The country is still reeling from the impact of a devil on Earth entering a crowded movie theater in an otherwise peaceful community shooting 70 people and leaving 12 dead. It’s a disgusting commentary to what evil lurks in our midst. In the wake of this vile attack, there are stories of heroism. There are stories of boyfriends giving their lives so their girlfriends would survive. Nobody should expect to go to a movie theater for a couple of hours to de-stress and face the barrel of a heinous criminal’s gun. But, historically, when life and death situations confront good people, men lay their lives on the line to protect or save women and children.
It was a tad over 100 years ago when the fabled “unsinkable” Titanic rammed into an iceberg leaving it catastrophically damaged and on it’s way to the bottom of the frigid Atlantic. When it became obvious the ship would not survive, it was time to get to the lifeboats. There weren’t enough for all aboard so, a very strict women-and-children-first policy was employed. It was a no-brainer. That’s the way things worked. When faced with danger, the men faced it while doing all they could to protect the women and children. All in all 1,347 men and only 103 women died that fateful day in 1912. There were no throngs of TV and radio reporters with satellite trucks and live internet feeds waiting to interview the survivors — just a world in shock and an understanding why so few men survived the sunken ship. The men did what was expected. They died so those younger and weaker could live. That sensibility was again reality in that theater in Aurora, Colorado — mostly. Three heroes died so their girlfriends could live. Jon Blunk, Alex Teves and Matt McQuinn were killed while protecting their girlfriends from bullets. Then there’s Jamie Rohrs.
Most of us have never and will never face the kind of life and death situation faced by everyone in that theater on July 20, 2012. It’s easy to speculate but impossible to accurately report how we would react facing a gun-wielding evildoer. It’s not dissimilar to the questions we all asked ourselves after the attacks of 9/11. What would we have done in the face of that kind of evil — and the fate the 3,000 killed faced that day? It’s easy to say we’d attack the bad guy and take him down. But, you really never know. But, being a father of four, and a husband, there is NO doubt I’d put my life on the line to protect my family. How that would manifest itself is what’s not known. I can, however, also report that I would NOT do what the aforementioned Jamie Rohrs decided to do. You can see the video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YFZ7C5-h_m4#!).
Rohrs, at the theater with his girlfriend and two children, speaks of looking for his family members, being disoriented, then suddenly he’s away from danger and contemplating going back for them. Without him saying so, it becomes obvious he got the heck out of there — leaving his young girlfriend and very young children to fend for themselves. And, as he says he was on the verge of going back in to look for them, he speaks of how he reconsidered, saying “if you go back, you’re dead too and what if our kids live and then they’re orphans…” WHAT? He was, at that very moment, expecting his girlfriend was dead and in the off chance his kids survived, HE needed to stay alive so they wouldn’t be orphans. Wow. Just wow.
One hundred years ago, that kind of cowardice would be faced with massive outcry by Americans if not a public flogging. In 2012, he’s so unembarrassed by his shameful cowardice that he not only showed up on CNN to retell the story of how he left his family for dead, he also had the unmitigated gall to announce that he chose the hospital room after the attack to ask the girlfriend he fled from to save his hide to marry him. Call me old-fashioned but, hearing a story like his and his rationale for why he thinks he did the right thing at that moment makes me hearken for days gone by and makes me respect even more, those who put themselves in harm’s way to save others. By the way, she said, “yes.” Wow