By now, we've all heard of the tragedy that occurred at an Aurora, Colorado screening of The Dark Knight Rises last Friday morning. Twelve died and dozens were wounded as a gunman opened fire on innocent patrons just trying to enjoy a night out at the movies. Among them were several couples.
It's easy to say, "I'd take a bullet for you," to a significant other; especially when most of us (thankfully) never have to actually place ourselves between harm's way and our loved one. But on that night in Aurora, many couples aiming to enjoy a date night found themselves trapped in an unimaginably frightening scenario.
While some fled, others emerged as heroes. You may have heard the story of Jamie Rohrs, a father who left his girlfriend and their two very-young children in the theater as he escaped. He even drove away, returning to the scene only after his girlfriend called him to say she and the kids were okay. While there are mixed opinions about this situation, many are telling his girlfriend (who he later proposed to) not to marry him.
Then there's Isaiah Bow, who had also initially escaped the theater. Upon realizing his girlfriend was still inside, however, he ran back in to help her. Both are alive today.
Sadly, not every hero in the theater survived the shooting. Jon Blunk, a 25-year-old veteran of the United States Navy, reportedly pushed his girlfriend to the ground and hid her under a seat before shielding her body with his own. Blunk's girlfriend, Jansen Young, survived, but Blunk did not. "He'll never be forgotten," Young has said. "Jon took a bullet for me."
Protection was also the initial instinct of Alex Teves, a 24-year-old who was at the screening with his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren. Teves put Lindgren's safety first, throwing her to the ground to protect her from the gunfire. As he moved to join her on the floor, he was shot.
Also among the heroes: Matt McQuinn, 26, who dove on top of his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, to shield her from the bullets. McQuinn ended up being fatally wounded, while Yowler is currently recovering from taking a bullet to the knee.
It's hard to imagine ever having to put the phrase, "I'd take a bullet for you," to practice, and while many say they'd die for the one they love, being in-the-moment of an act of terror likely throws romance out the window more often than not. And that shouldn't really come under criticism — it's instinctual to protect ourselves.
Though these stories of heroism are heartbreaking, they shed some light on the fact that good still does exist in the world. Love is a strong bond, and it prevailed in these scenarios. Let's hope that in the days that follow, each and every victim of the Aurora tragedy is remembered and respected, and that all are taking steps toward healing after this awful event.
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