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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Super Heroes

This past weekend, a midnight premier of "The Dark Night Rises," the final chapter in the current Batman franchise, was disrupted when a gunman armed with an arsenal of automatic and/or semi-automatic weapons allegedly killed 12 people and injured 38 people in a theater in Aurora, Colorado. We're all stunned, shocked, and angry at what has happened, because it's horrible on so many levels.

On the political front, the gun control debate will now be out of control.  The NRA and its supporters will remind us that guns do not kill, people do, and the gun control advocates will demand investigations as to how James Holes obtained his entire arsenal legally.

What infuriates me is the circumstances under which this mass murder occurred -- while innocent movie-goers were about to watch a movie about a comics super hero.  A super hero who would have wiped the floor with James Holmes if some bored writer had decided to insert a character like him into the comics.  That alone makes this mass murder almost as disgusting and contemptible as bombing a house of worship during services.

We fantasize about super heroes because they can do what we can't.  A dark and brooding billionaire, forever mourning the loss of his parents, can invest in weapons that the defense department can't afford, invent an alter-ego for himself, and spend his nights putting life and limb at risk to put the fear of G-D into all criminals.  The rest of us are far more limited.

(to my Marvel-reading friends, he and Iron Man are kindred spirits in that neither hero has any powers, but they both have unreal weapons and gadgets, but I just can't take Tony Stark seriously -- especially not the way Robert Downey Jr. plays him as a major league -----le.  But I digress.)

I can think of no greater desecration or than executing such a carefully premeditated plan to kill people who actually wanted to escape reality for a while and imagine that there really was a Batman.  To suspend reality temporarily, and watch a story about a larger-than-life figure with no fear, few weaknesses, and an obsession with bringing criminals to justice.  When Mr. Holmes allegedly caused the deaths of his victims, which included young children, he not only violated their lives.  He also violated the imagination of comic book fans and movie-goers everywhere, and mocked our desire to simply go out and be entertained.

Now people are reconsidering whether movie theaters are safe places to be.  Just like any other terrorist, this miscreant has frightened us back into our homes for his own twisted reasons, and robbed us of part of our freedom.  If I had my druthers, I'd hire a UFC fighter to dress as Batman and and give this fool a beatdown!

However, as I've said in prior posts, we don't live in a comic book.   We do not live in a world of vigilante justice.  We live in a civilized society with laws.  Thank G-D this wanna-be Joker was apprehended within minutes of his departure from the theater.  Thank G-D law enforcement was able to disengage the many bombs and booby traps he set in his apartment, which could have caused even more death and destruction.  And thank G-D we have a justice system which will resolve this matter properly.  I wouldn't call any of them super heroes, but without Batman himself, they're the closest thing we have.

So my thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this massacre, and with the survivors as well.  I can only hope that we can move on from this as from any other disaster -- stronger and wiser -- and that this loser learns that being a super-villaim is less glamorous than he may have assumed.  Most importantly, may we keep believing in super heroes -- real-life villains can only win if we stop believing.