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Aurora shootings: What should be done with theater now?

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The theater has not reopened since the shooting and large fencing blocks off its parking lot. A spokesman for Cinemark did not immediately return a phone call and e-mail seeking comment.

The process in Aurora is a familiar one for communities that are forced to decide what to do with a building that becomes linked to mass violence. In an effort to move on, some choose to raze the structure and build a memorial to victims, while others decide to keep the structure and either transform it into a space that talks about violence, or return it to its former use in an effort to show that daily life should not be deterred.

 In Columbine, in the Denver area, the library at the public high school where 10 students were killed in 1999 was replaced with an atrium. Similarly, the building in Ford Hood, Texas, where 13 soldiers and civilians were killed in 2009 was razed and replaced with a $16.5 million processing center for new recruits.

 Likewise, the apartment building in Milwaukee where serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer murdered the majority of his 16 victims between 1982 and 1991 was demolished one year after the spree was discovered. The lot remained empty until 2011, when a building developer purchased it from the city for $500 and announced plans to divide it into private green space and a parking lot.

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