I’ve been surprisingly depresssed over the Batman slaughter in Colorado. Isn’t it surprising that one should be surprised to be depressed upon hearing that a movie theater was turned into a Funnybot routine?


And yet, shooting sprees are simply par for the course in the United States of Utopia. Hell, you’ve probably  already forgotten last week’s Day of Flying Lead in Alabama.

I eagerly await the pointless hand-wringing over our violent times, with Ted Nugent and Bill Maher occupying the magnetic poles of the debate, and with the usual villains (video game designers, Hollywood, gun store owners) trotted out to be tarred and feathered throughout three to seven days of blistering, pointless rhetoric. Afterwards, this incident will be forgotten completely, hung like an ornament on the Christmas tree of mass murder alongside Columbine and Virginia Tech, ready to be reflected on for ten seconds during the next national trauma.

I suppose I could join the crowd, wax woeful in my blog, maybe diminish the horror using a South Park clip, and then move on, but that doesn’t feel like enough this time. This incident (can a moment of soul-stirring carnage be reduced to an “incident”?) has eclipsed other notable shootings for me in that, unlike most recreational killing sprees, this one was loaded with meta.

After all, what more precise commentary on American escapism could there be than to actually bring the theme of  Batman: The Dark Knight Rises to life in the very theater that is showing it, through an act of selfish terrorism, with the punchline being that while Batman villains are easily made flesh, Batman himself is nowhere to be found.


The super-villainy of this act almost cannot be overstated. One survivor described the killer (I refuse to name him) as resembling the Juggernaut, dressed as he was in mask and armor. The  killer himself allegedly had dyed his hair and declared himself “the Joker”. And of course, similarities to the motif of Batman villain Bane go without saying. The guy even wired his apartment with booby-traps for that “the deeper you dig, the deadlier I become” mystique.

I feel inclined to do something, and yet what is there to do? I suppose I could go see Batman and carry a John 3:16 sign (although the audience might assume I was a suicide bomber), but I’ve got a better idea: I’m just not going to see the movie.

This might come across as pointless shaming of Chris Nolan and the fine executives at Warner Brothers. Afterall, it is hardly their fault that We the People choose to sell guns to every psychopath with a library card for identification. In time we’ll probably find out that this guy had originally planned his massacre for the midnight premier of The Lorax.

But really… aren’t we all looking for a way to strike back? Well, how about we do so by not pretending this didn’t happen, which is America’s default position? How about we accept the symbolism of the moment and recognize that the only way to play Batman is to not forget what the villain did?

The guy is caught, the blood is dried, and we (especially fans of this genre of entertainment) are all trying to stifle that urge to care in a meaningful way about this incident, to suck it up and go see The Dark Knight Rises as if we aren’t all going to feel just shitty when the football stadium collapses and swallows up the good guys.

So don’t. Don’t see it. Give the victims a moment of silence, at least for this week. Catch the film when it is no longer the cherry on top of a sundae made up of Syria, Bulgaria, Mexico and the bad neighborhoods of your own town.