Overheard on CNN.com: Readers want to think about victims, not shooter
Many readers said they want to pay tribute to the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting.
July 23rd, 2012
08:43 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers want to think about victims, not shooter

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

After the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and dozens injured, readers are pondering what this incident means to them. Many of them want most to pay tribute to those who lost their lives. If you knew one of the victims, please consider sharing your story at CNN iReport.

Remembering the Colorado shooting victims

Some of our commenters were people who said they knew the victims.

Christa Leary: "Jesse Childress was a wonderful friend and colleague with a wonderful sense of humor and a love for the Broncos that he never let me forget. You were taken from us too soon. We miss you Jesse."

One reader was touched by the life of the youngest one.

Janet J: "My heart is literally in pieces. Words cannot express, words are not enough to describe the pain and agony I am feeling for these victims and their loved ones they've left behind. As hard as it is to not give this evil attention; how do you not? Trying to make sense of something that should not and does not make sense is what we are trying to do. ... Good luck to us. The most important thing is we not forget these beautiful souls. I will read their stories from time to time. We cannot let evil prevail ... we will walk in this darkness toward the light that will shine brightly one day. Veronica, your life was taken much too soon, before you could really get to know this world. You are in a better world now. May God give these families, their friends and the rest of society the strength, courage and faith to be able to see past this tragedy. Console them, console us and show yourself strong."

This person came to know more about one of the victims after her death.

Bill Both: "Followed Jessica Ghawi on Twitter as Jessica Redfield. Always impressed me as a charming and intelligent person but the more I read about her since the horror of July 19 the more I am impressed with what an exceptional person she was. So sad that it took her death for me to realize that."

Ghawi was a survivor of the Eaton Centre shooting in Toronto before her death. A CNN.com reader shared thoughts on the meaning of that event and said they feel we have lost a sense of community.

Alana Bee: "I was by the Eaton Centre when the shooting occurred and we recently had one of the worst mass shootings in Toronto where a victim as young as 22 months old was grazed by a bullet. For us in Canada it all seems surreal but the reality is no one is immune from this new degree of violence. We can blame politicians, we can blame video games but ultimately we must blame ourselves for our complacency. We have given in to our children's every whim or put emphasis on everything but God. Love religion or hate it but growing up in church for me was about community. It seems the only time we have community is when tragedy arises. I pray for the victims and the families of victims and for all of us."

Some commenters were appreciative of the chance to learn a bit more about the lives of the victims.

TerriTornado: "I'll never understand what could be going on in someone's head when they decide to do something this terrible. None of it will ever make any sense. Thank you CNN and the victim's friends and families for giving us insight on these people who were lost far too soon My deepest sympathies and cyber hugs and prayers to all their families and loved ones."

As the world took a look at Monday's courtroom scene and the orange-haired suspect, James Holmes, 24, many readers said they just wanted to think about the victims instead.

FlyByNight: "I want to remember the victims' names and faces. I DON'T want to remember the shooter's name or face. Bless each one and prayers and strength to the families."

Another used a nickname for the alleged shooter instead of his name. The comment expressed doubt about the sincerity of Holmes' sometimes-dazed facial expressions in the courtroom.

slfranklin13: "I don't think 'suspect A' (because I refuse to say his name, too) was on any medication today in court, I think he's wanting to appear insane. Doesn't fool me, looking forward to the day he's sentenced to death. He had a choice. He didn't have to do what he did. The innocent victims didn't have any choice. Praying for the families!"

Do theater exit doors need more protection in case of future incidents, or a warning system? Many readers debated the particulars. Reader cubankid1241 said they want to see alarmed doors:

"... This is to protect not only the people in the theater but to let the fire department know that something is wrong at the theater. This means right when the door is opened it alarms the front desk and everyone to leave the theater as well as let the fire department and police department come to the theater. My friends have installed systems like this."

