(Ty & Alex)
The Colorado tragedy has filled your news screens this weekend, and you've caught a glimpse of the devastation that has come from one hateful and disgusting act. You've seen how one man can have a negative affect on thousands of thousands of people. You've witnessed how lives can be taken and forever changed because of someone else's actions, and you've probably felt the fear of seeing how an every day act of going to the movies could potentially end your life. The actions of one disgraceful human being has sent a shock wave of hurt and conflict around the entire nation.
But today I want to call your attention to a beautiful person who restores my faith in humanity. Today I want to share with you a hero in all of this chaos. I hope you see, and more importantly, feel, that your actions of bravery and love can literally save others lives. I hope that you decide today to always choose love. It's easy to be full of hate. In fact, it's completely justified in situations like this. But the world already has too much of it. And when it enters into our hearts it means that there's that much less room in us for love. I hope this story motivates you to reach and search for more love. To find more opportunities to serve your neighbor, to stick up for those who's voices are not heard, and to live a life full of purpose. It's the story of a victim of the Colorado tragedy. And I knew him personally.
On Friday morning I turned on my phone to check my messages before I got busy with girls camp activities all day. I was up in the woods for youth camp, so I hadn't had a lot of communication with things happening back home. I opened a text from my sister that said, "Did you hear about the Batman shooting? It's crazy." She explained to me that a person in a gas mask killed 12 people, and over 50 were injured, but that all the details were still not known. We talked about how crazy the world is, and a couple minutes later I was out the door for the rest of the day.
When I got back to my cabin around midnight I had several texts and missed calls from my sister. Call me ASAP. I panicked and kept calling her until she answered the phone. She was crying. "Alex Teves was in the movie theatre in Colorado. He was one of the people killed. Oh my gosh he was one of the people killed."
Alex Teves was my brother (in-law) Ty's best friend. A groomsmen at my sister's wedding, he graduated a year younger than me at my high school, and was always Ty's very very best friend. After graduating from the University of Arizona with Ty, Alex recently moved to Colorado to attend grad school.
Alex and his girlfriend went to see the midnight premier of Batman together. When the gunman entered the theatre there were smoke bombs that sent people into confusion, followed immediately by rapid gun fire. When gun shots were fired Alex started pushing her down. Alex laid beside her to shield her from the bullets. Alex kept pushing her down so that she wouldn't be hit. The gun man was walking up and down the aisles shooting. His magazine had 100 rounds in it so he never had to stop to reload. It was continuous. When the firing stopped, she started to get up, but Alex wasn't moving.
My brother posted a picture and this status about Alex. It was so powerful I had to share it with you,
if you hadn't heard already, alex was in the theater where the shooting occurred. he shielded his girlfriend from the bullets and gave up his life for her. All the people going to see batman this weekend looking for a hero need to know we already have one. i love you alex teves.
I knew that Alex's story needed to be shared. His life needs to be remembered, and people need to be aware that there were and are heros in the midst of this grossness. I asked Ty to share some words about Alex. This is what he said,
"There are so many memories and things about Alex Teves that made him great. He was always in a great mood, knew when to laugh, when to be sincere, could crack one-liners that would leave you in stitches, and knew when you needed a hug. I had some of the best times in my life by his side. Unfortunately, to try to describe him in less than a million words is just impossible, but I will try my best. Some of you may be familiar with the show Scrubs. Alex and I used to watch it together along with many other friends, his favorite part was that even though it was a comedy it always had the “warm-chewy center” (his words) that made you feel good and think about your own life. For no reason at all the past few weeks before this tragedy I was replaying all the episodes online. One episode struck me in particular. The main character J.D. had hurt the feelings of his best friend Turk. He was upset that J.D. had not trusted him and J.D. said,
“Since when do you care what anybody else thinks?”
“I don’t, but I care what you think.”
This made me reflect on the people in my life that were important to me including Alex. Over the last few days while trying to wrap my head around the events that have occurred I have tried to think about words in which to express who Alex was and what he meant to me. Everything feels awkward and insufficient. The exchange from the best friends on Scrubs kept crossing my mind. I am nowhere near a perfect person and I have been known to be stubborn, but those words struck a chord. Alex Teves was the type of man that you cared what he thought. He made being a good person and great friend look so effortless that you knew he was way ahead of you, but he never made you feel that way. We had times that we would laugh so hard it felt like you could not ever stop. We had times that we cried together. No matter how far off track I would get, he was always there to help guide me back to doing what was right.
Trying to understand that I won’t see my friend again in this life is not working yet for me, but rekindled relationships have been helping. Silly things that have gotten in the way of great friendships are breaking down and I know that Alex would want that for us. This has given me a renewed respect for the preciousness of life and I am going to do a better job of staying in touch with all the people that are important to me. I have to find a new normal for myself because I will never stop missing him. For the rest of my life I will do my best to think about if he would approve of my decisions, and if he thinks that I’m doing everything that I can. I probably will not ever live up to the type of man he already was but I hope that with all my time left here I can do my best to make him proud.
As some of you might have already read, Alex had a girlfriend who was with him in the theater that night. Just speaking to Alex it was apparent how strongly he loved her and I could tell how happy she made him, and for that I am eternally grateful to her. She treated him with the same fierce love that he showed her and it seemed obvious that they would get married one day. It is important that everyone know this about Alex, he was no normal man. All of the people in the theater that night went to see a movie about a superhero. What they did not know was that there already was one sitting among them. When the shooting began Alex pushed his girlfriend Amanda onto the ground and under the seat. He kept her head low and used his own body as a shield to protect her. He took a bullet that night to save her life and she was able to escape without injury.
Comic books were a hobby of Alex and I and we spent many nights talking about our favorites, mine was Wolverine and his Spiderman. We talked about what we loved about their selfless acts and stories. We imagined what we would do if presented with crisis and I would always hope that I would act the way I envisioned. I know that as my children grow up I will also teach them about comic books, tales of courage, standing up for what you believe, and choosing the right. Most importantly, they will learn everything about my new favorite super hero, the man named Alex Teves."
Be a hero. Fill your heart with love. If one person can negatively impact the lives of so many, then it means the opposite has to happen to. It means that one person can positively change and save lives just by living a life full of purpose and love. Be that person. Act with the character that you want to be remembered for.
Every time I think about what happened, or see a picture, or talk to my sister and Ty, I get sick. Physically so, so sick. And boy how I've cried. I've cried for the loss of sweet, innocent people with big dreams. I've cried for the injustice that has fallen on them and their families, and for the innocence of the blood that was shed. Every day is a battle between good and evil. The line is thin, and clear. Every day we must choose what side we want to stand on. Sitting idle on the sidelines is not an option. A war is raging within our own human species, and we have to stand strong on the good side. If we don't, who will?
Out-shine the darkness.
Rest in peace Alex. Thank you for showing the world what a real hero looks like. Not a lot of attention has been given to the stories of those who died. We need to shed light on their acts of heroism and make them heard.
*please feel free to share this post with your friends and social media outlets. Let's show the world what a true hero looks like. If you're a reporter and would like to tell Alex Teve's story please email me at Ashley.email@example.com for an official statement.