Last Friday, a lone shooter killed 12 people and injured many others during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.
Upon hearing the news, our country was saddened and outraged. It’s sparked debates about gun control (and I’ve had about enough of it on my Facebook page—can we please get back to cute pictures of your kids and funny stories from your day?) and personal freedoms in our country.
Conversations are ongoing about what many believe to be deficiencies in mental health care in our country. Are sick people getting the help they need to prevent tragedies like this?
Another conversation is taking off as a result of the tragic news, and it’s a heated one.
As a country, we were horrified to hear that a three-month-old baby was shot and injured at the theater massacre, and a lot of folks are wondering why in the world a baby was a midnight showing in the first place.
Some people, in blog comments and Twitter posts, are actually suggesting that the parents of the baby brought this on themselves for having the baby out so late.
Really? We’re wagging fingers at the parents of a baby shot at point-blank range in what was surely the most terrifying, nightmarish moment of their lives?
I’m going to assure myself that the people taking this tactic are just trying to make themselves feel less vulnerable by assuring themselves that as long as they continue keeping their children home at night nothing terrible will ever happen to them. I can’t bear to think otherwise—that they are consciously aware they’re making a horrific experience for the baby’s parents even more horrific with their judgments and blame-placing.
I’ve never taken an infant to an adult movie. Not because I worried about them absorbing any of the violence onscreen, but because my husband is Mr. Uber Considerate. He would pass out from shame if our baby made a peep in a movie theatre. It’s understandable. When movies cost more than your dinner, you should respect other patrons’ right to an undisturbed theater experience.
But I understand why someone would take their baby to a late movie. Movies are expensive, and the idea of coughing up even more cash for a sitter is hard to swallow. And some parents just aren’t comfortable leaving their babies with sitters.
Also, some babies are just good. They’ll sleep through the entire movie, and mom or dad are ready with breasts or bottles if they don’t.
As long as you’re ready to dash to the door if your baby makes noise, I don’t have a problem with babies in theatres.
For the people judging the parents for having an infant out so late at night? Well, I took my infant daughter to concerts and music festivals that lasted well into the night. She was perfectly fine sleeping in a sling across my chest. She probably actually preferred that to sleeping in her crib. It wasn’t a disruption of her schedule, and she wasn’t in more danger because she was outside the house at night. Bad things don’t happen only in the nighttime.
My heart goes out to all the victims and their families, and especially to the parents of the infant who was shot. They’ll live the rest of their lives playing that moment over in their minds and wondering if it really was their fault.
What do you think, moms? Babies in movie theatres? Babies at adult movies? Late night showings? Is it okay, or should parents cough up the cash for a sitter or stay at home?
This article first appeared on Snellville Patch.