Almost everyone on the planet is responding to the horror in Colorado. That’s good, because it should be responded to. I’m not referring to raging hatred at the perpetrator, I understand that reaction I just don’t think it has a lot of value.
What’s on my mind is oddly selfish. A common reaction we have is: it could have been me that was in that theatre that night, I get that. That’s partly where all reactions come from: how did it impact me? How do I relate to this event? It could have been me or someone I know or love in that cineplex. That impact is spiderwebbing out and people are becoming aware of how they were touched by one man’s sickness.
No, my reaction came about from my recognition of my own obnoxious behavior patterns. My wife was telling me what she had read about the murderer’s apartment and I realized with shock like a cigarette burn that I might have died that night had I lived in his building. I might have killed everyone in the building because I can be an overbearing jerk.
Let me briefly explain. The murderer wired his apartment stereo to go off SUPER LOUD at approximately the time he was at the theatre indulging his sickness. Residents of the apartment responded by calling the police, knocking on his door, the usual, acceptable responses to obnoxious behavior in a shared space.
My history is such that I might have tried to get into the apartment. I do outrageous, dumb stuff like that. Once when a stereo was playing too loud in my old neighborhood I walked down the street turned the speaker that was facing outside back into the house so the noise was not blasting out to the world. Understandably the owner took exception to this violation of his space and the two of us almost got in a fistfight.
Stupid. Stupid from a lot of angles.
I’m the guy that might climb out on the balcony to see if the patio door is open so I can go in and shut the stereo down. I’d try to figure out a way to get into that apartment to turn off the noise. I wouldn’t break down doors, but my mind looks for an angle to exploit, a backdoor. That outlook makes me a good problem solver. I might very well have looked for some way into that apartment that night.
I’m told Colorado murderer had his apartment wired to blow. Right now they think there’s enough explosives in that apartment to take out the building and beyond. If I had acted in my own ass-hat over-the-top manner I might have tripped one of these explosives and killed everyone in that building.
And stupid would be my legacy, not problem solver, not good dad or whatever label I might have earned when I’m gone. Worse there would be another spiderwebbing of grief out amongst a larger roster of victims. That’s what I’m thinking about today.
The world is a complicated, dangerous place.