Details about the mass shooting at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado are still coming to light, but one victim's story resonates with me personally on a level that has truly made me sorrowful.
One of the victims was Jessica Ghawi, also known as Jessica Redfield, a 25-year-old woman who loved hockey and wanted to go into sports reporting. She had experience covering the AHL San Antonio Rampage as an intern, including a comical incident with high heels and hockey rinks that her boss at the time, Mike Taylor, is now using as a way to remember her at her best and try to cope with this terrible news. She'd moved to Denver and interned with Denver-area stations, covering the Colorado Avalanche, and she was so excited for the future. She was also interning with the You Can Play Project, a noble group devoted to ending homophobia in sports, and the group has paid their respects to her.
Now her bright future is tragically extinguished. Ghawi's brother Jordan, who is disclosing more details as he learns them here, said that she was in the theater with her friend Brent Lowek when the horrors began. Lowek gave first aid to Ghawi, who was shot in the leg, even after he was shot somewhere in the lower half of his body too. It was at that time, while he was still trying to help her, that he saw she had been shot in the head. Lowek then called Ghawi's mother to deliver the terrible news.
Ghawi narrowly escaped another recent mass shooting in a public place. She was in Toronto in June, went to the Eaton Center mall and was in the food court when, as she wrote about the experience, she got a strange feeling that compelled her to leave the mall. Minutes later, one victim was dead and seven more were wounded.
This tragedy affects everyone. As a fellow young woman who loves hockey and is breaking into the world of covering it, though, I feel so terribly for her and for everyone else who was killed or injured while merely attempting to enjoy the latest big blockbuster movie. I've personally been to midnight showings of movies before, for much of the "Harry Potter" series, and the movie theater should be a safe space. People are relaxed, sitting in the dark and being entertained, maybe trying to take their mind off of bad things or just trying to have fun. Of course, the mall should be a safe space, too. Scratch that: all public spaces should be safe spaces to take your loved ones, meet people, have a good time and thrive.
But Ghawi's dreams are like my dreams. I feel like she probably imagined many of the same things I do when my brain conjures up images of the future: a future of happiness and joy from doing what you love to do, feeling the unique passion that comes from writing, enjoying the sport and loving your life. How terrible it is that her dreams, and the dreams of every victim in that theater, have been silenced in such a horrible manner.
May they rest in peace.
Emma Harger is a Boston Bruins fan. Her thoughts are with the victims of this senseless act and with their loved ones too.