There is nothing new in humanity’s desire to seek answers in times of tragedy. It’s somehow our nature to desperately search for a meaning when loved ones are taken from us, when things happen that seem too horrendous to be reality.
Our human culture regardless of time, location or religion, is no stranger to blame in this form; violent and deviant behaviors are often attributed to music culture, horror films, media and the emotional sway these art forms can have over a person to drive them into a passionate frenzy. This is nothing new, so why has it struck me so deeply today?
Perhaps it’s because I’m 37 weeks pregnant, hormonal and quick to want to defend my own passions with the mama-bear instincts that are raging inside me. Maybe it’s the same instincts, deeply saddened by the loss of so many kids, people’s babies are dead today because of some crazy person and these busy-body, holier than thou, finger shaking gossip hounds are blaming a MOVIE and spending their time chastising the art form instead of sending their love and support to the families of those who have lost their most precious things, their peace of mind, their sense of security, their family.
Personally, this mentality has never made any sense to me, long before I was a mother the concept of blaming art or music for someone’s actions felt like a cheap scapegoat and an easy way to explain away the real issue without having to take ownership of it. I’ve always been of the impression that we are in control of our actions, thoughts and the choices to act or not to act are our own. Many who are quick to blame an external force like film or music would prefer that over the reality that society isn’t safe, we have to be diligent to teach and nurture our children and prevent this from happening in our own homes. The blame hits too close for some, so it must not be them- it’s some outside force that drove a person to madness.
When it comes to this terrible tragedy in Colorado, many have already jumped on the blaming band wagon to strike at the movie franchise, the comic series and the general violence in film, art and media.
I believe it is unfair and even dangerous to assume that the blame lies with a film simply because the villain may have had redeeming qualities or a purpose behind his actions that someone found relatable.
I believe it’s irresponsible to assume the blame lies with anything other than that individual’s choices and psychological state.
Those who choose to blame a tragedy of this magnitude on a comic book movie are blind to the big picture; the world is full of violence and suffering. It is full of darkness and psychosis and hate.
One does not need a fictional character or a musical refrain to find a violent influence in this world and it’s foolish, arrogant and wildly inappropriate to so easily brush off an act like this by simply placing the blame on a movie or saying that without such “violence in media” this never would have happened.
Such a statement is absurd. Violence and deviant behavior existed long before television and art is a reflection of life, rarely the other way around.
To even accuse the film as being a contributor to these events is unfair to the industry and a horrible responsibility to dump on the shoulders of a writer and crew of artists giving of themselves to tell a story.
There are millions of people who have seen these films, some may have been deeply affected by their messages and yet, managed to somehow restrain themselves from going out and killing anyone.
Even though the man himself believes he is the human incarnation of the Joker, the REST of us have to have enough logic to realize the man was obviously suffering some measure of psychosis prior to the attachment he developed with this character.
It’s our responsibility to place a higher significance on the individual’s conscience, moral compass and psychological state before we blame his family, his interests or a comic book movie.
As the general public in this situation, it’s our duty to showcase our humanity and our ability to be a national community as the victims, families of both the victims and the shooter strive to find answers and work through their grief – Not to find foolish correlations and threads of coincidence in a work of fiction in a film or in a book written before the shooter was even born.
I would love to see an outpouring of love and support rather than an equally violent storm of blame and anger bloom from this event.
If anyone actually took a deeper look at the stories told in the Dark Knight Trilogy, they would see the tale is not about Joker’s madness or the darkness in the hearts of man, the evil or the pain inflicted by the many villains of Gotham.
It’s about Gotham’s resilience. It’s about a city’s ability to love and capacity to survive and strive above the ruin of chaos no matter how enticing that chaos might seem.
Joker may have brought destruction and chaos, but it is the people of Gotham who made the choice to either embrace that destruction or rise above it. Joker unintentionally brought the city together in a desire to bravely face the darkness as one.
The films are about hope, standing for what is right even in the darkest of times, to recognize how fragile life and sanity is and to remind us all to do our upmost to strive for goodness in the midst of evil, even if one must sacrifice themselves to safeguard the lives, hopes and futures of the many.
If anything more or less is taken from this trilogy it’s because you’re not really paying attention.
The reality is, and this is something I learned a long time ago in my own life… if you choose to see evil, you WILL see evil. If you choose to see darkness, you WILL see darkness. If you choose to see hope, you WILL see hope. It’s your choice. You manifest the reality of the world around you and if you are looking for pain, you absolutely can find it, but if you seek to find goodness, love, hope and strength, you will find that, as well. My advice?
Seek the hope- Look for Batman, not Joker. Seek strength- Look for Superman, not Lex Luthor. Believe me, those villains ARE out there but YOU get to decide who you give your power to. YOU choose whose side you are on through your actions of either compassion or hate. Choose wisely.
My love, prayers and compassion go out to all effected by this terrible tragedy.