One of the best moviegoings of my life was seeing the midnight opening of The Dark Knight at the Prytania Theatre. The good nature and enthusiasm of that crowd still stands out as one of the best entertainment experiences I’ve ever had. And for weeks afterwards it was amazing to see the world echo my own reaction to the film. It felt like a truly global experience.

I hoped for a similar experience with the release of The Dark Knight Rises. And though I thoroughly enjoyed the midnight screening I attended, while driving away, I heard the first reports of the horrors that befell a kindred audience in Aurora, Colorado. There was a gunman, they said. Many were dead, they said.

What a violation. As filmgoers, we readily sit vulnerable for hours in a dark room. It takes substantial trust to suspend our senses enough to enjoy a film. To be willingly distracted. In rooms filled with hundreds of strangers, we find enough trust to laugh, to cry, to think. We find enough trust to love.

While it may have been the intentions of the gunman to destroy that trust, there was still love. There were still those who sacrificed themselves so that their loved ones might live. There are still those holding their loved ones even now.

On the following Friday night, theaters across the country were filled. Millions gathered, undeterred. Some may characterize their willingness as indifference. But I think it was trust.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragedy in Aurora.

– Micah Haley