A gunman opened fire on the audience at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie Dark Knight Rises in Aurora (CO), killing 12 and wounding 59 others. Early reports said some waiting in line wore costumes. Even the suspected gunman had orange-dyed hair, and police say he referred to himself as The Joker. The Denver Post has extensive coverage.
I decided to write something because Dave Langford noted the story on Ansible Links as “Depressing News From Denver.” I don’t know his exact reasons, though he’s certainly right, and fannish news blogs really need no more reason than that it’s a sad story which obviously involves people we would characterize as science fiction fans even if we don’t know who they are.
George Takei made this comment on Facebook:
Many victims of today’s tragedy were fans of science fictuion/fantasy. They stood in line to be the first to see, to be inspired, and to escape. As a community of dreamers, we mourn this terrible tragedy and this senseless taking of innocent life.
Over 150,000 people had already clicked “like” at this writing.
The shootings happened at a Cinemark Century theater, and there have been media reports about new restrictions on costume-wearing patrons. I did not find anything from Cinemark addressing costumes, however the spokesman for the large AMC chain issued a statement:
Contrary to media reports, costumes are not banned, but we will not admit guests with face-concealing masks and we will not allow fake weapons in the buildings. We want all our guests to feel comfortable at our theatres and we will be closely monitoring.
The dead and wounded have yet to be named in news reports. I made a list of of people in early news stories identified as being in the theater and checked it against Denvention III members from the progress reports and got no matches. Hopefully it will stay that way — we’ll see. I note Aurora does have enough of a fan presence to be the host city for next year’s Costume-Con.