Danté Renna: "Very good point and very true. I know I'm afraid of those doors because I don't want to sound the alarms."

On a story about survivors' experiences in the theater, readers continued to think about security issues.

Shooting survivors recount Colorado movie theater horror

These readers were opposed to audible alarms.

kaymichigan1: "They are never going to alarm the exit doors. They're there so people can exit the building without having to go through the lobby, and in case of emergency. If they were alarmed, almost every movie you'd see from now on would be interrupted at least once by the door alarms going off, maybe many times. What they need to do instead is hire more security to watch the back doors."

GAGGEDinUSA: "I agree that people have to be able to get out. ... Seems like the theatergoers would have had a clue that this guy wasn't a part of the show if there was some type of warning (light or whatever) that this was an intruder."

diannecf: "Indeed. The worst thing would be to make those doors somehow unworkable, too. In some ghettos in the world, they lock people in and then they die in a fire. I hope 'security' to deal with this kind of event doesn't make the theater owners as stupid as the airlines have become."

What was the shooter thinking? There's one line that many readers quoted.

DavidW0909: "I keep wondering what motivated this guy and I keep thinking back, to ironically a line spoken by Alfred (Michael Caine) in 'The Dark Knight' that 'Some men just want to watch the world burn,' and in so many ways I think that is no B.S. Some people do just want to see the world burn and will attempt to carry out their sick plan no matter if they have a gun, gasoline, a hand grenade, power tools or a nuclear weapon. They will find a way to burn it up. I don't understand the mentality but I do understand that people like (the theater shooter) are out there and are dangerous animals and must be destroyed. You know how some people when you look at their photo, something just tells you this person isn't right, there is something very crazy that I saw in the eyes of Holmes when I look at his photograph, but this morning, he looked like a rabbit in a spotlight, scared to death."

Just stay home?

Lina Nicolia: "I don't mind waiting until movies go on Netflix. I hate these movie theaters. They smell bad and they are noisy. People eat, half of their food ends up on the seats and on the floor. I can only imagine the bacteria in that fabric. That said, it is a futile comment considering the loss of lives in that place. So tragic. I feel so sorry for the families and the poor people in hospitals. They were only going to see a movie. ..."

But many commenters said they would not be deterred. Readers, some who said they live in the area, wondered about the theater property and whether a memorial would be put up.

vinhvinny: "What will they do about that particular theater where people were shot and killed? It would have a very eerie feeling in that theater room."

Brian Bartholomew: "It would have the same feeling as Ford's Theater, where the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln happened."

meanolddem: "Just driving behind the theater yesterday and my hair stood on end. I personally could not bring myself to go and see a film there. In my opinion the building should be razed and a memorial to the lost should be erected."

Brian Bartholomew: "It will not work like that. When I returned to Aurora Mall after its shooting (June 2005), I could feel the energy from that shooting, but I knew it would disappear as time moved forward. Aurora Mall was never razed due to the shooting, same thing for the movie theater. Columbine High School was rebuilt after their massacre; I feel that this will happen as well. The memorial will be erected nearby but the building itself will be rebuilt."

We are all in it together, said the following reader.

slickslam: "We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity. That the happiness of one person or nation is the happiness of humanity."

One should also note that over the last few days, thousands of comments have poured in. CNN has produced several stories featuring the words of our community of readers both on CNN.com and around social media who have taken time to share their thoughts. We've also received a considerable amount of comments related to the issues of gun ownership and gun control, so we're asking gun owners to tell us about their decision to own a firearm.

Commenters debate guns, 'what if'
Are moviegoers passing on planned trips to the theater?
Infants too young for late-night movies?
Theater shooting unfolds in real time on social media

What's your take on this story? Did you know any of the victims? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or share your tributes and stories via CNN iReport. And, do you own a gun? Send us photos or videos, and share your story.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Colorado • Crime • Overheard on CNN.com • U.S.
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Portland tony

    I'm sure there's an ambitious group of lawyers who want to prove their mettle and will go pro bono on this case! Sometimes frontier or Shari'a law or justice just makes sense. No matter his motive or degree of insanity, he knows he has at least 5 years at a minimum to tell his story. Ad nauseum!

