In a few weeks, we will have lost interest in the lunatic who opened fire in a movie theater on July 20, shooting 70 strangers who had never done him any harm.
We will all have agreed, once again, that it is always the quiet ones who are most dangerous.
We will blame the University of Colorado and the assailant's parents, claiming they should have deduced that something was wrong, even though there is no way anyone could have imagined that a graduate student might interpret a movie about a comic book hero as an opportunity for mass murder.
We'll settle into a new way of looking at the world. We will feel nostalgic when we think about how only a few weeks ago we did not worry about getting gunned down when we took our children to see the latest summer blockbuster.
But we will learn to live with the necessity of planning an exit strategy in the event of a massacre at the main street movie theater. We will study other theater-goers more closely, estimate their capacity for violence, and keep our eyes on the exit doors.
In a few weeks, too, we will have forgotten the names of everyone but the killer, the one person in the theater that night who does not deserve to be remembered.
We will follow his trial, and struggle to create reason behind his unfathomably senseless act. In the end, we will conclude that the gunman is not especially interesting, just a garden variety sociopath whose insanity took a mean turn.
There are so many victims that we cannot possibly remember all of their names, but they deserve to be immortalized while their murderer lives on in a cell, soaking up the notoriety he craved.
He will wait for his name to appear over and over again in news reports, and each time it does he will receive some measure of satisfaction. But for me, his name has faded into obscurity.
I have resolved to remember only the names of the innocents who died. They are the people who should command our attention, and so I have listed them below:
Gordon W. Cowden, 51, went to the movie with two his teenage children, who escaped. His family described him as a loving father.
Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32, leaves behind two daughters, ages 2 and 6. They will grow up knowing their mother only through pictures and stories.
Jesse Childress, 29, was an Air Force sergeant who was raised in Palmdale. He died while saving a friend. His high school history teacher described him as "a good man."
John Larimer, 27, was a Navy cryptologic technician. His aunt described him as having a "rapier wit."
Matthew McQuinn, 27, saved his girlfriend's life by putting himself in the line of fire.
Alex Sullivan, 27, was celebrating his birthday. He was a newlywed who died while shielding others.
Jonathan T. Blunk, 26, dreamed of becoming a Navy SEAL. He died after pushing his girlfriend to the floor, an act that saved her life.
Jessica Ghawi, 24, was an aspiring sportscaster who avoided a mall shooting in early June by leaving shortly before a gunman entered the building and shot two people. She wrote in her blog that the incident highlighted for her the fragility of life.
Alexander C. Teves, 24, had recently earned a master's degree in counseling. He shielded his girlfriend, who later told reporters "I'm broken . ... We were just supposed to watch a movie."
Micayla Medek, 23, described herself as a woman who was "just trying to get her life together while having fun."
Alexander J. Boik, 18, was a recent high school graduate who wanted to be an art teacher.
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6, liked Disney movies and princesses.
There will be articles and documentaries examining the minutiae of the killer's life, but I am determined not to read or watch any of them. I refuse to give him my attention.
I will reserve my thoughts instead for the men and women, and for Veronica, who went to the theater in Aurora on July 20 believing they were just supposed to watch a movie.
The author teaches English at UC Merced and Merced College.