Patch had a blogger with an early review of the Batman movie. In light of the Aurora tragedy, a commenter suggested we take "KABOOM" out of the blog's title. Indeed.
The man suspected of shooting people at the Aurora theater, James Holmes, carried an assault rifle, a shotgun and a Glock handgun, police said.
Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks of 2001, Americans have been on various levels of alert. Anyone with an ounce of cynicism has recognized that theaters, malls and school events—so-called soft targets because they are gathering locations with little security—are ripe for domestic terror or deranged madmen.
The Friday morning massacre at the Century 16 in Aurora took place 19 miles from Columbine High, where two teenagers killed 12 and injured dozens before killing themselves in April 1999.
All such events—not just the local ones—remind us of how vulnerable we are. They bring the specter of copycats who think they can do it just a little better—or bigger.
Do we keep the status quo and prove that we haven’t been beaten? Do we make changes because we want to see next year, see our kids get married and our grandkids grow up?
The incident Friday morning is likely to start a discussion—a very real, very serious discussion—about soft targets.
Let's start it here.
Should metal detectors become as standard as popcorn machines at movie theaters? Should there be armed security, or will a thick dude in a yellow jacket be enough to stop someone carrying a gun but maybe not a ticket? Will there be no more dress-up at the theater, which apparently allowed the Aurora gunman to enter with a handgun, a rifle, a gas canister and a gas mask?
What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below