Colorado Shooting Leaves Lasting Effect on Basin Residents' Way of Life

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA - The shooting in Colorado has left an element of fear in people trying to go about their normal day.

NewsWest 9 spoke with a counselor on the lasting effect a traumatic event like this can leave behind.

As more details unravel about the movie theater massacre in Colorado, people everywhere are starting to cope with the severity and chaos of the situation.

"There is such a feeling of sadness, overwhelming sadness," Licensed Professional Counselor Pam Smith-Young, said.

Smith said random acts of violence like this can leave people feeling vulnerable.

"We can't anticipate, and if we can't anticipate it, we can't prepare for it," she said. "This could trigger a heightened sense of anxiety."

When masked shooter James Holmes first came inside the theater during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, some witnesses inside said they initially thought he was part of the show.

Smith said it's an example of how society has become desensitized to violence.

"To think that somebody would be coming into the audience wearing a gas mask and assume that it's part of the premiere, others might've looked at it and thought this is not right," Smith said.

Some local residents say the shootings have changed their sense of security in public places.

"Well it makes me a little uneasy," Israel Garcia said. "You walk into a movie theater, you don't expect to be attacked."

"That just creates an opportunity for somebody to get a lot of people at one place and create some kind of mass destruction," Fred Jaquez said.

And many NewsWest 9 spoke with were more worried about the effects on their kids.

"I didn't wanna freak them out," Jennifer Yon said. "I didn't want them to get scared and not wanna come."

"I got a seven-month-old right now and it makes me kinda scared to take her anywhere," Garcia said.

However, Smith said the tragedy could be used as a learning experience.

"We as a public have to just maintain a sense of vigilance without the hysteria," she said.

But for now, the images and stories coming out of the chaos are too fresh for many to feel at ease.

"It doesn't just happen at the movies, it happens everywhere," Jaquez said.

"It's a sad world," Yon said. "People are sad."

Some of the people NewsWest 9 spoke with said they wouldn't be against airport-style security at theatres if that meant they were going to be safe.