When a gunman walked into the Kinopolis cinema in a suburb of Frankfurt, Germany on Thursday and opened fire, the question many rightly asked immediately was who are the victims in the Viernheim, Germany movie theatre shooting? According to Sky News, the attacker entered the Kinopolis around 3 p.m. with a gun and ammunition and took hostages. The Wall Street Journal reported that the assailant fired four shots but did not seriously wound anyone. According to the Associated Press and Reuters, the gunman was shot and killed by police. There were reportedly no serious injuries to patrons of the theatre.
While fortunately no one other than the attacker was critically wounded in the episode Thursday (which means we probably won't ever know the names of all of the people who were there when it happened), what is known is that the people at the Kinopolis at the time were innocent individuals who just wanted to see a movie, to be entertained, and perhaps escape the reality of how much of the world is currently consumed or at least threatened by violence. The Kinopolis attack comes in the wake of the deadly shooting at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, on June 12 that killed 49 people not including the perpetrator, who was killed by police. Those people, victims of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, were also simply seeking entertainment and a good time.
And the same is true of those going to see The Dark Knight Rises at an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre in 2012 and the children who went to school at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14 of that year and never came home. Mass shootings kill people who have done nothing wrong. They aren't robberies and usually aren't about revenge. They're about killing people, usually with semi-automatic weapons, in situations where they thought they were safe. They're about sowing fear.
The moviegoers at the Kinopolis Thursday are lucky, but we should have to say that someone was lucky not to be shot at a movie theatre on a Thursday afternoon. That should be a given. None of the victims of any of the mass shootings that have taken place in recent years with alarming frequency were simply unlucky or in the wrong place at the wrong time. Individuals decided to kill them.