Someone back home told me that our state is really big, but it’s still a very small community. If someone sneezes in Boulder, they’ll say “bless you” in Castle Rock. Within 30 minutes of the Aurora shootings, the event was in every news outlet from the Denver Post to Aljazeera. It’s easy to feel removed from a community when you’re living abroad, but the moment the news surfaced, my heart froze.
I don’t want to go on about how I could have been there if not for the glaring fact that I live on the other side of the world. I think I’ve been to that movie theater once, and it was because the shows were sold out at all of the other, closer places. And, as far as I know, all of my close friends and family are safe.
I want to talk about the trust we must have to go on with our lives.
I’ve started seeing how much trust we put into other people during our everyday lives back home. We trust that the car stopped at a crosswalk will choose not to step on the gas when we’re in front of it. We trust that the person walking next to us on a staircase won’t shove us down the steps. We trust the barista won’t spit into our coffee.
In the western world, we’re lucky to have these moments of unnoticed trust. Every day begins with “Today began like any other day.” For that to happen, we have to trust that the outside world — our community — will allow that to happen. Most parts of the world don’t have that luxury.*
After Columbine, parents started questioning if they could send their children to school. After 9/11, people were afraid to go to work. After Virginia Tech, we saw the benefit of skipping class. Now, after the Aurora shooting, it’s scary to be a giant nerd who just wanted to see Batman at midnight.
I implore everyone to take a breath and remember all of the days that started like any other and were unremarkable because of the trust we put into other people.
Update: I just got off the phone with my Dad who missed my call because he took my brother and his friend see Batman.
*Please don’t negate the magnitude of a western tragedy by saying, “People die every day in this part of the world.” No life that is lost from a senseless act outweighs another.