News corporations across the world are reporting terrible news
today. A deranged man, dressed in costume, murdered at least twelve people at a midnight showing of one of my favorite series, Batman. I can not believe this happened. The reports say he was a normal, quiet Ph D student and that he was “easy going.” Why, then, did he bust into a movie theatre late at night killing people?
We will probably never really know.
Some calls for ending the use of video games and violent movies have started to become prevalent on social media and in the news. It is unfortunate that this is the case; of course video games are too violent and I make a point to not play certain games, and I refuse to watch movies that are extraordinarily violent. That said, Batman’s whole “M.O.” is that he is a hero in disguise. When he was a child, his parents were murdered in front of him by criminals, causing him to pledge to protect those who can not help themselves. He was a superhero who fought terrorism and fear. His government is corrupt, his city is under siege. Even with the temptations of his wealthy lifestyle, all he wishes to do is make his small world a better place for those around him. He gives up love and marriage, he gives up his sleep and risks his life. He often does not kill those evil-doers around him, out of compassion. Does that make him weak? Or even more so a hero?
The criminals in the Batman series are hyperboles of real criminals in our lives, and are often conflicted in their deeds. Take Poison Ivy, as an example; she is my favorite Batman villain. As an environmentalist, she fights for plants and animals in her life; she believes in her cause so greatly, she goes to such great lengths that she becomes an eco-terrorist. Totally conflicted.
Let’s not blame Batman for this one.
Let’s blame our socially accepted purchase of guns by any individual without education about their use, or training for their use (i.e., don’t shoot your friends and neighbors). Let’s blame the man who completed the murders. Let’s blame our hatred for those things that are different. Let’s blame society for not helping a man who one day wakes up and decides to kill many innocent people.
Let’s blame… something other than a caped crusader who wants to make his world a better place.
My thoughts are with the murderer’s family, and the families of those who were murdered or hurt. In the words of the wonderful George Takei
, “… As a community of dreamers, we mourn this terrible tragedy and this senseless taking of innocent life.”