Life wins. Mass murderer James Holmes loses. The Century 16 Aurora theater stays.
Cinemark owns the theater where Holmes unleashed a gruesome, bullet-ridden massacre July 20, killing 12, wounding dozens more and shaking the security of Aurora, and pretty much the entire nation. Last week, CEO Tim Warner said his company will yield to requests from the community to keep the theater. Warner said the company will re-configure the complex and reopen it sometime early next year.
It’s the best thing to do for one of the worst disasters in Colorado history.
Clearly, the decision doesn’t come lightly for Cinemark, as it didn’t for most of Aurora. What the community saw of the horrific maelstrom at the theater can’t come close to the terror victims suffered, nor the terror that all of us have imagined as the stories have unfolded. But Warner and most Aurora residents wisely separated a sick, heinous bully from the place he committed his atrocity. The theater didn’t commit these crimes; Holmes did. The theater wasn’t witness to the melee; we were.
While some victims and Aurora residents called for the theater to be razed, it would only take away an empty building, not the loss nor the pain that Holmes let loose here. By giving in to the natural urge to simply blot out what’s too painful to see, we would only have allowed Holmes to claim yet another victim.
Instead, Holmes has failed in terrorizing us any more than he did the night he started pulling the trigger inside the crowded theater. Despite his melodramatic offense, the country continues to fill cinemas and enjoy America’s biggest shared pastime: going to the movies. Because of Cinemark’s courageous decision, Aurora will also resume its love affair with the silver screen at the Town Center of Aurora.
City and theater officials have begun to do their part to set this ultimate tragedy behind us. Now it’s time for the rest of Aurora to do ours.
It’s our responsibility to advise Cinemark, and the city, what we all want them to do. While details of their plans weren’t released, they made it clear that the theater would be substantially remodeled, which is a wise decision.
Undecided is just how much attention the remodeled theater should draw to the tragedy that happened there. Some residents feel that something prominent would only serve to unnerve the public and turn them away, which is contrary to why Cinemark should reopen the theater. Others feel that something too subtle or sedate would be dismissive of one of the most cruel and vile crimes in the state.
Through the city’s website at auroragov.org and its Facebook page, Aurora residents and others can help direct Cinemark where to go from here.
But most importantly, it will be vital for Aurora to return to the theater when it reopens. Returning will not only support Cinemark for bravely choosing to act contrary to instinct, but returning to the theater shows the world, and possibly those who ponder a crime like Holmes’, that the power terrorists hold is fleeting and ends when the shooting stops. The decision to reopen this theater isn’t about Holmes. It isn’t about the building. It’s about us. And we win.