Monday, July 23, 2012

Colorado Shooting Survivor, Jamie Rohrs

My heart was broken for the people of Aurora, Colorado after hearing about the gunman who opened fire on an innocent crowd during a premier of The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 and injuring over 50 more.

I tried to imagine what it was like in that theater.  Maybe meeting up with a group of friends, or on a first date, or finally getting that long-awaited night out with a spouse.  Having a lap full of buttered popcorn or Reese's Pieces.  Making jokes about the lame previews or updating a Facebook status.  And having absolutely no idea, that in just a few minutes, a man named James Holmes would sneak in the back door and start shooting people.  

I don't understand the kind of evil that lives inside a man like James Holmes.  As a society, we will probably try to throw out new legislation to fix it, but unfortunately, laws do not protect us from people who break laws.

Can you imagine the panic in that room?  Hearing the screams?  Watching the shadow silhouettes drop to floor?

I honestly can't.  I tried to, but that kind of horror is literally unimaginable to me.  Unless you were there, I don't think that you can truly understand what it was like in that room.

Even bearing that in mind, I couldn't help but be upset when I watched a television interview with theater survivor, Jamie Rohrs.

Photo Source
Rohrs was holding his sleeping 4-month old son, Ethan, while his fiancee, Patricia Legarreta, held her 4-year-old daughter, Azeria.  The couple recently moved to Colorado from New Mexico and they were looking forward to a fun night out.  

Many people have criticized them for taking two young children to a midnight movie premier, but I won't.  I've got a bigger complaint here, which comes from Rohrs' statement below and what he subsequently did as a result.  

"I'm trying to keep him low.... and he's crying, " Rohrs said.  "People are running all over.  I'm tripping and falling.  I don't know if I laid him down or sat him down.  I'm wondering maybe there's more of them.  [I'm thinking] 'He's crying and they're going to come get me.'  I look up to see if I can run. I'm ducking, dodging, turning left, turning right... Every time you hear a gun shot, it's like, 'Oh, I'm dead.'"


"I'm just disoriented after I put him down, " Rohrs said.  "I'm just waiting for me to hit the ground and fall down dead.  You could see the gunfire and people are dropping."

So Rohrs just left his infant son on the floor, jumped over the balcony, ran outside, and drove away.  He only returned after his fiancee called him and told him that she and the children were safe.  

Pfft.

I understand that it was fight or flight at that point.  What I don't understand is how any parent leaves his baby there to be crushed or shot to death as he runs away. 

I've read many articles defending this anti-hero.

"He put his son down, not because his crying was alerting the gunman to his whereabouts, but so he would be safe under the line of gunfire."

First off, Rohrs is the one who said that the baby's crying was alerting the gunman to his whereabouts, not everybody else.  And secondly, when did leaving a baby on the ground to be trampled to death become the safer choice?  If I was a baby, I'd take my chances with the gunman.

"It would have been too hard to get out with his son."

Really?  Because I've held a 4-month old son before and I remember that it's not that difficult.  When my son was that age, I could securely cradle him in one arm and do just about anything with the other.... laundry, help my daughter with her homework, type an email.  And none of those were life or death situations, obviously.

A 4-month old is the easiest child to carry out!  It's a good thing that nobody left him with the 4-year-old instead.  Imagine the excuses then.

And, Rohrs, if you've having trouble with the whole parenting concept above, just think of it just like holding a football and running 100-yards to score a touchdown.  That might help.

"There was nothing he could do to protect his son."

Maybe not.  Many innocent people lost their lives in that theater to no fault of their own.

But as sure as I'm sitting here, there is one thing that I know for certain: I would give my life to save either of my children's lives in an instant.  If all I could do was use my body as a human shield, that's exactly what I would do.  

You might argue that it's easy for me to say since I've never been in that kind of life or death situation, and I would have to agree with you.

So instead of me, let's use Rohrs' fiancee as an example.  She saw the gunman coming in her direction, so she moved her daughter and took a sharpnel through the thigh and ankle.  Same theater, same crisis, same panic.  One parent runs away and the other protects her child.  