    July 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Portland tony

    Unspeakable atrocities that compare to the recent events in Colorado have been happening in this and other nations since time began. We just hear about them in real time because of the 24/7 news cycle!

    July 23, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    It is just such a shattering, shocking thing...
    So many dead, so many wounded...my heart is heavy today, thinking about all the lives irreparably altered because of this man.
    My sincerest sympathy to those families who are left behind to pick up the wreckage that this one person caused.
    My heart goes out to them all.

    I am not going to even voice my thoughts on the person himself; that gives him the attention he so obviously gets off on, and it does a disservice to those memories of the lives he shattered...he deserves nothing less that total obscurity.
    That shall be the last I speak of him.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    I couldn't even imagine what it's like to have been victimized the way these poor individuals have been.
    Life for what living survivors are left, are altered for the rest of thier lives. They can't turn back the clock and just pick up where they left off.

    July 24, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. Donal Peter Buckley

    Cynical CNN, focus on the victims,a once off, while planning routine daily reports on the perpetrator.

    Media insensetivity and dehumanising impact on society is the only way for all media including CNN of course.

    How much responsibility for such atrocities is due to media coverage of perpetrators.

    CNN are on the right track even if a cynical motivation of pretend balance is suspected.

    Balanced reporting would be to give 12 times the coverage (air time) to the victims for every report on the perpetrator.

    Not a once off play at pandering to the victims.

    July 24, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  6. fernace

    This is an unspeakable tragedy that will probably change all our lives, just as Columbine, the Oklahoma bombing & 9/11 have! My heart goes out to victims, survivors & their loved 1's! Having said that, am I the only 1 who thinks the perpe-traitors mugshot looks like the devil!? His hair sticks up like little horns & his smirk & dead eyes have a goosebump raising quality! How empty a person must be to do something like this! Not sure if I think he should be lethally injected asap or made to linger in prison for the rest of his life! Seems no punishment is severe enough for some1 who has so little regard for his fellow humans!!

    July 24, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. The Joker

    A little fight in you. I like that.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pete

    Things horrible like this have been going on since before the Charles Manson,Sharon Tate cult killings back in the '60 s,its truly sad ,but as bad as it is life goes on.We must remember these people as we go forward in getting together a more strengent gun law licencing program.Their memories will keep people strong in not backing down from the NRA and their extremist gun law agendas,their way or nothing with them has to stop and responsibility is the key in achiving these new mandates.Owning guns is a privilege and should be treated that way,our forefathers never meant for this 2 nd amendment to be used in courts this way,it was originally wrote for protection for citizens from thieves and others,not shooting up innocents because you had a bad day.Laws should be followed and fines should be tougher,that's it in a nutshell make them think before pulling that trigger.And quit letting the MSM make these murders a public circus event,it should be private,lives were lost and innocent deaths should be respected,their familiies ,loveones as well.Quit televising these murderers,they thrieve on attention like Manson,others and shouldn't be given the time of day,put them somewhere where its dark,monsters like them should never see the light!!

    July 24, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. tamato

    We need to stop the focus on the shooter ( do not speak his name again). Our focus should be on the people who were killed and injured... This man is clearly a sick individual and wanted and needed the media attention. Please stop and focus on the individuals who were affected by this deranged individual.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • denouemen

      Two things were shown to the world: what a coward looks and acts like, and how brave, even heroic, and loving the common American going to the movies can be.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hogarth

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you probably typed that on a handheld device. Am I right?

    July 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. May

    I would prefer that all the news organizations stop posting his picture and stating his name. Its feeding the hurt but mroe importantly feeding his ego. Its undeserved attention, he should be known as the killer or suspect – only.

    July 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |