I’m heartsick over the mass shooting at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight in Aurora, Colorado. Sadly this kind of thing has taken on an all too familiar brand of horror. But in some ways this one hits a little closer to home. Even though I wasn’t a student when the Columbine or Virginia Tech shootings occurred, I could still identify with the students. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been out of school. But opening fire at a Batman movie strikes at the heart of those of us who are self-professed geeks. I have friends who are huge superhero/comic book fans. I imagine the people in that theater were people like me and my friends. We’re not as bad as Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, but we can all identify with that kind of intense love of all things comic book. It’s great to hear people say they went to the movie over the weekend not only to see a great film (I haven’t seen it yet so I can’t attest to its greatness personally, although friends have given it the thumbs up) but also to prove we will not be afraid and we will not back down in the face of this senseless violence.
Even more so than ever, we are looking for an escape from this grim reality. Entertainment, such as books and movies, provides that. Superheroes can provide that. When things look bleakest, it’s nice to imagine that Superman or Batman or the Avengers will be there to save the day.
It’s a nice fantasy to retreat into now and then. And when a real tragedy occurs, we realize there aren’t superheroes to save the day, but real heroes who are no different from us, just people put into an extraordinary circumstance who find it in themselves to do the right thing. There were quite a few people like that in the movie theater in Aurora last week.
I don’t have an answer for how to prevent something like this from occurring again. I’m not sure anyone does. But my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected.