Today the news is still ablaze with updates, with the sorrow, with the reality that has once again served notice to every individual walking this earth that life is indeed scary... As we walk through our day, many are finding themselves outraged once again to think that a man walked into a matinee theater here in Florida with a loaded gun in his pocket past a sign that stated "NO FIREARMS", to see a movie. What happened next was witnessed by a lot of folks, but only those nearest were interviewed by the police. A married couple out on a date were there as well, taking the preview time to text the babysitter about their 3 year old daughter. Fun enough, as we all know that texts are quiet events, even the screen hasn't asked for phones to be cut off as of yet, the movie not started... But still it seems that Curtis Reeves didn't like it, he got aggravated, he had words to say.
Seems it escalated between the couple and Mr. Reeves, hell it seems he took the time to go and complain to the manager and return to the same seat rather than find another in a theater that probably had a more than a few to choose from. But the words continued, I think they said popcorn was thrown. Mr. Reeves calmly pulled his handgun, and at point blank range shot and killed Chad Oulson as the bullet went through Mr. Oulson's wife's hand to his chest. the Oulson's were sitting in front of Mr. Reeves, as this all took place. Mr. Oulson died after falling on the legs/lap of a stranger, his wife was taken to the hospital. A tragedy in a theater on an afternoon that could have been easily solved had he just left his gun at home, had he just moved his seat, had he just shut up.
Lives now shattered, grief personified, people in that theater suffering vicarious trauma secondary to what was witnessed. Why? A person was texting before a movie started and someone got jacked up about it. the Popcorn flew after words were exchanged, leaving one dead and many devastated.
We then see him being brought out of the theater, and social media went crazy wondering if this retired Tampa Police Officer is getting preferential treatment after killing someone. Mysteriously he is wearing a white jumpsuit with booties. But stranger yet, he is walking without an officers' hands on him, without a physical escort, rather casually behind him. I don't know of anyone yet other than the Pasco County Police who have stated it was normal procedure. There was no one around Mr. Reeve... not a living soul seemed to be with their hands on him, and he had just pulled a .380 semi-automatic on another living person and ended their life. I have to wonder about the white jumpsuit... was he naked and needing clothing before he exited the building? Why in the world was he not with police on each arm as he was brought out of the theater like each and every other shooter we have been exposed to on the news? Is this not the oddest photograph of a right after the scene of murder anyone has ever seen? I am still rather astonished by it, even with the updates and with the new news that he has had previous episodes of blowing up in a theater before .
Say what you will, that he is a great man, that he is loved, that his career was sterling. We are now hearing all of that and so much more. Use the old "stand your ground" if you think it will work, the "I feared for my life" as the popcorn was thrown after words were thrown and anger or whatever was said. Guess the popcorn got buttery, or salty, but fear for your life as you decide to stay in the seat you were in after going to find a manager to complain, you return to the same seat? I don't buy it. A mental break? that is sure to come next... I'm not sure I will buy that either, as he had time to get hot, had time to make the decision to move his seat, had time to seek a busy manager who didn't have time for him. Had time to go to the bathroom and put cold water on his face and shake it off or go outside and put his weapon in his car knowing he was pissed. But, he made a choice to return to his same seat, and continue the same heated argument. I have to wonder though... rather than texting the babysitter, what if the three year old had been there. Or another child for that matter, and they had been crying, whining, moving around seeking attention like all little ones do that often end up in theaters rather than at home. Would he had gone off as easily and shot the whole family?
Where is the moral, ethical, responsibility of oneness of our Nation. The safety of community and people walking the streets, enjoying the theater, sending their children to school in hopes they are learning to be better people, aspiring to be more than their dreams, and tell time. A person with a career of over 30 years as a Tampa Police Officer has just shown us the wrongness of the world. Lives are now forever changed, and we now have to hear his friends, colleagues tell us how great he is, that he must of been defending himself. Against what I ask? Popcorn? A couple on a date? Or a past that now indicates he has done similar things before with starting stuff with random people who go to the movies, but it thankfully didn't escalate to death.
What is it going to take for us to wake up and realize that just as this has happened, just as 13 months ago Sandy Hook Happened, and while this was happening in Florida... in NM a 12 year old some how walked out of his home with a loaded shotgun without being seen. How does that happen? Where is the accountability? The media is educating people on how to do unthinkable things to other living things without remorse. We are all living in a state of trauma/of perpetual grief as we wait for the other shoe to drop.
How in hell do you walk out of a house with a shotgun unnoticed? Where are the parents? Do you not see another living soul on the road, at the door of the school with a shotgun before all hell breaks loose there and lives are injured or lost? He even warned some not to attend school yesterday, he had a plan, he knew what he was going to do... why are parents, adults, other kids not talking to each other?
Has the world and those living in it disassociated completely with reality and updates of "how was your day and do you plan to go out and do something unthinkable to another tomorrow?" The fishbowl is dirty... it takes work to sustain and to demand that things change, that they stop, that we will have no tolerance for acts of such horrific crimes.
Today too many people are waking up thinking they are living in someone else's nightmares as a result of zero respect of life, shock, vicarious trauma, grief, and horror.
We as a Nation have never had a stronger call for Unity than we do right now.
The Oulson family; a child now without a father, a wife now a widow, a young man now gone too soon leaving so many today wondering how could this be.
There is no greater pain, than pain that makes no sense. These tragedies make no sense.
May you walk gently today.
Prayers surrounding those in NM and the community of the shooting. Those who witnessed the tragedy at the theater in Florida, may you talk through this, get some help to process it if need be, may you find peace.