Friday, July 20, 2012

A Post for My Sisters: Thoughts On the Aurora TDKR Tragedy

Hi.  I'm back, for a moment.

I know I've been away for a while, and I don't plan on re-posting regularly again for a while, but I felt the strong urge to comment on this.  It is, after all, related to the existence of a comic book property.

Whenever tragedies such as the one that occurred in Aurora, CO last night happen, I am always shocked, saddened, and angered.

Even though I take the occasional snide jab at all the "crazy people" out in this crazy world of ours, it's still mind-bending for me to wrap my head around the idea that someone, somewhere out there, thinks it's okay/permissible/acceptable/part of God's will/destiny to armor up, grab guns and other weaponry, go out in public, and turn them on the general public.  I mean, hell, I often have a hard time just arguing in public, out of a keen sense of not wanting to disrupt other people's lives with my own business.  That someone will willingly go and insert themselves so violently into others' lives is far beyond my understanding.

And it saddens me deeply that this person even got to the point where they felt this way, and that his victims have paid such a steep price, be it through loss of life, bodily injury, or a shattered sense of personal safety and security.  Many of those victims were doubtlessly comic book, sci-fi, or pop culture fans, eager to see The Dark Knight Rises first and enjoy the end to Christopher Nolan's take on the mythology.  Sadly, that will probably be the furthest thing from their minds for a very long time to come.

But I think, right now, perhaps out of shock, I want to focus on my anger.  Because right now, there's so much of it bubbling in me.

I'm angry at the violence inflicted on the public.  The concept of taking any human life, to say nothing of multiple lives, is upsetting and provokes a visceral response from me.  In the moments I hear about it, I get the instinctive urge to lash out at the killer, to cause them as much pain and suffering as they've doubtlessly caused others.  It's further intensified when the violence is as apparently unprovoked and directed at innocent bystanders as this most recent incident was.

I'm angry that this is being and will be sensationalized, compared to Columbine, etc. by the media.  The media, as always, love to focus on the tragedy, the bad news, the shocking thing.  They blow it out of proportion, and, by excessive exposure, glamorize it, whether they intend to or not.  It's gotten to the point that it's automatic for them.  It's just "what they do."  And by continuing this behavior, they send the message to their viewers/readers/listeners that infamy is the only thing that's newsworthy.   That bad and depraved actions are the norm.  And that human life is disposable.  There is so little focus on the more positive, or at least damage-mitigating sides of the journalistic coin, that no one cares for them.

For example, see if you can answer these questions, in the wake of the tragedy:  What resources are in place for the victims of the Aurora shooting?  What resources are there for people like the shooter, who might need help or watching?  How are they doing, funding-wise?  How did the local Chik-Fil-A help out in the immediate aftermath of the shooting?

Any answers I have to these questions didn't come from the mainstream media, who could find this out and report it in a heartbeat.  But no, they'd rather focus on the shooter, the panicked public reaction, and stupid comparisons of the influence The Dark Knight Rises had on the incident.  Grow a pair and try some actual journalism with standards, you morons.

I'm angry that this will be used by idealogues to try to influence the way you think and act.  Much like the media--who will sensationalize this to attract viewers/readers/listeners--pundits, talking heads, idealogues, and Rush Limbaugh will take a similar tack and try to say stupid things, like "This is the result of liberal/conservative stances on gun control! Think and vote the way I do and it'll go away!"  Religious fundamentalists might say this is God's/Allah's/Yahweh's punishment to people who aren't pious enough, and that Batman is the ultimate symbol of that infidelity.  We don't, as a culture, have the propriety to treat this for what it is--a horrific act of a lone madman--and leave it alone.  We have to subvert it for political purposes, and that pisses me off to no end.

I'm angry that more isn't done to prevent people like the shooter from getting to that point.  I'm not just talking about Barry Lyga's very practical implication that insane people shouldn't be allowed access to guns, though that would of course be helpful.  There are services, institutions, resources out there that help people with mental issues like this, and frankly they need more funding and better support from governments at all levels.  We're living in an economic world that is slowly and methodically destroying these resources, even as the need for them increases.  If an ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure, then why are we cutting back on spending for mental health facilities, treatment research, and staff to carry out these helpful services?

This last one's the most selfish, and the most personal.

I'm angry that, if it had  occurred somewhere else, any of my sisters could have been among the victims.  This of course applies to all my loved ones and friends, but I can't help it.  Whenever a shooting went on at a school, or any public place, my first impulse is to think of my three sisters and thank my lucky stars that they weren't shot at, or shot.  I'm the oldest child, and the only male among us, so I feel a strong sense of protection towards them, and the idea that even the remotest possibility exists that they could ever be involved in an incident such as Aurora fills me with a rage and uncertainty that I often just have to bury, lest it overwhelms me.

Because at this point, in this world, it ain't goin' away.

So, though I doubt anyone will hear this or be moved enough by it to act, I offer up a plea.  It's directed as much at the reporters and pundits as it is at the potential would-be shooters of the world, and it's this: whenever you act, think about your little sisters.  Think about your friends and loved ones.  Think about the kind of world you want them to live in, that you want to leave behind for them.  Act to bring that world about for them, so that we might all have it.

They don't deserve to grow up in a world where this kind of lunacy exists.  No one does.


  1. Thank you for encouraging each of us to create a positive vision for a better world where these type of tragedies no longer have a place to happen.

  2. I felt really shocked when I read about this tragedy on the newspaper. I don't even live near the US but still I felt really sad.