CBS news has begun releasing names and information about the victims.
For Alex Matthew Sullivan, it was to be a weekend of fun: He planned to ring in his 27th birthday with friends at a special midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Another reason to celebrate: Sunday would have been his first wedding anniversary.
“He was a very, very good young man,” said Sullivan’s uncle, Joe Loewenguth.
“He always had a smile, always made you laugh. He had a little bit of comic in him. Witty, smart. He was loving, had a big heart.”
In a statement Alex’s family said it had lost “a cherished member.”
“Alex was smart, funny, and above all loved dearly by his friends and family.”
And here’s a man who sacrificed himself to save his girlfriend’s life:
Matt McQuinn was with his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, and her brother Nick at the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” when a gunman burst into the theater, released canisters of pepper spray and opened fire.
CBS Affiliate WHIO reports that, according to Samantha’s grandmother, McQuinn and Nick Yowler tried to shield the young woman with their bodies.
She suffered a bullet wound to the leg; Nick escaped physically unharmed.
But McQuinn, 27, died.
He and Yowler had met in Ohio and moved last year to Denver, where they worked at a Target store.
“They’re really fun people,” said co-worker Melissa Downen.
I fear this story will only grow more disturbing and depressing as it progresses. As I write these words, Fox News is reporting live from James Holmes’s apartment. Police disarmed the booby traps but still worry that one of Holmes’s amateur explosives could go off by accident. This tragedy’s body count could still grow exponentially. (Fox just reported now that seven victims remain in critical condition.)
I’m not sure yet what to make of the familiarity of this story. Events such as these — millennials plotting elaborate massacres of their peers — have almost come to define the dark side of my generation. I was a freshman in high school during the Columbine shootings. Everything was different afterwards. High-school security and no-tolerance policies shot up, suspicion of “different” kids increased, and now we could no longer waltz into R-rated movies. But who knows if any of those well-intentioned measures actually reduced or prevented future massacres.
And while some are eager to point the finger at a “uniquely violent” American culture, the same phenomenon of a tech savvy, hyper-intellectual with strange delusions of grandeur also appears in the 1979-born Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77.
I wonder if a part of this is technological and informational. That now everyone has access not just to guns and the chemicals to manufacture homemade explosives, but also to the techniques and simulations for how to plot a massacre. Generation X going to high school in the ’70s and ’80s could not program in the layout of their school into a customized version of Doom and then practice their crime in advance. Likewise the baby boomers may have had Rosemary’s Baby and Bonnie and Clyde in theatres. They did not have seven Saw movies showing how cool it is to make homemade death traps and explosives.
Perhaps we should just understand it the same way we grasp the high death counts of the Civil War. As technology develops it becomes easier for evil men to inflict their self-hatred on the rest of the world in the most devastating ways.
Updated 4:02 PM: Fox News just reported that the bomb squad has removed all the explosives.
Updated 5:27 PM: Jail Employee: James Holmes Shows No Remorse
PJ Lifestyle’s coverage of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado yesterday:
And the newest coverage from the PJ Tatler today: