Like many of you out there, I have been following closely the events surrounding the recent shooting at the Dark Knight Rises premiere in Aurora, Colorado. I am personally (as most are) enraged and appalled by the events that took place. People looking for an escape were forced into a horrible situation. During a time that should have been one of joy, expectation and excitement, one psychopathic douche bag with a bunch of guns destroyed the illusion that we, as a species, can have some place where we are safe. The world of fantasy has been intruded upon by reality and to me, a writer of fiction, this makes the crime even worse.
But the anger I feel has been compounded. Not by the lack of any explanation or reason behind the killings - I have plenty of rage generating from that source. It is by the reaction of some of those who were victims of the tragedy. I recently read that one individual decided that he was going to sue not only the murderer’s doctors, but also the movie theater and the producers of the film, Warner Brothers.
When tragedy comes into someone’s life, there are few reactions that can be considered the “right” ones. The mind simply can’t contain that level of emotion in most human beings. But finding someone to point the finger at other than the one who is actually responsible is simply a denial of the truth.
Are the murderer’s doctors responsible for not making him well, or for not locking him away in time? Psychology is no solid science. It’s not like someone neglected their job at the local nuclear power plant and it led to a meltdown. What constitutes a dereliction of duty when it comes to therapy is hard to pin down. Heck, why not sue the parents for raising the child wrong? Or how about the doctor who delivered him for allowing him to live? There are too many random factors involved for these people living on the periphery of the killer’s life to have been able to say “Hey, he’s going to kill people soon.”
And suing the theater for not providing the proper security measures? How many times does a movie theater experience such a tragic and unforeseeable event? Not very often. Does this person (or more likely the bastard lawyer who talked him into suing) think that armed guards should be present at every movie? Perhaps we should make people walk through metal-detectors no matter where they happen to go, just so that one-in-a-billion chance of someone going psycho can be averted. Maybe monitoring everyone’s activities 24/7 is the best way to go. It’s impossible, impractical and invasive.
The worst, in my opinion as an artist, is trying to sue Warner Brothers because their movie is “too violent.” First of all, the people in that theater came with a full knowledge of how violent the film was likely to be. If they truly believed that violence in movies causes people to go crazy and kill, they wouldn’t be patronizing the film unless they were self-admitted hypocrites. Secondly, the world’s art is a reflection of reality, a teaching tool to gain insight into situations that people don’t necessarily want to experience first hand. Violence is one reality of that world. There is little that is “too violent” when portrayed in a fictional sense. If that were the case, people should be suing the churches, mosques and synagogues of the world because their books are some of the most violent in the world.
I mean this post in no way to demean the suffering that those who were present during the shooting must endure. But trying to find someone else to blame because you don’t get the pleasure of wrapping your hands around the neck of the one truly responsible is a gross injustice. And trying to profit from it in the form of monetary compensation is deplorable. It undermines the tragedy of the situation and turns it into nothing more than a money-making scheme that rides on the backs of the slain innocents. The aforementioned individual needs to check their emotions and think of what’s right, not getting “paid back” in some way. And the lawyers who choose to represent him are the worst sort of scum, profiting their bank accounts and careers from the horrors that this world sometimes brings.