I hesitate to write about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado for fear of trivializing the event. For fear of somehow making this about myself since it is something I am so far removed from. Yes, I am a frequent movie goer, yes, I have been to midnight screenings of movies, and yes, I love Batman, but these three things alone do not connect me or tie me to this incident in any way, shape or form. We have a tendency to make things about ourselves, which is okay to an extent. Feeling that way about a 9/11, something that did affect the entire nation, but affected some of us greater. I had dreams about the Minneapolis skyline crumbling or terrorist attacking a vehicle I was in shortly after 9/11. The Columbine massacre is a very similar incident (unfortunately both in Colorado) that occurred when I was in 10th grade and for that first week after, I thought I would catch a glimpse of someone standing in the hallway outside the classroom door poised to attack. These incidents weren't about me, but I still applied them to my life, which is a human thing to do, I think. We have to be careful though to not make it about us, to remember we weren't affected, to remember that we get to hug our friends and family today, and those who lost someone to this tragedy don't. So, I am attempting to write about this tragedy in a non-trivial or insulting matter. I have a point to this blog post, let me just see if I can get there.
Today we caught our first glimpse of the perpetrator in the Aurora shootings, James Holmes, post-massacre. He came into the courtroom this morning wearing a jumpsuit, dyed red hair and could barely keep him eyes open. My first and only thought about him was, "He is scary." It was the entirety of him, the Manic Panic dye job, the constantly shifty facial expressions and heavily medicated eyes, the fact that he shot 71 people, murdering 12 of them, trying to figure out what might be going on in his mind. This person, this kid, is being painted as something of a super-genius in the media. A high-achieving former medical student. The "shy, quiet" type. In other words, a normal person. They all are, though. There is a report going around that he told the police when he was apprehended that he was The Joker. I have also noticed that the media has been extremely careful not to connect James Holmes with any one particular character in the Batman universe. When this all unfolded Friday morning I was watching the ridiculous, fear-producing Matt Lauer Hour, The Today Show, and they were interviewing a former FBI profiler whom they have had on the show several times. The profiler said, "Some people are even saying he looked like the character Bane from The Dark Knight Rises," and Matt Lauer was near reprimanding this man for even saying that. He stressed that they weren't going to make any connection to the films' characters at this time and to speculate on such a thing was inappropriate. Well, it seems like the only thing the profiler had wrong was which Batman villain he was trying to be.
Again, I was watching NBC when the live feed of James Holmes entering the courtroom was shown and this time Brian Williams was broadcasting. He was discussing Holmes appearance, "He looks clown-like." he offered. Only later stating, "He is trying to maybe even look like the Batman character The Joker." Why the hesitation on making this connection? Because Holmes dyed his hair the wrong color? He told police he was The Joker, what else do you need? The police found Batman collectibles in the guy's apartment, a poster and a mask, and he chose to carryout this shooting at the release of the latest Batman film. He was a Batman junkie, the end.
As a regular viewer of The Today show I know what they're up to. The goal of The Today Show is to make you afraid to leave your house every morning. Everything is going to give you cancer, from your morning shower to your drive in to work, don't you all love that Call Me Maybe song? And a sexy cheerleader accused of having sex with her students is on house arrest, let's do 8 million stories about that too. They are very obvious and that's half the reason I watch it, for a laugh. So, naturally, I thought they would be the first ones to jump on this Batman connection but maybe they wanted to try and not seem like such assholes this time. During the press conference on Friday the Chief of Police in Aurora, Colorado fielded some of the dumbest, most embarrassing questions I have ever heard come out of anyone's mouth, let alone professional journalists, "Why Batman?!" "Is it true The Joker was spotted in New York?!" (no joke on that one...) I has half expecting someone to ask, "Has anyone heard from Adam West?!" and "Do we have Catwoman's thoughts on this?!" It. Was. Cringe-worthy. Meanwhile, the Police Chief, busy as hell, was trying to keep his lid on and not tell all this morons to get the eff out of his city. So, I guess, I can see at first why the hesitation to make the Batman connection, because it does seem a little silly, but its now legit. Are they afraid to paint Batman fans with a bad stroke? If so, does that even really matter?
None of this really matters. The Batman connection doesn't matter, the politicians now coming out talking about gun control and trying to MAKE THIS ABOUT THEMSELVES doesn't matter, James Holmes doesn't matter. What matters are the 71 people he shot. What matters are the 12 people who died, and what matters is when The Today Show, and the rest of the media has left Aurora with everyone's survival story or heartbreak in their back pockets and everyone's names and acts of heroism are forgotten, we will still be talking about James Holmes and gun control and Batman, and we will still so desperately be trying to make this about ourselves somehow, and that is not right.