At this point we know little about James Eagan Holmes, the 24-year-old Colorado man who allegedly donned a gas mask and body armor before sneaking into the Century 16 theater in Aurora and firing into the crowd during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. Holmes is being questioned by police, and who knows what they will discover.
Was the alleged shooter a comic book fan? A gun nut or a gamer? A Batman devotee?
If anything, the final chapter of Nolan’s Batman trilogy delivers an anti-gun message, including an obvious scene in which a good cop defends himself by shooting a pair of criminals, only to instantly lament the fact that he’s got nobody to interrogate. The movie’s most brutal sequence — an intense smackdown between Batman and supreme bad guy Bane — takes place without weapons. The hero’s pyrotechnics, designed to frighten street thugs, have zero effect on the hulking supervillain, and the fighters rely on nothing but their brute strength and martial arts training as they battle. Even a giant confrontation between Gotham’s cops and Bane’s minions turns into a giant fistfight.
But here’s the thing: It’s pointless to question the cultural influences of a sick mind. The location of any massacre has little to do with the violence that took place, even if it means something to the deranged killer. If the attack had occurred at a farmers market, would we now be breathlessly pondering the dangers of organic produce? No, we would not.
A woman identifying herself as Holmes’ mother told ABC News “You have the right person,” a statement that, if it’s accurate, sends a chilling message that the alleged shooter has a troubling past.
Not long after the Columbine terror attacks, shock-rocker Marilyn Manson penned an essay for Rolling Stonetitled “Columbine: Whose Fault Is It?” He railed against news outlets for turning killers into celebrities.
“From Jesse James to Charles Manson, the media, since their inception, have turned criminals into folk heroes,” Manson wrote. “They just created two new ones when they plastered those dip-shits Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris’ pictures on the front of every newspaper. Don’t be surprised if every kid who gets pushed around has two new idols.”
As for Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the three films — Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises — are unquestionably “dark,” with a grim and gritty worldview that mirrors real events. Christopher Nolan’s final Batman movie will be tainted forever by the dark shadow cast by this terrible incident, however unfair that may be.
After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President George W. Bush urged Americans to get on with their lives. “This great nation will never be intimidated,” he said two months after 9/11. “People are going about their daily lives, working and shopping and playing, worshiping at churches and synagogues and mosques, going to movies and to baseball games.”
So what’s the moral of this story? Take a moment of silence in honor of the people killed and injured in Colorado. Go see The Dark Knight Rises, if you’re a fan of comic book movies with a realistic edge.
But whatever you do, don’t confuse a grim movie with real-world violence. And don’t turn a cowardly killer into a supervillain. A person who opens fire in a crowded theater is a psychopath, a punk and nothing more.
(thanks to Wired)