"He did what he had to do to survive."

Maybe.  But if my husband and children were facing death, I wouldn't want to run away and leave them there.  I would want to stay and face it together.  Because if I left them there?  All that guilt?  All that sadness?  Living life knowing that I had abandoned my family wouldn't be living life at all.  

Photo Source

When Legarreta and the children were safe at the hospital, she called Rohrs.  He drove to see them, and this is when he decided to make his romantic proposal of marriage.  


"He just looked at me and he said, 'I know this is not the time and place, but will you marry me?'  And I said, 'Yes,'" Legarreta told CNN.


"It just smacked me in the face," Rohrs told Dateline.  "I realized, 'Yes, this is the one.'  And how she took such good care of our children.  Just got 'em out safe.  I'm just so thankful for her."


Good freaking grief.

Have you ever known of a time when somebody proposed out of guilt and it actually worked out?

Because nothing says, "I love you", like, "Will you marry me because I cheated with your sister?"  Or, "Will you marry me because I gambled away your money?"  Or, "Will you marry me because I left you and our children to die at the hand of a crazed gunman?"

But Legarreta said yes.  Bless her heart.

That's the emotion talking, people.  Because just a few hours before, she had looked death in the eye and said, "Not today".  She held her babies close, thinking it was the last moment that she would have with them on this earth.  She felt a piercing pain in her leg and wondered if the next shot would be through her head.

If they do get married, I wouldn't be shocked if they were contributing to the divorce rate shortly thereafter.

My only advice to Jamie Rohrs is to take a look at the character in the movie that you were so desperate to see.  Heroes don't just live in comic books, dude.  They don't just live on movie screens.  They don't just live behind masks.

Heroes live among us.

It's the man who breaks into the plane cockpit on 9/11. It's the fireman who pulls a woman from her burning home.  It's the 19-year-old stranger who steps in and protects a mother and her children.

And it's the mother who takes a bullet for her 4-year-old daughter in a Colorado theater.

Good news, Rohrs.  Looks like you're marrying up.



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69 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I don't normally use my blog as a place to vent, but this time, I made an exception. ;)

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  2. Wow....... I mean - wow........ What a - there are no words. I'm speechless. (Almost)..... Total idiot, coward, jerk....... God..... Wow..... Can you imagine if you were the woman's mother, telling your friends and family about the man your daughter will marry? "Yes, he's the man who left her AND the children to die. SUCH a catch. Right?"

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  3. Wow! What a loser! I would do anything to protect my children, as would my husband. I hope she reflects on this and changes her mind.

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    Replies
    1. I feel the same way that you do. Not protecting my child goes against human nature as a parent.

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  4. I hadn't heard the details. Yeah. Gag. No way on this planet would I put my kid down and save myself. Terrible. But...selfish people take babies to midnight movies. Him leaving that baby was just a greater act of selfishness.

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  5. He drove away? He DROVE. AWAY. I just can't... I can't. My heart breaks every time I imagine a four month baby abandoned on a movie theatre floor. I would really like to know who found the baby, and when. The mom? A stranger? During the chaos? After the chaos?

    Ah - here - maybe this is a story worth (confirming and then) retelling:
    **
    Jayna Hunter
    You need to read some other interviews of this coward. He set the baby on the floor because he was crying and he was afraid the crying would attract the shooter's attention and get himself shot. He jumped off the balcony, abandoning his 2 young children and girlfriend, he GOT IN HIS VEHICLE AND DROVE AWAY. She reached him on a cell phone and he came back to pick them up. COWARD, and she needs to COMPLETELY rethink her decision to marry him.

    In addition, another young man saw her with his 2 kids and he got shot in the thigh laying over them and trying to protect them. She doesn't mention his herioc actions!! I unfortunately forget this young man's name, but it needs to be published and praised, while Rohrs actions need to be criticized!

