Yesterday afternoon, my nephew David and I saw the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, at the local movie cineplex in Torrington, Connecticut – and those watching it in three of the cineplex’s six theaters did so without incident. Unlike what happened in Aurora, Colorado over twelve hours before, when James Holmes killed twelve people and injured fifty-eight others at a movie cineplex in that area that showed a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises – not since the Columbine shootings from over thirteen years ago has Colorado been shaken by the kind of violence and tragedy that has sadly become a way of life, and not just in the United States.
It’s also a reminder of how this kind of tragedy can be somewhat linked to one or more forms of mass media – and it’s not the first time that it’s happened. For example, the 1927 silent horror film London After Midnight, which a London man said drove him temporarily insane and caused him to murder a young woman – and which brought about controversy in both the United States and Great Britain in regards to certain movies that were shown on-screen at that time, and their negative influence on a generation of audiences.
Now Warner Bros. and DC Comics are already mired in the controversy associated with both The Dark Knight Rises and the recent shootings in Aurora, Colorado – and how it might affect the film’s performance at the box office. (Yesterday, the Paris premiere of The Dark Knight Rises was cancelled – one of several outcomes that occurred in the wake of the Aurora shootings.) But for us moviegoers, it gave us a bigger concern, especially for us living in cities like New York and Los Angeles: could the shooting incident in Aurora, Colorado be a prelude to what could happen in other movie theaters in the future – and not just in the United States? And could the same threat also apply to other show business venues, like stadiums? Unfortunately, there’s no easy solutions to those kind of problems – alas, there never are, even in today’s society.
Movie theaters exist in part to help us escape the harsh realities of life – but they shouldn’t become the setting for the violence and terror that we’re supposed to avoid on an almost-regular basis, and with good reason. Firearms have no place in all movie theaters – much like the cell phones that should stay turned off whenever they’re showing the latest films. At the same time, the Aurora tragedy should encourage every politician throughout the world to help strengthen their respective countries’ gun laws – if anything else, to prevent past tragedies from ever repeating themselves. The right to bear arms may have existed in our country for over 200 years – but nobody, including James Holmes, has the right to abuse that right simply because he thinks he’s a demigod of sorts. And that’s something that everybody – including those who go to the movies on a regular basis – would rather do without.
John Lavernoich is the author of the novels Code Name: Chameleons and Chameleons To The Rescue, as well as various non-fiction articles and short stories that have been published in print and on the Internet – to learn more about Mr. Lavernoich and his writing achievements, please visit his official website (http://johnlavernoich.sharepoint.com), as well as his pages on Windows Live Spaces (http://cid-ef88d131988ab38f.profile.live.com), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/john.lavernoich?ref=name), MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/jlavernoich), Twitter (http://twitter.com/JLav65), and WordPress (https://johnlav.wordpress.com). Mr. Lavernoich also maintains his own video channel on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/JLav65?feature=mhsn) as well as his own Author Spotlight page on Lulu Books‘ website (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Highroad).
©2012 John Lavernoich.