Everyone was expecting today's pop-culture discussion to be dominated by talk of "The Dark Knight Rises." But not like this.
The nation has awakened to the horrific news that a man entered a midnight screening of the new "Batman" movie in Aurora, Colo., set of gas canisters and then started shooting his guns into the moviegoing crowd.
As of 7:40 this morning, local time, 12 people were dead and 38 are wounded, and it's likely thosse numbers will change. A suspect has been arrested in the theater parking lot. Police and the FBI are investigating, both at the theater and the suspect's apartment.
Warner Bros. Pictures, the distributor of "The Dark Knight Rises," has issued a statement of sympathy and cancelled the film's premiere tonight in Paris. President Barack Obama has made a statement about the shooting, as has his Republican challlenger.
Many of us will spend at least part of today glued to the TV or our computers, seeking out updates about this terrible incident. The news networks will talk and talk, filling the spaces between new bits of information with hours of idle speculation, societal finger-pointing and innocuous platitudes. This is how we grieve in a plugged-in world.
For movie lovers -- and who doesn't love at least one movie? -- this morning's shooting is a double violation. The shooter not only has taken lives, but shattered our sanctuary. The movie theater is where we go to escape the world's bad news for a couple of hours, to immerse ourselves in a story that takes out of our own problems. A theater is our refuge, and now it has been violated.