Here’s a welcome break from the flood of “thank God I wasn’t hurt” drivel coming from those who survived the shootings at the Batman screening in Aurora, Colorado. One of the survivors says bluntly that they weren’t blessed to survive, they got away because they reacted quickly, got lucky and some skilled and dedicated people helped them.
I was saved by natural selection, and tear gas. That’s right – tear gas…
A man enters, wearing what appears to be a gas mask, and for some reason it looks just like the one worn by the villain in the movie (or at least, that is my messed up recollection of it). It also appears that he is wearing some sort of combat gear, with a helmet and everything. I was immediately a little freaked out, but I assumed that it was a promotional stunt from the theater and was meant to do so. I think I heard a weird popping noise and then a can or something came flying towards us. The girl next to me and I both swatted at it and it almost hit me in the face, it seemed. At this point, I still think it’s a promotional thing. Perhaps it was a t-shirt gun, or some idiot was throwing us cans of some up-and-coming energy drink. Maybe it’s a prank, who knows.
Well, the can landed and our feet, and as Chris is saying something like “what the fuck is that?”, I am smelling it to see what it is. In a split second, I recognized that it was tear gas, meaning that this was either a bad joke or it wasn’t a joke at all and either way, it is time to run. The next second is a blur but according to Chris, I jumped over him to get out of the aisle and we both ran for our lives. I dropped my purse on the way out with all of my cards- insurance, ID, bank card- as well as my cell phone and car keys in it. But the instinct to keep running overpowered any other thought in my mind. “Fight or flight” is an extremely basic human survival instinct to me, but apparently it wasn’t to some of the others in the theater that night because there were only a couple of other people running with us, I believe…
I hope to not offend anybody by saying this, but I wasn’t touched by an angel, I wasn’t “blessed”- I had a good head on my shoulders and I used it. It actually worries and saddens me that most people do not possess such basic animalistic survival instincts, that so many of them curled up on the floor and kissed their own butts goodbye. I don’t want or need to think about all of that, though, because all it does it bring on a barrage of emotions, where I feel angry with them and then guilty and then sad and then run-on sentences. It’s just not a good idea. And no matter how they reacted to it, the event itself was nobody’s fault but that of the criminal who did this. People can believe in whatever they want to, and perhaps the universe or a higher power or something else said “hey, it’s not her time”, and that is definitely possible (I mean, it’s possible to get shot when going out to the movies, so I am no longer ruling stuff out), but I’d like to give credit where credit is most certainly due, and thank the ones who need to be thanked the most because I don’t think they get enough credit sometimes;
If my partner and I had not taken responsibility for ourselves at some point in our lives and joined the US Navy, we would not have immediately recognized the smell of tear gas. If we had not been so sharp, or just born with common sense and basic survival instincts, we would not have ran. If we were lazy and slow, we would not have ran as fast as we did (glad we go on those nightly dog walks). If we were not brave, we would not have kept moving even though someone very well could have been blocking the exit, with another gun (though I seriously didn’t even process that it was gun shots behind us- we both really thought that it was fireworks or something ridiculous but still potentially dangerous). If Chris wasn’t a smart, level-headed guy, he would not have stayed calm enough to drive me where I needed to go and handle the situation. If the medical personnel had not been absolutely amazing, I would not be in the shape I am now. I am not trying to talk down to anyone who thanks their higher power for this miracle (and I will agree that that’s a very appropriate word for this) at all, so please do not take it as such because that’s not what this is about. This is about me wanting you all to realize the immense feeling of gratitude that I have for Chris and the medical staff who took such amazing care of me. From the paramedics and the one who held my hand in the ambulance, to the nurses, radiologists, doctors, chaplain, social workers, and even the pharmacy tech at Safeway, I want you to know that you all are the reason I am ok and in so much less pain right now. You made the pain “go away”, as I had kept begging and pleading for somebody to earlier that night.
That’s rational and no one should be offended at it. It is far more offensive, I think, to claim that God somehow protected you while letting other people get shot and killed. That’s offensive.