Friday, July 20, 2012

The Colorado Movie Theater Shooting: Why Blame Guns? It Appears Comic Books are the True Inspiration

A 1986 issue of The Dark Knight Returns depicts a similar movie theater shooting that claims 3 lives

by Larry Simons
July 20, 2012

By now, the entire country has learned of the horrific movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado during a showing of the third film in the Batman series The Dark Knight Rises. We have now also learned that the shooter is 24-year-old James Holmes. There have been reports that Holmes was inspired by the Batman films to commit the murders, going so far as to resemble the Joker by donning red hair.

While countless media figures and political pundits are quick to blame guns for the incident, one has to wonder, why not blame what may be the real inspiration…comic books?

I have nothing against comic books and I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, but since the media wants to desperately point fingers and find blame in something, why go after what people use as weapons in these horrible incidents? After people are stabbed, we never hear about crusades to ban knives, do we?

If there is something to be blamed, why not blame where the thought to commit these crimes may have originated…comic books?

In a 1986 issue of The Dark Knight Returns, the Washington Examiner reports, a similar incident to the Aurora shooting is depicted. “In the comic, a crazed, gun-toting loner walks into a movie theater and begins shooting it up, killing three in the process. The passage concludes with the media blaming Batman for inspiring the shooting, though he is not involved in the incident at all.”

In a 1983 issue of Marvel Comics [#100], the World Trade Center towers are depicted as being destroyed and a Nazi flag is waving over them.

But no one blames comic books, and for good reason. Although comic books can possibly inspire someone to commit a horrible act of violence, the person it is inspiring is most likely already a sick and fucked up individual who is already dangerous even in the absence of a criminal act.

Normal, sane law-abiding citizens who can separate fantasy from reality know that with or without a gun, it is a crime to imitate any crime being depicted in movies, TV shows or comic books. For political figures and the media to pin the blame on a particular book, movie or comic book is just as insane as the criminal act. 

Blaming yesterday’s shooting on a 1986 comic book or the recent film is no different than blaming the destruction of the World Trade Center on the 1983 Marvel Comics issue. The real blame is in the minds of sick and disturbed individuals who decide to act out in a violent manner toward innocent human beings. It is not the fault of movies, comic books or even guns, but the twisted and fucked up minds of deranged assholes like James Holmes. And since you cannot punish thoughts, you have to punish something, right?


Anonymous said...

As a journalist and free-speech-and-expression proponent, I have to say that blaming comics for this horiffic event is preverse, baseless and assinine. You have no factual justification for these claims other than speculation that the shooter associates himself with the Joker from the Batman comics. This assumption is like saying the creation of Neighborhood Watch was the cause of the Trevon Martin shooting. You are also vaguely defining comics as violent, psychotic tales of super-villany, where as comics can be "Sequential art, pictoral or otherwise in deliberate order to convey a message or insite a reaction from the viewer" as define by Scoot McCloud. Your article is an ill-informed attack on free speech. Did a comic book kill these people? No a person with an arsinal of guns and ammunition did. I support the second amendment, but to say comics is to blame is nonsequetor. This isn't the 1950s, as people understand that art, music, comics etc. don't create these isolated events.

Anonymous said...

Ok, maybe I'm misunderstanding the theme and tone of this article. Are you, as an author, agreeing to blame ideas of comics, or villifying those who do? I read this twice and the point isn't what I'd call clear. If you agree that comics aren't to blame, than I agree with your reasonong and my previous comment should be taken as a critique of those who do blame comics. I'm just confused....

Real Truth Online said...

Yes my title is meant to be sarcastic. If you had read the article first before posting you would have known that. So many come to my site and post their comment after only reading my title, and not reading one word of the story.

If my point isn't clear after reading it twice, you might want to be very concerned you don't possess reading comprehension.