Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Batman Massacre

As the world knows, last night there was a massacre in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises. I awoke to the news that 12 had been murdered and more than 50 injured. A man in his early 20s had walked into a theater, armed to the teeth, and threw gas grenades while opening fire on anyone that moved for the exits. One user uploaded his hospital pics and others filmed some of the chaos from the theater's lobby, posting the footage on YouTube. It is a real tragedy, and my heart goes out to the victims and their families.

In the days to come, we'll probably get the obvious answers. The same patterns will emerge with this guy that is in all the others. What I've seen from all the reported stories, barring they are true, is a sexually inadequate man fulfilling those needs by living out a fantasy. And I have a feeling Freud could have accurately profiled this creep in under a minute.

Also, a lot of commenters think they are geniuses by stating some false axiom about how it's always the quiet one — as if the majority of crimes are committed by shy, quiet people. Let's not start some introvert witch hunt, here. The reason he didn't have friends and wasn't sociable is because he's a misanthropic sociopath, not because he didn't partake in small talk with neighbors.

But the point of this blog really isn't to speculate on a motive as there is no good reason ever for mass murder. I don't care how many videos, forum posts, diary entries, or facts that eventually come out and are used in understanding this stain; any motive will ultimately sound trivial, melodramatic, and be based in the immaturity of a nihilistic malcontent.

This isn't something we can predict as a society. There are always going to be people who slip through the cracks and are impossible to help without a professional. And often when we encounter people who we think need "fixing," we just make them worse and push them further into neurosis. But you'll notice I didn't use his name or the picture that has been circulating around the net. Infamy is a part of the fantasy: Causing fear, chaos and having their name ripple across the world. I wouldn't give anyone that satisfaction.

There are going to be a lot experts who think they can fix this from ever happening again by having society do X or Y thing. Short of creating a Big Brother state, that's never going to happen. And we don't need more security. But what we can do is to challenge each other to grow emotionally and intellectually, to love more and hate less, to form communities with our neighbors, and to encourage a return to common decency. From there, we can only hope for the best.

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