Author’s note: This is a repost of an article written for my other blog, The Chemistry of Common Life. I feel strongly about the piece, and feel as though it should be here, too. Read, share, and take it to heart.
I’m not going to recap what happened in Aurora, CO. If you’re reading this, you know what happened, and if you don’t, I’m sorry you’ve been locked in prison for the last few days. I’m not going to refer to the perpetrator by name, because that gives him a small bit of power, a thing he does not deserve. I’m not going to blame gun laws, because that’s not what went wrong, and we all know it.
The things I’m going to talk about are three things I’m very familiar with: cinema, America, and poor mental health.
The Dark Knight Rises is going to be forever scarred by what happened. This is, of course, not the biggest part of the tragedy, but it is a different piece of what went wrong. It is superficial and silly, but film is an art form, and the movie happens to be a great piece of art. What this means is, because of what happened, that bit of art is going to be ruined in a big way, likely permanently. Batman, Christopher Nolan, and everyone involved are, more likely than not, going to be blamed just as frequently as the guns used, which is truly a foolish thing. It’s also very likely that a very large amount of people the world over won’t be seeing the film. Again, this sounds superficial, but there is something familiar at the heart of that newly-found fear of the cinema.
No matter how you slice it, what happened was domestic terrorism, without question. We may see that as a smaller thing than foreign terrorism, but it’s all the same. In the wake of 9/11, President Bush made an oft’ misunderstood speech, concerning what the typical American should do: keep going out, keep enjoying things. The point he was making was this: the heart of terrorism is fear, and if you don’t fear things like terrorists, then they have no power. And so, in the case of this bit of terrorism, I have this to say: go to the movies. What happened was nothing more than one disturbed individual taking fear into his own hands as a weapon, one meant to hurt us, and everyone who was there that night. So you know what? Fuck that guy. Fuck him right in the ear.
But, really, the fact of the matter is, terrorist or not, what happened was perpetrated by one disturbed man. America has only begun to see that mental illness is a thing that should be cared for, rather than ignored, and this weekend has proven that. Mental illness is a disease that spreads if left unchecked, and even though not everyone will decide to gun down moviegoers, it’s clearly not a thing that is impossible. The man who did this called himself The Joker, and if you’re reading this, you know exactly what The Joker (of the comics and films) stands for: chaos and entropy.
And so, I make this humble request to you, dear reader: remember who can defeat people like The Joker: the dark knight, who can overcome loss and pain to defeat anyone who threatens him. You may scoff and find me less than serious, but if you take anything from this, it should be this: be The Batman. Stand up for what is right. Help those around you, because any of them could be the one who needs it more than the rest. Keep fighting, and keep living