Tag Archives: aurora

Hickenlooper ’74 Speaks at Democratic National Convention

“As another skinny Democrat with a funny last name, I was proud to host the convention in Denver five years ago that nominated [Obama]!”

Colorado governor and 2010 Commencement speaker John Hickenlooper ’74 took the stage yesterday at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, rousing support for Obama and boasting of Colorado’s bipartisan legislative gains. Hickenlooper last appeared on the national stage in July, his voice cracking as he reeled from the shock of the Aurora shooting. That tragedy played ample part in the governor’s DNC speech, which sought to draw lessons of bipartisan support from the violence and grief:

We weren’t Democrats or Republicans in that moment. We were simply Americans trying to help one another. These tragedies remind us not to waste time bickering. We had the power to come together, and we need to do this as a nation.

Hickenlooper, who had his Wesleyan diploma “symbolically revoked” last fall, also bragged about his state’s legislative record—and teased Romney for hiding his tax returns:

We’ve been able to pass vital legislation with strong bipartisan majorities. I’m luckier than President Obama. After my election, Colorado’s Republican legislators didn’t immediately start planning my defeat. . . . Some even complimented me for releasing my tax returns in the campaign!”

Man with Gun Arrested at ‘Dark Knight Rises’ in New Haven

There has been a spate of apparent Aurora copycat attempts (or interpreted attempts) in the few weeks since the shooting, and the latest is too close to home not to note here. According to the New York Post, a 46-year-old man was arrested last night at a New Haven movie theater (Criterion-Bow Tie Cinemas, a few blocks from Yale) for carrying a loaded handgun into the theater. He seems to have resisted arrest, though he did have a permit for the gun and his intentions are unclear:

Officers arrived at the Criterion-Bow Tie Cinemas shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday after managers reported a man inside with a gun. It wasn’t clear whether the call was about Hwang or someone else.

About a dozen people were inside waiting for the movie to begin, police said. Officers asked each of them to raise their hands and file out, where they were patted down, according to a news release.

Hwang remained in his seat using his cellphone, police said. Police said he refused to put his hands up and was taken into custody by force. The gun was found in his waistband near the small of his back, police said.

Governor Hickenlooper ’74 Speaks on Colorado Shooting

“We will come back stronger than ever from this . . . although it’s obviously going to be a very hard process.”

As endless updates, questions, videos, statements, and expressions of shock and grief spilled out across the Internet in the wake of last night’s horrific (and horrifically well-documented) Colorado shooting, my thoughts turned to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper ’74, who gave the 2010 Commencement Address when he was Mayor of Denver. Like more recent speaker Senator Michael Bennet ’87, Hickenlooper reps Wesleyan in Centennial State politics. And like Bennet, Hickenlooper has come under criticism from some here at Wes for his political choices.

Governor Hickenlooper has a tough task ahead of him. If anyone knows this, it’s former Governor Bill Owens, who served during the aftermath of the Columbine Massacre. But today the current governor spoke with grace and poise, even as he acknowledged the impossibility of expressing his grief in words. Hickenlooper spoke at a press conference with other Colorado authorities, and his voice cracked as he urged citizens not to “allow people that are aberrations of nature to take away the joys and freedoms that we enjoy”:

Our hearts are broken as we think about the family and friends of the victims of this senseless tragedy. This is the act, apparently, of a very deranged mind. This is a safe city and a safe state and a safe country. And we need to recognize we can’t allow people that are aberrations of nature to take away the joys and freedoms that we enjoy. . . . There’s not one of us—certainly those of use who have children—who does not hear this story and think of that being your child in that movie theater. And that reality makes the pain and the grief too intense for words. We will come back stronger than ever from this, although it’s obviously going to be a very hard process.

The Bill Owens connection (and geographic proximity to Littleton) underscores one revelation: that what is most chilling about the tragedy is not the killer’s combat outfit or his advanced weaponry or booby-trapped apartment or even the on-scene cell phone videos spilling into news reports.