Perhaps more than any other pastime, I love going to the movies. There’s nothing more fun for me than to plan a midnight screening of the big movie that I am counting the days to see.
This summer there were two such movies. The first was The Avengers, which I didn’t see at the break of a new day because my kids wanted to go too, as did my wife. The four of us waited until noon the next day and had a blast. We actually ended up seeing it twice on the big screen, taking them to the drive-in in Wellfleet to see it paired with Brave.
The other one was the The Dark Knight Rises. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Chris Nolan’s run through the franchise, and haven’t been as excited for this since The Phantom Menace. Thankfully this experience was a lot better than that one.
But, this movie will forever be tainted because of what happened in Aurora, Colorado. Roughly two hours after I sat down to watch Batman take on Bane in the final chapter of the trilogy, a group did the same thing that I was doing in Mashpee out there. They were excited, just as I was.
I don’t know the exact timing, but roughly as my movie was ending, and I was chatting with other moviegoers about the ending of the story, the whacko out there opened fire.
I cannot imagine the pain that the parents, spouses, friends and the community at large must have felt, and is still feeling. It’s surreal to think that someone would choose that setting to unleash their sickness.
Tens of thousands of people, just like me, endured the midnight debut to be amongst the first to see the movie. A handful had their lives altered forever, and a dozen had their lives ended.
We are left to ask the obvious question. Why?
There’s no good answer.
What makes someone insane? What makes someone believe that he will benefit from becoming infamous by committing a heinous act?
Alfred The Butler told Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight “some men just want to watch (the world) burn.” He was right.
There will be those that leap to their pulpit to decry violence in movies and claim that the shooting is the logical end result of glorifying the Batman mythology.
I wholeheartedly disagree with that. What Batman is about is a normal man, albeit a Billionaire, who wants to protect what is good by standing up to what is evil. Batman eschews killing, and does not use a handgun in combat. Justice is his aim.
The joker, lowercase J, that opened fire in that movie house twisted the message to his own means. He, unfortunately, identified with the bad guys and there was no caped crusader to stop him because in the real world there are no superheroes, just the real heroes that had to respond to that carnage, the cops and EMTs.
Movies allow us to enter a world where reality is suspended, and alternate universes are created and embraced for a few hours. The sicko accomplished his goal of making those worlds collide.
In the comics The Joker escapes Arkham Asylum time and again and continues to wreak havoc on Gotham City. This joker, though, will never see the light of day again, and I’m thankful for that. Whether he’s given the death penalty or life in prison, at least he will never be able to ruin another day.
I will continue to go to the movies at midnight when something huge I want to see comes out. Perhaps it will be the next Hunger Games movie, or The Hobbit, or The Man of Steel. Whatever it is, I refuse to allow the actions of a twisted individual to change the way I live my life. Unfortunately that could have happened the next day, or tomorrow, at a different theater, in a different state. It just as well could have happened at an opera, or a concert.
Mayhem does not make a reservation. We can’t truly live if we’re worried that he may RSVP.
The views and opinions in the Enterprise blogs are those of the author and are not neccessarily shared by Falmouth Publishing.