Can we all get along?

Movies represent escapism. Always have, always will.
Since its inception, the movie theatre has served as a place to forget about the outside world and its responsibilities for a few hours. It might even be thought of as a sanctuary, a place of safety — which is why the shootings that took place in Aurora, Colorado on July 19 are so reprehensible.
In the days, weeks, and months to come, there will be countless articles written about the Aurora theatre shooting, the person responsible and his motives, the causes of such behavior, and the effect it will leave on us all. There is little I can say that will not be said elsewhere, with either more eloquence or with more purpose and conviction than I could offer. I find myself at a loss for words that define how fundamentally abhorrent this is on so many levels, and consider if there is any place that is safe from violence?
As one who has written about movie theatres and the film going experience, I was particularly drawn to the words by one of the contributors to It Cool News, who spoke not as a social commenter, news reporter, or political activist, but as simply a person who loves movies. He said this:

This weekend, go to a movie.  No, it’s not about keeping the bad guys from winning, or making a statement, although if you want it to be, that’s okay.  Go to the movies this weekend because it’s a joy.  One of the last great joys we have left these days, it seems.  Plant youself in a theater, and see whatever you fancy.  It’s the place dreams come true.  It’s the magic land.  That screen isn’t a window – it’s a door.  An inviting door that lets in everyone.  All are welcome in that world, and we get to wonder in the power of imagination and beauty.
“I don’t normally post like this and I’m sorry if this upsets some of you.  I’m grieving for the losses in Aurora, Colorado, and I am trying very hard not to play the political games of finding where to put blame.  This community took a real loss today, and I mourn those who were killed, pray for the wounded, and celebrate that magic that we all chase every time we sit down in a movie theater.  Theaters are my church, and today we’re all hurting.”
“I love movies, and you do too.  Let’s celebrate them.”

My deepest thoughts go out to all those who have been irreversibly changed by this tragedy. As trite and simplistic as it is, I keep asking the same question on almost a daily basis: Why can’t we be kind to one another? Rodney King, who encountered another form of violence, was all too right with his question, “Can we all get along?”
I keep hoping that eventually, one day, we will.
– July 22, 2012

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Cinema Houston celebrates a vibrant century of movie theatres and moviegoing in Texas’s largest city. This weblog is a companion to the Book, Cinema Houston: From Nickelodeon to Megaplex (University of Texas Press, 2007), and website, www.CinemaHouston.net.

David Welling is a writer and artist who lives in Houston with his wife and two children. His lifelong interest in movies (and the places that show them) led to the writing of Cinema Houston, which included fifteen years of research, and its subsequent website.


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