Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dark Knight Rising Tragedy

This morning I learned about the tragic shooting in Aurora Colorado.  My heart breaks for the families and community where this happened.

I would like to comment about this event in a larger context, specifically on how we should react to this event.  I don't blame the filmmakers or gun makers.  The truth is that we like to watch violence.  I don't know why, but it's worth some contemplation.

In the previous Batman movie (The Dark Knight), 26 people were killed, according to  (I couldn't find statistics for Dark Knight Rises).  More than twice as many murders and not a single flag flown at half mast.  Of course, the 26 killed in The Dark Knight were fictional.  The argument against this comparison of course is that those weren't "real" murders.

But what if you found out that more than 26 "real" murders happened yesterday.  And the day before.  And the day before...all adding up to about 10,000 violent deaths over the last year.  Innocent people murdered here in the United States.  The cause?  Drunk Driving.  Drunk drivers have killed over 250,000 people over the last 2 decades.  No call for another Prohibition (we learned our lesson there).  But also, no call to fly flags at half mast and no 24 hour-a-day news media blitz.  Why aren't there more news stories about this bigger story?  We obviously are morbidly interested in violent death.  This is a fact that filmmakers have discovered and exploit to sell more tickets.  (I think it works since they allow us to feel fear without actually having anything to be afraid of).  I think we need to ask ourselves, "Do I really need the emotional arousal of watching violent death to be entertained?"  I wrote about this before here.

In conclusion:

Don't point the finger.  Don't make any new gun laws.  Don't blame the Tea Party, Hollywood or any other group.

Do ponder your feelings about the suffering of others.  Consider how you want to react to the visual depiction of violence to others, even if it is fictional.  Human suffering is real, widespread and is not going away.  Decide what you can do each day to reduce the suffering of a fellow being.  Smile.  Say a kind word.  Perform an act of charity.  Maybe if Jim Holmes hadn't felt so isolated and desperate.  Maybe if he had more people reaching out to him.  Maybe he wouldn't have resulted to this horrific act of desperation.

Maybe if by connecting on a human level with someone you know, they would feel less inclined to drink themselves senseless and then get behind the wheel of a car.  Maybe you could save someone's life.

Update 7/25/2012
Someone posted the story of a mother's advice to her child upset by some past horror: "Look for the helpers".  I am inspired by the men who used their bodies to protect their girl friends.  A reminder for each of us to be a "helper".
I just found out this disturbing information.  The following trailer played in the theater before the shooting.  It shows men shooting into a crowded theater.  Maybe we should blame Hollywood after all.  Go to 2:03.

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