I will try not to use this blog to speak of topical issues, but today something happened that made me sick to my stomach.
A man in Colorado opened fire on a cinema full of people watching a midnight screening of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, dressed as if he were from the film (as Bane, some people say; some reports say he told authorities he was The Joker and had his hair dyed green), and killed 12 people.
I have two opinions on this. One is that it is obviously high time that America, and certain US states, reconsidered their gun laws, and this that man, whoever he is, has problems, and that nothing like this ever should have to happen.
The second point relates directly to the fact that I am – and will forever be – a Batman fan.
This is exactly what Batman (fictional as he is) fights against. Senseless, random acts of violence, either well planned or spontaneous. To do such a thing during a film which yes, has violence in it, but deliberately speaks out for the good of the ordinary citizen and the heroism of the every day, is and will always be disgusting. We cannot blame the film, the ideas within it, or the images on the screen for this. It saddens me that the ideas that Batman stands against must manifest themselves in direct and probably deliberate parody to virtue, goodness, and truth – taking elements from the comic book hero we all know and understand and using them in real, bloody violence. Bob Kane would be turning in his grave. All fans of Batman must be sickened by this thought.
The only comfort I can give is that we must all take from this not the horror of it, but the strengths that Batman and his sidekicks and friends hold. We have to stand up in our own small way against these terrors and tragedies, and bring about something better from it. If Bruce Wayne had forgotten his parents’ deaths – a shooting outside a theatre, no less – he would never have become the Caped Crusader. We may not have a lot of money or a lot of muscle, but we all have something we can use to protect others and ourselves from acts like this. I don’t mean violence to violence. I mean inner strength, the power of your voice to the authorities, and the hope and support you can give to those affected, whether you knew them or not.
Every shooting is terrible. Every violent act is wrong. But this is an attack not only on people but on an ideal. Please spare a thought for those killed and their families, and always remind yourself that although you cannot be Batman on the outside, you can always be a hero on the inside.