Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What's it like in there?

It's a question I keep getting in some form as the Aurora theater trial crawls forward: "what's it like in there?"

As I write this we are in week 3 of what's anticipated to be a 4-5 month long mass-murder trial, so large in scope that it can be hard to grasp.

This case has more victims of attempted murder (those wounded in the July 2012 shooting) than there are seats in the courtroom.

Countless others are touched by the loss of the 12 people who died as a result of the attack.

The truth is... there just isn't a simple answer to the question of what it's like to cover this trial.

There are many moments in which I feel like I'm on a 1,000-mile long moving walkway: this thing is moving, but I can't even imagine being near the end yet.

There are other moments that I know I'll remember for the rest of my life. I can't even begin to fathom what it's like to have lost a person to an attack like this, but I do get glimpses.

Inside the courtroom, raw emotions are palpable. You can feel pain and sadness from across a room.

And those are the moments that have made it hard to sleep some nights.

Perhaps the most pointed memory of the trial for me came on day 4 as investigators walked the jury through photos of the 10 bodies left to lay in the theater.

The press sits on the left side of the courtroom behind the defendant. Victims and family typically sit on the right side, behind the DA's table.

On that day, just across the center aisle from me, I watched a woman (I presumed a grandmother of one of the victims I'll choose not to name here) break down and leave the courtroom in tears.

She'd made it through two photos of her granddaughter's body lying between rows of seats.

When a third, wider angle, was shown-- she didn't see the girl at first. There were two other bodies in the frame.

When the prosecution pointed out the girl's body on the edge of that photo, the woman across the aisle lost it. I felt an impulse to chase after her and give her a hug.

I can only begin to imagine the tug of war that goes on on your brain in that circumstance: wanting to know everything you can about how your loved one passed and not being able to bear one more ounce of the sheer horror of that reality.

I saw images that I'll never un-see that day, but the graphic nature of what was in those photos is only part of the reason it'll be forever burned into my memory.

It's the impact it has.

It's the pain.

It's the immeasurable human suffering.

And observing people trying to cope with that which cannot be understood.

There's nothing I'm going to say that's likely to make anybody connected to this case feel better.

I can't feel what they feel, but I feel that they're feeling it.

I wish them well. They've suffered more than anyone should have to.

-Brandon Rittiman

2 comments:

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  2. I do not know how can people ask such a question, I can read from your article that it is never an easy job you see so many people breaking up with emotions in front of you but you can not do anything. Words feel meaningless in such circumstances.

    ReplyDelete