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Author Topic: Movie theater shootings raise questions of mortality
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Post Movie theater shootings raise questions of mortality
on: January 2, 2013, 01:46

Do you want to live forever?

Maybe that's why our culture likes superheroes so much. Superheroes are immortal. When they get hurt or sick, they heal easily. They're extremely powerful and heroic. They're the people we'd want to be if we had their powers — helping the little guy, rescuing the weak, standing up to evil, and achieving their goals and dreams in spades.

Of course, superheroes don't have to worry about death when they're rescuing people in danger. Death is the one thing that makes all humans freak out a little.

When I was a kid, the graveyard behind my grandparents' house in New Jersey was mostly a place to chase geese and scare my cousin Tommy. When my pets died, my parents used words like "gone to heaven" or "in a better place."

It wasn't until my teenage years that I started to really think about what dying meant. I'll never forget the petrified feeling I had when I looked at my grandmother's casket, or the awful hollowness I experienced when my friend Tovah died in a car accident. No wonder my parents wanted to protect me.

When you're a teenager, it's easy to think of death as something that will never happen to you. After all, you have your entire life in front of you.

It's easy to shoot people in a video game because you know it's not real or to drive really fast on dark streets because you think you'll never be in an accident, to binge drink at a party because a trip to the hospital is something that happens to other people. Right?

Wrong.

That's why I can't stop thinking about the people who died or were hurt in the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., in July. Most of the people killed or injured were young. Who would have guessed that would be their last night on earth? Who could have possibly known?

If Batman lived in Aurora instead of Gotham, he would have swooped down at the last minute and carried away the perpetrator before the tragedy occurred. But this is real life, not a movie: None of us is going to live forever.

Life is precious and so fragile.

It's OK to have uncomfortable, mournful feelings about the Aurora shooting, even if we didn't know any of the victims. That's part of being human.

When a tragedy like this occurs, it affects us and makes us question how we are living. It should make us question. It should make us think. It should make us look at our lives and wonder how we can make the best use of the time we have left, even if we're young. That's something a superhero would do.

The tragic deaths of 12 people who just wanted to see a movie is one more reminder that we don't have forever to pursue our goals. As Catholics, we believe and hope our souls will go to heaven to be with God when we die, but we still need to live every day on earth to the fullest.

We need to chase our dreams, help others, stand up to bullies and love others. We need to be superheroes in our spheres, using the one chance we get at this life to make the world a better place for everyone who's going through the joys and tragedies of this world.

None of us, not even Batman, with all of his riches and his glittery gadgets and his technology, knows when our stories are going to end.

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