Last week after 24 year-old James Holmes (allegedly) shot up a Colorado-area movie theatre during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, America gasped in horror. Twelve died, 58 were wounded and one movie, by default, received a piece of the blame.
While it'll still take some time before Holmes is officially tried and hopefully convicted for a series of crimes that a mountain of evidence should link him to, right now the final installment in the latest Batman trilogy will stand as a lightning rod for those that like to point fingers at more than just the trigger-happy psychopaths.
In the aftermath of Holmes' deadly deeds, the debate again began to swirl about what type of role violent films play in real-life crime, and if Hollywood should tone it down a bit.
Out of respect to the victims and to also likely keep the bad press from getting far worse, Warner Bros, the studio behind The Dark Knight Rises, confirmed that it would be removing gun-related scenes from the film's trailers. It hasn't been specified, however, if the entire film will be re-edited. Yours truly doubts that will happen, but stranger things have gone down.
While this may be a nice gesture by Warner Bros, I've never been a believer that violent content, be it from a movie, song, video game, or Website, inherently inspires someone to become violent. I see these items as excuses used by some to justify the behaviour of reckless and twisted, or sometimes mentally ill human beings that commit violent crimes against others.
When it comes to the mentally ill citizens, there are a whole lot of elements that dictate how they act within society. As a result, it's hard to totally hold them accountable for certain actions, even if they are malicious.
In the case of Holmes, no one quite knows yet what his deal is. Reports indicate that he has been uncooperative with the authorities thus far, and that when he was apprehended outside of the shooting, he told officers that he was "The Joker," one of Batman's most famous archenemies. While I'm certain that he was being snide with that remark, there's no way to be sure yet.
As far as we can tell at this point, Holmes is an intelligent person. He was a med student in Colorado, allegedly orchestrated what seems to be a very thought out, pre-meditated attack, and converted his apartment into a deadly booby trap that could've killed even more individuals.
With all of that being the case, I can't help but assume that Holmes is also just pissed off at the world. I also think he's a chicken shit. He apparently wore full body gear to protect himself during the crime and chose to commit it during a violent movie, likely knowing full well that it too would wind up shouldering some of the blame for the incident.
He also didn't kill himself during or after the shooting spree, which often happens in such elaborate violent attacks. This leads me to believe that he wanted to live on and relish the attention that the world would bestow upon him.
Unfortunately, in spite of all this, people are still galloping along on their high horses believing that Holmes was influenced by violent movies (especially Batman ones) and therefore partook in this attack because he couldn't separate fantasy from reality.
He knew what was up the entire time. A movie didn't make him want to kill people. He wanted to kill people (allegedly) for attention; he wanted to become a famous killer, not just a killer. Just look at his mug shot - people don't just dye their hair bright orange because they like the colour; they do it to stand out in a very dramatic way.
The kids at the nearby Columbine High School didn't need Marilyn Manson songs to encourage them to kill classmates and teachers - they wanted to kill people to get the attention of a nation that couldn't (and in a lot of ways) still can't control bullying.
Whatever the excuses may be, it's time for people to get real and look at the Holmes situation for what it is - some dude that lost the plot and chose to alter the plots of countless victims and their families.
As far as I'm concerned, a movie plot shouldn't be held accountable for one moron's egregious actions.
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