News24

Tears, cheers at US massacre vigil

2012-07-23 07:36

Aurora - There were tears for the victims, and cheers for those who prevented even more lives being lost, as the Colorado town of Aurora stood silent on Sunday to grieve the Batman cinema massacre.

About 3 000 mourners gathered three blocks from the multiplex where James Holmes allegedly opened fire on those attending a packed midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises on Friday, killing 12 and injuring 58.

"While our hearts are broken, our community is not," Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan told the crowds, many with small children or clutching flowers, as heart-shaped balloons floated into the sky.

The vigil was preceded by an address by President Barack Obama, who said he had "shed some tears" with the families of the dead, but also shared some laughter at warm memories of their loved ones' lives.

Obama did not mention Holmes' name - an emerging theme since Friday's massacre.

Even before he spoke a relative of one of the victims, Jordan Ghawi - whose sister Jessica Ghawi had blogged about surviving a shooting in Toronto only days before she died in Aurora - had pressed Obama to focus on the victims.

Remembering the victims

"Sat down with President Obama. He has been incredible. He too has agreed not to mention the shooter's name," he said on his Twitter account.

And so it was with Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who drew applause when he refused to mention Holmes by name, referring to him only as "suspect A" and insisting that the priority should be to remember the 12 victims.

"July 20th should never be about remembering the killer, it should be to about remembering those individuals, remembering those victims. So I ask you to help me here.

He then read out their names, after each of which the crowd chanted, "We will remember."

Then, addressing the deceased victims, Hickenlooper vowed: "We will remember you, we will honour you by celebrating life, by living our lives a little better."

Grandmother Genie Hartley, crying, acknowledged that the Second Amendment of the US constitution enshrines the right to bear arms, but said that what happened in Aurora was not about constitutional rights.

Memorial


"I respect the fact that people have to protect themselves, it's about the second amendment. But what happened in this theatre was not about the second amendment, it's about a massacre," she said.

One big banner read: "Thank you Aurora police, fire and EMS."

A few blocks away, a makeshift memorial has sprung up in front of the cinema, with hundreds of candles, floral bouquets, crosses, American flags, and signs in memory of the victims.

On a small slope, 12 white crosses are lined up, with the names of the victims, flowers and candles around them. Some have baseball hats, black laces and teddy bears attached to them.

People came to leave flowers and kneel and pray in front of each cross.

Heather Lebedoff, aged 24, carried 12 red roses and sobbed as she paid tribute to those who died.

"I'm very sad that something like this is happening. I'm glad to see how some people are showing their loving support. We have to be strong as a community," she said.

She then left one rose in front of each cross and prayed for each of the victims.

Comments
  • cheesakkers - 2012-07-23 08:18

    ‘Evil’ution theory that “suspect” A has been taught as truth, teaches that humans are a species of animals and in the animal kingdom it’s not abnormal to kill. Beneath all the lies this teaching is the main cause of this killing!

      arthur.hugh - 2012-07-23 09:05

      Time to change your meds, maybe up the dosage.

      Mark - 2012-07-23 09:13

      Talk about sick individuals.

      brian.connell.18 - 2012-07-23 09:46

      Name one animal that kills indiscriminately. Predators kill for food. An individual such as 'Suspect A' killed for no reason. That is not evolution, my friend, but an insane, power-hungry low-life who has irrevocably destroyed lives and relationships and families. Read and learn a bit more about life, evolution and creationism BEFORE hitting your keyboard again........

      cheesakkers - 2012-07-23 11:44

      Brain, you need to open your eyes, stop living so close minded. You are like a man with a blindfold and a headset connected to what people tell you. Start thinking for yourself, examine the data - you have the ability you know! Maybe you should THINK for yourself BEFORE judging! Read this: http://www.examiner.com/article/the-aurora-shooting-and-evolution?cid=rss

  • Christine - 2012-07-23 08:18

    Our society is breeding madmen for some reason, and we need to trace down why this is... so we can treat the disease that is inflicting us with events such as this one, horrors beyond imagining. May the families find solace, somehow, from this madman's rage. May we all...

      arthur.hugh - 2012-07-23 09:08

      More people on earth means more mad ones... I think. Add the fact that you can buy guns as easily as a packet of chips over there.

  • Shaun Robinson - 2012-07-23 08:21

    That's one thing about American people, the know how to stand together and believe in each other. They have proven it time and again...

  • arthur.hugh - 2012-07-23 09:08

    Can't even comprehend what those poor people went through. I hope he's in one of those states where they hang Suspect A.

  • WarrenStylin - 2012-07-23 09:34

    Why are people so surprised when this happens? We are animals. It is in our nature to be the Alpha male. We either gain power by having money, having the biggest muscles, being the funniest. There are different ways of being dominant. (I haven't heard of a shooting when it is a female shooter) If we have problems being the Alpha male in the way society dictates we resort to our natural instinct to kill to gain power. You see it all over the world on a daily basis. If this was 1000 years ago Suspect A would have gained status within his Tribe, clan, group through fear. So, as said. Don't be surprised when our Natural instinct overrides our social instinct.

  • Cosmic - 2012-07-23 11:12

    Why is it that every time a new "law" or "bill" needs to be passed, crap like this happens in America?

  • thys.reeder - 2012-07-23 11:15

    Absolute tragedy. There was a no-gun sign at the door, why didnt it work?

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