Saturday, July 21, 2012

James Holmes and the Dark Knight of American Violence

I woke up this morning to news that a deranged individual had gone on a shooting rampage at the  Aurora, CO midnight debut of the newest Batman movie. Right now, 13 have died and scores of others have been wounded, many critically.

Shortly after 9-11, I remember thinking that terrorists could and would find many soft targets of opportunity in America, places where large groups of people gather for cultural happenings. Living in Southern California, my thoughts immediately jumped to Disneyland or any of the other theme parks around or to Hollywood. But there is something very unsettling about the idea that it is no longer safe even to attend one's neighborhood movie theater.

The news of today's mass shooting is but the latest installment in the ongoing saga of America as a land of violence. Canada has more guns per capita than the U.S. but has far fewer incidences of gun homicide per capita, so it's not purely a gun ownership issue. I think it's a deeper cultural issue, one where societal norms preach that violence can solve problems.

We inhabit a brutal world with only occasional flashes of lightning to illuminate the darkness. 

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