Editorial: Colorado Tragedy and Batman

This morning’s article was a rush job on my part. I know it shows, but it comes down to two things;

1. I was at work and trying to make sure I put out our sympathies.

2. I was still in shock about this.

After talking with coworkers about this all day and reading various accounts of the tragedy, I wanted to actually give as close to an actual composed article as I can muster.

The University of Colorado release a picture of James Holmes this morning. He had dropped out just shortly before all this, within weeks, maybe a month. He was taking PhD classes in neuroscience, and from all indications, was in no danger of being kicked out of school. The FBI and police are looking into Holmes’ background trying to figure out now what prompted him to take a AR-15 semi-automatic, 12 gauge shotgun and a .40 caliber handgun into a crowded theater and open fire at the innocent patrons inside. Holmes was dressed in goggles, gas mask, throat and groin protection (a.k.a. tactical gear) when he kicked in the emergency exit to the theater and tossed in what people have said to be tear gas. After the shooting was over with, police arrived and found him at his car and he offered no resistance as the police took him into custody. He even went so far as to tell them that his apartment was booby trapped. What police found was what one described as like nothing he had ever seen. From what I’ve gathered, and understand that data changes as things gets ironed out, his apartment was loaded with enough explosives to take out his building and the others adjacent to it. Numbers have changes back and forth between killed and wounded. Last count I’ve heard keeps the number at 12 and at least 59 suffering gunshot wounds. Out of those, I’m not sure how many are critical. Among the victims is one 6-year old girl. Something I can’t even think of without starting to break into tears over.

Now that I’ve told you what I know of the current data, which is little enough, let me delve into some personal thoughts:

There’s going to be people searching for answers in this for a long while to come. I do not envy the police, the FBI, and ESPECIALLY the families the task they have at hand. There are no real words to express the sympathies and sorrows we have for them. My hope is that they’ll be left in peace to mourn their losses. Media tend to get overzealous at times like this. When they do that, it tends to pick at the wound that much more. Some are willing and ready to talk and release their anger and sadness, others want the time to be alone with other loved ones to make sense of the senseless. I think everyone who has been keeping up with this will be wanting to know what happened. Speculation has already run high, such as one ABC reporter making some sort of comment early on about this having to do with the Tea Party movement going on in America. I urge everyone NOT to draw conclusions like that and post them. It seems that big media act as if they were like myself; amateur media (I consider myself this, others may have varying opinions.) That means that they’ll run off with something and start a buzz. These times are trouble enough, and internet/social media make it too damned easy to run wild with speculation. This isn’t the time for it, and after all the tragedy this nation has been through for what seems to be forever now, we should practice that A LOT more.

Let me put forth the only thing I can say about his reasons. In the end, it’s not going to really matter why he did it. There’s nothing there that will bring back the losses, nor aid in the comfort of those left behind. I know what I’m saying isn’t a comfort, and that now is the best time to give kind words on this. Holmes has left me bitter. Because in the end, as much as I might want to know why he did it, I keep thinking of what he’s left behind. When this story goes to the way side for media and the public alike, it won’t end for those who have lived it. As I said in my earlier article, this has a twisted symmetry to the title character of the film. I am saddened to think that several will always be terrified of Batman because of the memory this has left behind. The character who swore when his parents died that he would dedicate the rest of his life to making sure that no others would ever have to live that night themselves. All I can think of is some child seeing his Batman pajamas and never wanting to wear them again because he doesn’t offer the same safety that once they did. Holmes stole lives and innocence. There’s no reason for that. All any of us can do is hold tightly to one another and believe that something good in the world still exists. It’s not a time to push heroes away, but to take them up and do what they do best; inspire greater things.

Some have dubbe this “The Batman Massacre.” This is NOT what this should be called. I know why it is. Batman is a brand name, it was a film based on him that it happened at, and so it’s easy to connect it. Let me reiterate some points here; Batman, for whatever argument can be made, is a hero. His image is tied enough to this as it is, the last thing that kids outside this horrific event need is to further associate the character with the event. He’s a hero, and when properly applied, a great tool in order to give something for a kid to cling to (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: Brave and the Bold). As it is, at least one town’s children will never be able to look at him without putting themselves back into that situation. I’m not saying this for just the sake of the icon, but for those children that need something to cling to. Regardless of fictional or real, a beloved character is a treasured thing. Please, call it a tragedy, call it an outrage, but not this. This man acted as a lone villian, and needs to be the sole inheritor of this responsibility. It’s the Holmes Massacre: The Aurora Tragedy, nothing else need be used.

I think there is more to say, but I’ve crossed that line back to dumbfounded. For those who have suffered loss, I again give out our heartfelt sorrows and apologies that you have to live with this. In this time of confusion, turn to your loved ones and hold closely to them. Maybe if we did more often, we could prevent these things from happening more often.