Grand Junction moviegoers don’t allow fear to stop show
Don’t be afraid, and go see “The Dark Knight Rises,” Grand Junction moviegoers said Friday.
Despite the horrific news of the shooting of more than 70 people at an Aurora movie theater just after midnight Friday, local residents still came out to see the last of the three Batman movies.
Several said they did so not only because they wanted to see the movie, but also because Coloradans shouldn’t allow an act of mass murder to change how they live their lives.
“If he’s the one who did it and got caught at it, I think he deserves the death penalty,” said Neal West, a Moab, Utah, resident who came to Grand Junction just to see the movie. “Back when the World Trade Center got blown up, we went on a cruise right after. If we let them scare us, they’ve won. You have to push forward with life.”
Like so many other Batman moviegoers worldwide, Steve Verdieck and Isaac Kuykendall had been at the Regal Canyon View Theatre, 648 Market St., late Thursday night to watch all three movies in the trilogy.
Both, however, had to leave before the final movie because Kuykendall’s wife went into labor, which turned out to be a false one.
As a result, the duo returned Friday afternoon to catch a matinee showing of the final film.
“Go see it. It’s a comic book movie,” Kuykendall said.
“It’s just like 9/11,” Verdieck quickly added. “You can’t stop your life because some crazy person decided to flip a switch and do something horrible.”
The suspect who was arrested shortly after the shootings reportedly was wearing a gas mask, bullet-proof vest and a helmet, making some of the moviegoers believe he was trying to dress up as the Batman character Bain, the main villain in the new movie.
“It’s simple. It’s a deranged fan boy. There’s very few people like that in this world, but there are those people,” said Shawn Vanhorn, who also came from Moab to see the movie. “Some people don’t have much of a life and some people have so many issues in their life that they live in their own fantasy world.”
Despite the confidence of some moviegoers, the Grand Junction Police Department on Friday assigned extra officers to the Regal Canyon View theater for showings of the new Batman movie.
“We are not expecting any similar incidents locally ... but we do want to help calm fears and just give our community a little more peace of mind,” police spokeswoman Kate Porras said in an email.
The heightened police presence will remain at least through the weekend, Porras said. Theater management said it had put precautions in place for future showings but referred further comment to the corporate headquarters of Regal Cinemas, which did not respond to media injuries.