If I were Judith Guest or Anne Tyler,
I would be writing a story about a family dealing with the personal and emotional effects of the inconceivable loss of child.
If I were Dan Brown or Tom Clancy,
I would be crafting a thriller with the emergence of unlikely heroes from inconceivable chaos.
If I were Sue Grafton or John Grisham,
I would be providing a riveting lead-up to a fictional trial for inconceivable events.
If I were James Clavell or Herman Wouk,
I would be writing a historical novel about how a single inconceivable incident can unbalance world affairs.
If I were Stephen King, John Steinbeck, or even Anne Rice,
I might conjure up a character capable of inconceivable evil.
If I were James Michener or Annie Proulx, I might describe—
through a series of nuanced individuals and actions over a number of years—an inconceivable occurrence that changed the face of a community forever.
In fact, if I were one of any number of capable authors, I might craft an elaborate plot about a single shooter who implements a completely inconceivable scheme after months of planning minute macabre details.
Yet, even as finely wrought fiction, this story could stretch our credulity, require a high degree of the suspension of our disbelief.”
Except that this story is not fiction, not the invention of a skillful or competent author. It’s the horrifying, inconceivable account of the theater shooting in Aurora—a real-life story that will continue to play out in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
Everyday people became heroes, taking bullets for the loved ones they sheltered. Grieving families and suffering survivors relive their trauma over and over.
Emergency personnel, police officers, swat teams, bomb squads, and volunteers swarmed to the scene and stayed to help the community put itself together.
And already blame has been swirling to fill the void of questions yet to be answered.”
Blame, however, should have nothing at all to do with the young people, families, and members of our armed forces—Colorado citizens who just wanted to step away for a few hours to be entertained with the people they care about—who were in the theater that night.
And of course, the legal proceedings will indeed be nothing less than riveting, no matter what your own sense of justice might be.
Perhaps, in the end, it will be left to someone with the types of sensitivities, awareness, and worldliness as those of authors Michener, Clavell, or Wouk to weave the events of July 20, 2012, into the fabric of global history for those who will come after us.
However, in reality, not even the most gifted author, poet, or playwright can make sense of what happened.
Because the old adage is still correct: truth is more inconceivable than fiction.This article was previously published in the Arvada Press and affiliated newspapers, and is reprinted here with permission. A little more about the author: Andrea Doray is a writer from Arvada who believes even Stephen King (or John Steinbeck!) has not created a creature of such inconceivable malevolence. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.