Colorado shooting: Explaining movie tragedy to kids

6:41 PM, Jul 20, 2012   |    comments
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WESTLAKE -- While what happened in Colorado is shocking, sadly, mass shootings like this are no longer surprising.

"This stuff happens everywhere. I don't think it has anything to do with the movie itself," says Zack Vayda, of Oberlin. It didn't stop him and his girlfriend, Elyssa, from going to see the new Batman movie but Zack did think twice about what he would do in a similar situation.

It's a common and, perhaps, smart reaction. But for some it can be difficult.

"Those that have experienced violence themselves, have been traumatized, physically, emotionally, in other ways, may be really sensitive to these sorts of things. So, you don't have to be in Colorado, you don't have to experience this directly to have some reverberation, to have some avoidance of theaters, situations in which you feel out of control, and even this particular movie," says Cleveland Clinic psychologist Scott Bea.

Kitty Vanderpool isn't sure how to begin explaining it to her grandchildren.

"Because I don't understand it myself. I don't understand how and individual could do this to other people," she said.

Bea's advice is that "Young kids, you want to assure them of safety, for the most part, and keep your explanations simple."

He says for older kids who may ask more questions, be direct with answers but explain how the culture is keeping them safe.

Captain Guy Turner, of the Westlake Police department, says there will be a visible presence this weekend of patrols around the Crocker Park Regal 16 theater.

"The likelihood of a copycat is limited but we probably want to reassure the public," Turner says.

Regina Holden, of Grafton, isn't convinced. "I don't think that would help, it might make the customers feel better but you just can't stop people like that," he said.


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