It's been months since the horrifying shootings in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, but the urge to find someone to blame hasn't gone away. There's the shooter James Holmes, of course, currently on trial in Colorado, but now two victims of the shooting want to blame the theater itself, and have filed a lawsuit against Cinemark USA Inc. seeking unspecified damages.
Denise Traynom and Brandon Axelrod, who suffered non-critical gunshot wounds during the July 20 shootings, filed the suit that claims Cinemark did not provide proper security for the theater, and that the exterior door lacked a security system that would have alerted the staff that someone-- presumably Holmes-- had propped open the exit he used to burst into the theater and open fire during the midnight screening. A third victim, Joshua Nowlan, has filed a similar suit. Here's a sample statement from the first suit, via The Los Angeles Times:
"Any person who wished to make a surreptitious and unauthorized entry into the theater could easily determine that the lack of security personnel and lack of any alarm on the door at the right ... would allow them to leave the theater, and re-enter without fear of being discovered, interfered with, monitored or stopped."
The suits were filed last Friday, the same day that Cinemark announced plans to refurbish and reopen the Aurora theater by 2013.
For those of us living far away from the shooting tragedy, it's been relatively easy to give into the urge to put all of it in the past, recognizing the scale of the tragedy but returning to our normal lives. For the victims, of course, it's a completely different scenario, and impossible to imagine what their lives have been like since July. All of us have seen movies in theaters that were completely and utterly unequipped for a shooting of this scale; Aurora's Cinemark, tragically, happened to be one of them. Does that mean they should be sued for what happened? I honestly don't know. But I can't presume to judge how these victims are responding to what happened to them, either.