In a show of solidarity and strength, some of the survivors of the Aurora shooting, which left 12 people dead and 58 wounded, wore Batman shirts this morning to the court hearing for suspect James Holmes. The survivors, along with the families and friends of the victims, were at the courthouse today to see Holmes charged with 142 counts, including 24 counts of first-degree murder, in connection with the shooting, which took place on July 20th during a midnight screening of the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
“He attacked us out of cowardice but we will attack back in strength,” said Don Lader, 32, who escaped along with his wife with minor injuries from the Century 16 multiplex movie theater after Holmes allegedly opened fire upon attendees of the midnight screening for the new Batman film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lader, who wore a Dark Knight Rises shirt to the court house with the words “A Fire Will Rise” on it, has gone back to see the film twice since the attack. Lader reportedly had told the media after the shooting that he “would not allow fear to govern his actions.”
“I made a promise to Amber’s son [Amber Harris, who was also in the theater at the time of the shooting] that I would take him if he wanted to go,” Lader said. “I’m not gonna lie, it was tough seeing it in the beginning. We kept eyeing the exits. But we needed to go; we needed to know that we still had the power to sit and watch a movie. (Holmes) doesn’t have the power anymore.”
According to THR, the 24-year-old Holmes faces the death penalty and has been charged with 116 counts of attempted murder, one felony count of possession of an explosive device, and one count of a sentence enhancer for a crime of violence. The minimum sentence if convicted is life in prison without parole.
At the time of his arrest, Holmes, a former University of Colorado medical school student, reportedly said he was “the Joker, enemy of Batman.” He allegedly set off tear gas in the crowded theater then opened fire on the attendees during a portion of the film with heavy smoke and gunfire, which at first confused the crowd.
Soon after the shooting, an informal campaign was launched on Facebook to get The Dark Knight Rises star Christian Bale, who plays Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan’s popular Dark Knight trilogy, to visit the shooting victims in the hospital. While some thought this was a great idea, others felt that the victims would be too traumatized to see a Batman figure again. Bale did travel to Aurora as himself and on his own accord (not as a representative of the Warner Bros.) with his wife on July 24th to visit with some of the survivors of the shooting in the hospital and to stop to pay respects at a memorial for the victims who died. Reports were that the patients were thrilled to see Bale, tweeting out photos taken with “Batman,” and that hospital staff members were also excited by Bale’s heartfelt visit.
I have to say, way to go, Aurora! These people were such fans of the series and of Batman that they were there opening night at midnight to be the first to see this highly anticipated film. And even though they suffered a great tragedy, they are not letting the actions of a lone maniac have power over them. Wearing those Batman shirts is the best thing they could have done to show that they will “rise” above this – the ability to “rise” being a main theme of The Dark Knight Rises.
Survivors of the Aurora shooting arrive at court hearing wearing Batman shirts. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]