AirTalk for July 20, 2012

A dark night in Aurora, Colorado

Colorado Shooting

Ed Andrieski/AP

An Aurora Police officer talks on his radio outside of the Century 16 theater at Aurora Mall where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

A midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises went tragically awry last night in Aurora, Colorado. Approximately twenty minutes into the movie, a man wearing a gas masked entered through the theater’s back exit, threw in a smoking canister and started randomly shooting into the packed crowd.

All told, thirteen people were killed and 38 injured. Before the gunshots took place, some audience members thought this was simply a live element to accompany the movie. Once it became clear what was happening, there was a mad scramble on the part of the audience to escape. The shooter, James Holmes, was arrested carrying a handgun and a rifle in the theater’s parking lot after the incident. Holmes is allegedly 24-years-old, and has a mother in San Diego.

AirTalk will be devoting the first hour of our program to following this devastating story. We’ll get the latest details, as well as take a local focus in regards to security at Colorado movie theaters.

What was the police response like in this situation? How does this shooting fit into the larger context of Colorado’s history, specifically Columbine? Is there any significance to the fact that Holmes’s mother lives in San Diego? What’s the psychology behind this incident? Could it have been foreseen or prevented? Why did Holmes do it? Will this event inspire others to do the same? What about the larger issue of gun control?

Will it become a major topic in the presidential campaign? Holmes has already been tangentially associated with the Democratic and Tea Parties by opposing sides, does his voting status matter and is it really something to discuss at a time like this? How are families and friends of the victims responding to this tragedy? What about the larger response of Twitter, Facebook and other social media?

Guests:

Justin McHeffey, Reporter with CBS4, Denver, Colorado

Larry Rosenthal, Professor of Law, Chapman School of Law

Dr. Stanton Samenow, author of “Inside the Criminal Mind,” Criminal Psychologist

Ed Joyce, KPCC reporter

Commander Andrew Smith, Public Information Officer for Los Angeles Police Department


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