    July 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Jayna Hunter
    Jarell Brooks, 19, is the name of the young African-American man who got shot while protecting this woman and her children.

    July 21, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse | Reply
    ****

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    Replies
    1. From what I've read, it seems that Legarreta saw the infant and picked him up at some point. And yes, Jarell Brooks jumped in and did what Rohrs didn't.

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  6. Thanks for letting me know about this! I think it's horrible what Rohrs did. I'm not lucky enough to have kids yet but I would never, will never let something like this happen! I would die first!

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree with you, Joe Bob. 100%.

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  7. What a douche!! Because birthing you 2 kids wasn't enough to warrant a proposal? She needs to RUN!!!

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure it's the emotion talking for her. And the media hype probably isn't helping, either. But I hope that after things settle down, that she will reconsider that proposal.

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  8. You said it: good freaking grief!

    I'm old-fashioned. I think a man who would save himself rather than choosing to protect his kid or his wife (girlfriend, fiance, etc), is no man at all. That's a boy in a big body.

    Fortunately, there were some real men in that theater, and they laid their lives down in the protection of the ones they love. They deserve our honor:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/aurora-shooting-died-bullets-sweeties-article-1.1119395

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    Replies
    1. As a parent, I just really don't get it. Even if I wasn't a parent, I still wouldn't get it. How can anybody leave a baby in that situation?

      And yes, now that I'm done complaining about this tool, I would like to focus my energy on the real heroes from that day. :)

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  9. I actually live in Colorado and I think we are focusing on the wrong thing here. I think that we can all say we hope we would do this and that but until we are in a theater facing death we don't really know... I will say I would HOPE I would not do any of that but thankfully I was not put in that situation. Thankfully....my husband and I were fast asleep 15 miles away from this tragedy. I honestly don't like vilifying these victims...vilify the crazy man that did this but not people who may or may not have done what you would have done.
    EVERYONE was a victim in that theater and we should be building them and sending them our love and prayers.
    And as for the proposal.....it is love...and anything positive out of a tragedy like this is ok by me. I am just happy that this story was attempting to highlight a story of happiness in the mist of tragedy.

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    Replies
    1. Jenny, I know what you are saying. It's really impossible to know what any of us would do if we were put in that situation.

      But I know the love that I feel for my children and my uncontrollable desire to protect them at all costs, and I just can't imagine any amount of panic taking that away from me. But then again, like I said in my post, that's easy for me to say since I wasn't there.

      As for the proposal, I hope that it does come from a place of love and not out of guilt. The timing does seem awfully suspicious, though.

      Thanks for your feedback! I loved hearing your point of view!

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    2. I agree. Proposing out of guilt is wrong. I know there is no love like a mother's love and as a mom I find his actions really sad. I agree that the timing seems a little suspicious. When you choose a husband he needs to be someone of the caliber that will protect his family no matter what the situation. This guy has proven that he won't. The time they needed him, a stranger had to step in. A stranger with no emotional ties to them.

      I don't know what I would do in that situation and I hope I never have to find out, but one thing I do know is that I would die trying to save my kids - as would any parent...well not Jaime Rohr.

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  10. Well you gave examples of heroes without mentioning the man who actually took a bullet protecting this same woman and her two kids. I think that's odd.

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    Replies
    1. You are exactly right! Jarrell Brooks should be added!

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  11. I hadn't heard this story of Rohr's, but it sure seems odd. Most men jump in to help. The proposal does seem prompted from the crisis, and probably won't last. But, who knows the trauma any of these people really faced. It will take years for them to process it. I've been thinking of James Holmes parents...how distraught they must be. There are so many victims in this mess. Thoughtful post, though.

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    Replies
    1. The whole situation is heart-breaking! I always think about the parents of criminal, too.. or his/her family, friends, etc.

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  12. All I can say is that if a man left me and my kid in that theater there is no way in hell I'd be calling him. Period.

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  13. I just read your post, then passed my phone to my husband so he could read it. We're stunned. This is both infuriating and heartbreaking. Unbelievable.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not the venting type, but the more I read about this situation, the more I wanted to write about it.

