“It was weird,” Hector Santiago, a thug for a Mexican drug cartel, said through a translator, “I could tell something just happened – something more important – because suddenly I knew I couldn’t kill this police officer; it would make news headlines and I knew that, for some weird reason, I just couldn’t do that.”
It was a feeling felt around the globe on July 20th, at around 12:30am EST, one that no one could overcome: There had been a shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, leaving 12 dead and 58 others injured, and now nobody could do anything important that might take attention away from the tragedy. Violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria stopped in mid-crossfire.
Protests in Greece, Spain and New York City suddenly fell so lifeless that even die-hard protesters went home to watch soaps. The extreme bout of solar flares predicted by astronomers even seemed to restrain itself – new predictions say it will happen sometime next week, when news coverage has finally gotten over interviewing every person that “heard bullets” or “drove by and saw some people running out of the theater.”
The complete lack of activity elsewhere in the world, however, has been a problem for news companies, leaving them with no choice but to report solely on the Colorado shooting.
“We’ve been digging everywhere and anywhere for another story,” CNN reporter Katherine Duff said, “but there’s nothing else to report on. So we have to scrounge up people who have almost nothing new to say about the shooting – like some grandmother in Oregon whose vase fell from a shelf at the exact time the shooting ended – and interview them in depth just to keep the airwaves full.”
Her chief editor, Tom Manken, nodded. “We’ve been doing that for the past 12 hours.”
The stress this non-activity has had on the rest of the world, however, is beginning to take its toll.
Synam el-Abdan, a Syrian farmer, just found 2,000 newly buried bodies on his land in mass graves, but “can’t tell anybody about it yet because of the Colorado shooting.”
“It would make it seem insignificant.” He moaned.
Weather forecasters at the National Weather Service have seen signs of a hurricane to match Katrina on an unprecedented path that would directly hit New York by Wednesday, but don’t feel comfortable disclosing it to news sources.
“It would make us seem cold and heartless to cut off the stories of the survivors.” One meteorologist said.
Hector Santiago has locked the police officer in his bathroom until he can finally finish the job.
“I feed him once a day, but his shouting is getting the neighbor’s attention so I can’t wait much longer.” He said, his face puckered with something more than worry. “Plus, it’s my only bathroom, so I’ve had to use the sink and we have people coming for dinner tomorrow. I hope it’s okay to do it by then.”