On Anniversary, Weighing the Cost of Colorado Theater Massacre


One year after a gunman killed 12 and injured at least 70 others at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater, the Denver Post explores the economic impact on the massacre. You can’t put a price on suffering, although attorneys will try in civil lawsuits holding not only Holmes responsible, but also the movie theater owners and management, as well as University of Colorado Denver staffers who, they say, should have recognized and defused the threat posed by the shooter, then a graduate student and a patient of one of the school’s psychiatrists.

The wounded collectively have spent more than 600 days in hospitals, which, along with mental health facilities, have footed more than $4 million in “charity care.” Metro hospitals pledged not to charge patients for any immediate hospital care they received. In the first year, the mass killing has robbed well over $3 million from government and school coffers, not including legal defense costs, and plucked much more than $5 million from private donors who wanted to help victims. The total cost of the shooting is upward of $17 million–and will go much higher.

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