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  14. I could not agree with you more. As a mother, I'd rather die trying to protect my child than leave them! The thought turns my stomach. I thought when you become a parent, you automatically had that "do anything to protect your children" instinct in you. But perhaps not for everybody.

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    Replies
    1. That's exactly what I thought... how is that even possible?

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  15. Hi :) I am a mommy to an awesome 11.5 month old. We live in South Africa, high crime stats are just part of our lives. We wish for a day where we do not read about death, killings and stabbings int he paper. I can say with no doubt in my mind, if it was a choice of my life over my boys, my boy would win EVERY TIME! And I know for a fact the same would go for my hubby. Long before Kai was born, my husband and I were woken up with the house alarm going off and a burglar running toward us where we lay in bed...at 4 am with a knife. My husband had one thought then, protect my wive...He did not run, he did not hide, he did not make me deal with the burglar...I can only imagine, and pray every day that I never find out for real, what he would do if faced with a burglar now, knowing its not only me he is protecting but also his little boy.

    Mr Rorhs, is not a man, he is a whimp. And Mrs Rorhs to be, should think about what she is getting herself into...

    Love your blog ... :)

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    Replies
    1. Kammi, THANK YOU for sharing your story! I cannot imagine the fear of having someone break into my home. I've had many nightmares over it... huge fear of mine. Your husband is a hero.

      And I totally agree with you, if it's between me and one of my kids, the choice was made for me the day that they were born. I'd give my life for them in a heartbeat.

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  16. WOW! And to think some of us are trying so desperately to HAVE children. Some of us would give anything to be able to raise a life. And this man leaves his there in the midst of tragedy. So sad.

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  17. Thank you for voicing aloud almost the exact same comments that I made to my family when I watched his pathetic interview on TV. There were real heroes who died that day trying to save their friends and even strangers, and this worthless piece of crap leaves his OWN BABY.....that girl needs to slap his face and tell him to take his semen donation elsewhere because she deserves a MAN and those babies DESERVE A REAL DADDY. I can not fathom EVER leaving my child behind in a situation like that. I have no doubt in my mind at all that I would sacrifice my life for my son's life, no doubt at all. Thank you again.

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    Replies
    1. It completely dumbfounds me. I was watching that interview like, "Huh? What? No way!" Unbelievable.

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  18. He said he lost track of the baby and his girlfriend and step-daughter and could not find them....uh, they were in the row above you - you leaped one row down. You could not find your baby when you are the one who dropped/placed him down, but you could see gunfire and other people going down everywhere else, and yet Patricia did not know where you went or where you put the baby and yet SHE found the baby. A few people are telling people to mind their own business, but it appears that Patricia and especially Jamie are talking to anyone and everyone and pushing their business in our faces and seeming to seek their 15 minutes of fame which is begging for responses. If they had kept quiet then this may not have all come out. It seems the only time Jamie sort of tries to cry is when he is speaking, when he is not speaking he seems fine. I don't have kids, but I have nieces and a nephew and if it involved them I would be hysterical, period. I also don't care whose kids are involved, I could not see a child in danger and would try my best to protect any child or to help any adult in danger. When we become an "all about me" world, we might as well stay in the house, stock up on supplies and lock the door. Thank goodness for heroes like Jarell Brooks and the many other heroes that night and in the coming days...those that will have to carry on without those they love, but lost, and those who were injured, mentally and physically and have to fight to recover and pick up the pieces and carry on.

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  19. "But half of me said, If I go back then I'm dead, and what if my kids live? Do I want them to grow up as orphans?"

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    Replies
    1. I hadn't read that quote yet. Thanks for sharing.

