TW: Violence

There are really two posts I want to make about The Dark Knight Rises. The first post is not really about the film at all. It’s about the horrific shooting at a midnight premiere in Aurora, Colorado.

“I’m upset that I’m not more upset.” That’s what I told my fiance last night. I’d been reading some news about the shooting, and thinking about it, and wondering why I don’t feel more shocked. When somebody shoots over seventy people, killing twelve of them, that should be shocking. It should crack the world underneath you, even if you don’t know anyone involved.

But life goes on.

It was this Digby post that clarified it for me:

We aren’t shocked anymore when children are killed. It’s become a normal part of American life … We will mourn the casualties the way we mourn the deaths of those in hurricanes and tornadoes. Gun violence is now a “natural” event in America, as unpredictable as the weather, and there’s nothing we can do about it except gather together in the aftermath to help the victims.

The world didn’t crack open for me because this is just something that happens. Another day, another tragic act of brutal violence, that we can’t understand, so we mustn’t ever try. A man empties a high-capacity magazine into a crowd. These things just happen. It would be unseemly to even question whether we needed to make it quite so easy for him to own such things in the first place.

It’s almost, I think, what it must be like to be an ordinary person who lives in Gotham City. Another day, another horrific act of brutal violence. You can’t change it. Just keep your head down and hope you stay lucky.

We went to see the movie the night after the shooting. I hope you won’t consider it a spoiler if I tell you that there is a lot of violence in this movie. That, too, is a given. I have a lot of Thoughts about the movie as a movie, but that’s for another post. When we got home, as we were talking about the movie, Fiance mentioned the violence, and he kind of trailed off, looking at me like he wasn’t quite sure what to say.

“I know exactly what you mean,” I told him. “It was really uncomfortable.” Because these scenes are chaotic and loud and smokey, and it was impossible to just sit back and watch and enjoy that, without remembering that it had been the backdrop to the real life version.

So what’s the ending here? What’s the takeaway? There probably isn’t one. Nothing much will change. And soon enough the next tragedy will strike, unpredictable, unpredicted. And we’ll do this all again.

But what can you do? These things just happen.