AURORA, Colo.– A podium stood empty, backed by gun-control advocates and the family and friends of victims of the Aurora movie theater massacre gathering their thoughts. The only sound was the rolling of the film, the clicking of cameras, the soft buzz of the lights installed for the live feed.
Twelve feet away from the group stood the press, the same rough number of people, a mirror image of the group they were capturing.
July 19 marked the one-year anniversary of the Aurora shootings, and in attendance at the remembrance event held by Mayors Against Illegal Guns in the Cherry Creek State Park were Coloradans rallying both to advocate for gun control and to protest against it.
The protesters seeking to protect their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms never made it very close to the remembrance gathering. In fact, many never even made it closer than the parking lot, yards away. They bore signs that read, “Aurora was a tragedy, Bloomberg is a travesty,” and, also regarding NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “Get out of my state…and take your pet governor with you.”
Protester Rob Blancken from Colorado Springs was one of the few that stuck around throughout the remembrance ceremony. After trying to get closer to the mourners and the press and being turned away by park police, Blancken resigned himself to the designated spectator area, separated from the mourners by three sets of fencing.
He showed up looking for media coverage.
“See all the media? Would they come to a pro-gun rally? Most of them wouldn’t,” Blancken said. “They wouldn’t show up. We can’t draw flies at a pro-gun rally. But you get Mike Bloomberg and his billions and they all show up like running little dogs.”