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  20. A few years ago my husband was out of town and I was home alone with our 2 young boys, 1 & 3. I was pregnant and we had a lamp spark and catch fire in the next room. I smelled something odd and I couldn't figure it out. By the time I saw the smoke coming from the next room, there were flames and I was instantly hysterical. I am an ER nurse, trained for things like this, but I was HYSTERICAL. My first instinct was to get the kids out of the house. I grabbed them and then the phone. While I called 911, I sat the kiddos in the front planter (in the mud so they wouldn't walk down the driveway). When I explained what happened to the guy on the phone, he told me to unplug the lamp. DUH!!!! I went back into the house and unplugged it. There was a blanket on fire also. The fire engines arrived and put out the fire. My kids were in the front planter, and I was hysterical on the front porch. I'm surprised I didn't go into labor right then and there. Everything turned out fine, we lost a blanket and a lamp. No big deal. My point is......you don't know how you would react in a crisis situation, but you either have the momma-bear instict or you don't. I know that I would protect my babies with every cell in my body if I had to. I hope I'm never in a situation like these people were, and my heart aches for their pain, but if I did something so selfish as this, I don't think I'd brag about it to the world. There are somethings we should keep to ourselves.

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    1. What a scary moment! So glad that everything was okay!

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  21. We'd all like to think in a moment of terror that we'd do the right thing...that we'd protect our children and loved ones. But truth is, we just don't know. This guy will never be able to live this down, but should we judge him and bash him for it? Should he forever be judged by one moment of cowardice and weakness? No. He will no doubt have plenty of opportunities, hopefully, to redeem himself. He has to live with his actions of that night and it is no doubt troubling for him to do so. He needs our support because despite what most of you people think, he is a father and he has a responsibility to those children. I am not going to down him. Let's remember the Aurora 3, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn, Alex Teves and certainly Jarell Brooks instead.

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    1. Contrary to my post, I don't like judging him either. I feel awful for what everybody went through in that room.

      But it's hard to look the other way when every time I turn on the TV, he's there telling his story. He seems to encourage the criticism.

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  22. Maybe he is in shock and the media is exploiting the situation. I heard him say, "What kind of person leaves their kid behind"? It's just an awful situation. My first reaction is like yours. "What kind of man...." and also "Of course a mother would risk her life..." BUT then I realized how this is just some kind of crazy trauma response. I really do feel bad for the guy. I feel bad for his gf too because I swear the media just took advantage of their shock and horror and other circumstances to exploit the hell out of them. Likely, they will be very sorry down the road that they interviewed so much for this.

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    1. Agreed. They will definitely regret their 15 minutes.

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  23. What makes me the maddest about this situation is he NEVER thanked the 19 yo who saved the family he abandoned!!! Even she acted like she was afraid to sit next to him during the Good Morning America show!!

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    1. I noticed her awkwardness, too. Like how she didn't even turn her head to look at him. A lady returned my lost purse to me at Lego Land last week and I hugged her. About a purse. I probably would have wrapped her up in rainbow ribbons and bought her a unicorn if that was my child. Not to mention all the PDA.

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  24. I can't really add much to what has aready been said. He has shown himself to be a coward,and will ultimately have to explain his actions to his kids when the time comes.

    My crystal ball tells me he will also be lacking as a role model for his daughter and son, and fail as the head of house hold. If he stays around at all. He has shown that he runs when things get stressful. And will probably become heavy handed to his wife and kids,as he tries to assert his toughness.

    Patricia on the otherhand can improve herself if she chooses too. Again my crystal ball tells me that she grew up without a positive role model of a father. And was more than likely made to kowtow/submit through force or antagonism. It reflects in the choice of her man. (men?? probably so.)

    But what brings life to this issue is the actions of 19year old Jerold Brooks a young man of honor that was tested in fire and emerged a hero. I wish I could meet him, shake his hand and buy him a beer.

    May God Bless the heros, God save the victims, God heal the injured.

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    1. I think you and your crystal ball might be onto something!

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  25. This coward got more than his 15 minutes of fame! I feel sorry for his kids when they are old enough to know what he did

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    1. I was surprised about how, every time I turned on the TV, there he was. If I was him, I would just keep that story to myself.

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