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The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

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People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., at the scene of a mass shooting early Friday morning, July 20, 2012. Police Chief Dan Oates says 14 people are dead following the shooting at the suburban Denver movie theater. He says 50 others were injured when gunfire erupted early Friday at the Aurora theater. Oates says a gunman appeared at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Karl Gehring)
The Cricket's Daily 3: Tragedy at 'Dark Knight' screening

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.

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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.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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