Friday, July 20, 2012
The "Batman Massacre" in Colorado
I got very sick, very quickly, of all the pontificating, prognosticating and posturing that blew up almost immediately the news broke of the murder of a dozen people and the wounding of half a hundred more last night at a screening in Colorado of the new Batman movie. It seems an awful lot of people lack the common sense - not to mention the common decency - to shut up. (Piers Morgan, Mayor Bloomberg, Salman Rushdie, ABC News . . . are any of you listening?)
Tonight hundreds of friends and relatives of those who died, and those who are recovering from their injuries, are going through grief, trauma and emotional strain that most of us simply can't comprehend. I suggest we pray for them, think of them, and do our best to support them in whatever way we can over the next few days.
After that, let's get real. The shooter broke any number of laws with his actions last night, plus a whole bunch more in booby-trapping his apartment, thereby endangering the lives of his neighbors. Passing another law - another ten, or a hundred, or even a thousand laws! - would not make what he did any less legal, or any more criminal. To agitate for more laws, more gun control, etc. as a result of this tragedy is to deny reality. We certainly need to address the culture of violence being propagated by our entertainment industry; but even that can't be solely to blame for this catastrophe.
Evil is present in the hearts and souls of every single human being (including myself). What defines us as good or bad is how we respond to the opportunity for evil when it arises. We'll all have such opportunities from time to time; the opportunity to steal, the opportunity to cheat on someone, the opportunity to deliberately hurt or demean or belittle someone, the opportunity to wound or kill. You name it, we'll probably get an opportunity (perhaps more than once) to do it. We can choose to turn aside from that opportunity, to do good instead of evil . . . or we can give in to temptation, and commit evil.
No laws or restrictions will stop us making that choice, for good or ill. They haven't done so since Homo Sapiens first appeared on this earth. They won't now or in the future. Anyone thinking otherwise is living in cloud cuckoo land.
May the souls of those who died in Aurora, Colorado last night receive mercy for their sins, and rest in peace. May those who were wounded recover speedily and fully. As for the killer . . . we don't know what made him do this. If it's insanity, may he be given what care he needs, and kept far away from the rest of us, so as to ensure he never has the chance to do it again. If it wasn't insanity, but deliberate choice . . . then let him pay the penalty, and find what mercy he may, if mercy there be for such as him.