This evening we ate Beijing duck in Chinatown and then headed off to the cinema, as I had promised our party a viewing of The Dark Night Rises as my birthday treat. The film was completely sold out but it was only after I had bought tickets for the next evening that we realised why security was so tight in the cinema. In the early hours of this morning a mass shooting occurred at a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a ‘thematic’ midnight screening of the film. The cinema was in a mall just like the one we were in. A gunman, dressed in tactical clothing (many members of the public were in themed costumes of some sort), set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. The sole suspect, arrested outside the cinema minutes later, had died his hair bright red and declared himself to be The Joker. America is in deep shock, chilled by the knowledge that this is neither the first nor, almost certainly, the last such random attack on innocent people. The attack almost coincided with the first anniversary of the Breivik killings in Norway but there are not, so far at least, any political undertones to this latest tragic event.