The Dark Knight Rises will be a film that will live on in the public long after most. Not because it was just any film- quite frankly it was amazing. However despite the story, the effects, the acting, the cinematography it will be remembered most because James Holmes decided that at the film’s premiere in theater 9 of the Century 16 multiplex in Aurora, Colorado he would open fire. He would terrorize people. He would change the lives of hundreds. He decided that the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises is where he would kill 12 people.
James Holmes decided that at the midnight premier of the film he would open fire on other moviegoers, for reasons that as of now remain unknown to the public. While some would want to label this another case of violence spread by the media- mass shootings do not work in much the same way as someone driven to commit violence because they see it in fictionalized television. While no one will know the motives any better than Holmes himself, the best anyone can do is look at his character, his person, what he has done with his life and what might have caused him to believe that murder was the best thing for him to do.
The premeditation and planning that went into Holmes’s attack demonstrates the fact that this was not a random act of violence. If anything the amount of time and dedication, and Holmes’ willingness to dress in riot gear, to use tear gas, to dye his hair orange all serve as evidence to point to a man that became delusional. Genius types tend to get that way. Going for a PhD. In neuroscience, he must have been a pretty intelligent guy and it would be easy to label him a monster, crazy, a raging maniac. But simply that isn’t the case. The only person who is going to know what led Holmes to make those decisions is Holmes himself. And possibly his lawyer. Or his psychologist.
James Holmes was the cause of a tragedy, a tragedy that The Dark Knight Rises will always be linked to. Though not the fault of Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway or anyone else involved with the film, the piece of art they created will be the last thing that twelve people had ever seen and because of Holmes, the film will be the focus of unwanted backlash, particularly the notion of violence in the media. Gun laws are another issue to come out of the tragedy. Like the Joker Holmes named himself after, he was able to acquire firearms he had no training for, no knowledge of, and certainly no qualification to handle of as easily as characters in the film. Out of thin air. And he used them to strike terror and kill.
We may never understand why Holmes chose to commit these acts, or what it is that drove him to essentially throw his life into a jail cell, or even into an electric chair. But the fact is, not only did he kill twelve, wound 58 others, he also created a dark mark on a piece of art that will not be the face for violence in film and media that did not warrant it.
Our hearts go out to all of those affect in the shooting; our prayers, our well wishes, good thoughts, are good vibrations; all we have left for Holmes are questions and anger, disappointment, bewilderment.
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