First, I hope that all of the prayers, well wishes, and charitable thoughts and actions toward the Aurora Colorado community, especially the victims directly affected by the shooting, to come to pass. I wanted to type this up to vent & try to make sense of the recent atrocity that afflicted the Aurora community. Maybe, just maybe this might help someone too.
On Thursday, I (like many fans) went to see The Dark Knight Trilogy marathon hosted by AMC with some friends. The atmosphere was brimming with excitement for the release of The Dark Knight Rises. My buddy and I wore Batman t-shirts, along with a majority of the moviegoers that night. In fact, I remember talking to a few fellow fans on line as we were waiting to refill our popcorn bags in between movies. It was then I noticed there seemed to be a sense of community among us. This movie event allowed complete strangers a chance to be friendly & converse with one another (even if for a moment). After the night was over, I felt like I walked away from something really special, almost dreamlike. Unfortunately, the catch about having a great dream is that you eventually have to wake up.
A few hours later, I, like all of us, woke up to the news of a community turned upside down by a lone gunmen, who in his twisted perception dubbed himself ‘The Joker’, orchestrated a gas bombing followed by a hail of gunfire that took the lives of 12 innocent moviegoers, while injuring nearly 60 others. My heart just dropped, thinking about the night before. How packed the movie theater was; how everyone was so excited to see this movie & how everyone was gathered outside after it ended talking about how it ended. From watching the news reports, I saw scenes similar to my experience. However, feelings of joy, excitement, anticipation, & life were replaced with fear, panic, petrification, & in the worst way death. After watching the reports and the horror being told by those who survived it, the chilling revelation came to me; “It could’ve been you…”
But the revelation got worse, “…It could’ve been your friends or family.” As the eyewitnesses described, he shot at random so it really could’ve been anyone of us. It could’ve been a young lady on a night out with her girlfriends, the guy who had popcorn spilled on him by his date, or a young man who spent a lot of time, effort, & courage to watch the movie as a Batman character. When a person dies, while that person moves on, their family, friends & acquaintances are left to sort through the grief and pain of having someone that they cared about leave in a manner so shocking it can get to be unbearable. No one deserves that kind of pain.
Then my feelings turned to anger & violation. Whether I am with my friends or alone, I love going to the movies. I have a lot of good memories associated with movie theaters, from the first movie I went with my family to The Dark Knight Trilogy a couple nights ago. Aside from religious buildings associated with my religious beliefs & the home that I live in, I consider the movie theaters as the next place in terms of comfort & esteem. So the idea of someone coming in doing what this jackal did to the community in Aurora, Colorado upsets me. Learning from the unfortunate experiences of the Columbine shooting & the September 11th terrorist attacks as a teenager, I’ve come to grips with the fact that some people (either through confusion or malicious purpose) have the power to do really malicious things. Ironically, the killer’s proclamation of being the Joker could be a clue to a famous quote told by Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler, Alfred (played by Michael Caine). “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical… some men just want to watch the world burn.”
After reading over a dozen news briefs, watching the news, and thinking about this tragedy to this point, now is the time that we ask ourselves, “Where do we go from here?” “What’s the best way to deal with what I’m feeling?” “To what extent are we going to let this change us?” “And if so, are we doing so out of fear, or just to be brave?” “How will this affect our experience at the movie, if we decide to go back at all?” “If we do go back, when is too soon?”
Certainly everyone is different & has different ways of dealing with stress so the answers will be different for all of us. I’ve found that typing this post has helped me feel a lot better as this has helped me let go of some of the stresses, worries, and concerns I had. While many people will associate The Dark Knight Rises with the recent atrocities, one thing to take away from this is remembering that this was a rare & isolated shooting & that the perpetrator was caught. While I will keep in mind the victims of the shooting, I’m going to remember The Dark Knight for what the movie displays & how it’s presentation made me feel. I’m not going allow this ghastly act caused by this miscreant to forever define this movie.
After almost 2 days after being in the shadow of this horrific event, I am hopeful for our future. I’m hopeful because I am noticing this feeling of community once again. However, this feeling of community is much greater than the one felt in the movie theater I saw The Dark Knight Trilogy. This feels more like the belonging to the national community made up of the young & old, the fanboys/girls & standard moviegoers, and the affluent, commoner, & impecunious. A community, whose focus moves from this Dark Knight movie & this tragedy toward helping our neighbors over in Aurora, Colorado move forward by offering donations, prayers, and well wishes. While this tragedy knocked us & worn us down, let this community allow this opportunity to become like Batman; RISE.
Fade to black…
Thanks for taking the time out to read my thoughts on the Aurora Theater Shooting. Consider this the preface to The Dark Knight Rises Review that I will have up. The following links are some informative articles that I found interesting. But if you want to help out those that the shooting has directly affected in Aurora Colorado community, please go to http://www.crowdrise.com/helpaurora/ for more information on how you can donate.
Christopher Nolan’s Statement on the Theater Shooting: http://www.deadline.com/2012/07/christopher-nolan-speaks-about-tragedy/
Statements made by Christian Bale & Gary Oldman on the Theater Shooting: http://www.reelz.com/movie-news/14303/christian-bale-gary-oldman-release-statements-regarding-aurora-co-movie-theater-shooting/
AMC’s official statement regarding the Aurora Shooting: https://getsatisfaction.com/amc_theatres/topics/statement_about_aurora_incident/
Box Office in Solidarity Withhold Box Office Numbers: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/21/dark-knight-rises-box-office_n_1691986.html/
‘The Dark Knight Cannot Be Blamed for Inspiring Killer’ by Robbie Collin: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/9414752/Batman-cinema-shooting-The-Dark-Knight-cannot-be-blamed-for-inspiring-killer.html/
‘A Senseless Act, Not A Movie’ by film critic Richard Roeper: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/9414752/Batman-cinema-shooting-The-Dark-Knight-cannot-be-blamed-for-inspiring-killer.html/