Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Wouldn’t Want To Be a Dark Knight This Week

A cynic might think the events surrounding the opening of the new Batman movie are part of a publicity campaign. They are not, of course, but The Dark Knight Rises is in the news for many reasons that have nothing to do with the movie.

Early in the week, that radio jackass Rush ranted about the movie’s bad guy Bane. He claimed the character was intentionally named Bane as a political move to paint Romney's association with Bain Capital in a bad light. “There’s now discussion out there as to whether or not this was purposeful, and whether or not it will influence voters ... the audience is going to be huge, a lot of people are going to see the movie. And it's a lot of brain-dead people ... entertainment, the pop culture crowd. And they're going to hear 'Bane' in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain.” Even a simple Google search would show that the Bane character got his name in the early 1990s, long before any controversy with Bain; and he is not a corporate CEO but rather a venom-breathing villain. So is Rush, of course; takes one to know one?

I’d like to draw a connection between the radio a**hole’s use of the term ‘brain dead’ and his listeners, but sadly I know that at least a couple of those listeners do have a brain, which makes it all the more ridiculous that they waste their brain power listening to that idiot.

Then comes the shooting at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at a theatre in Colorado. There were many heroes in the aftermath but Batman wasn’t one of them. Reality.

I usually don't read the reader comments below news stories online but I read a few yesterday who commented on the shooting spree. The thread of comments was mostly about the pros and cons of guns and gun ownership. Some said if they were in that theatre with their guns, they would have shot the shooter, reducing the number of casualties. Others pointed out the obvious opposing view: that the same person could have been shot instead while fumbling around trying to pull out their gun. Or worse, they could have shot someone else accidentally.

I have strong opinions about guns, which I usually keep to myself because I don't want to get shot. As usual, my beliefs are complicated. I have fired guns, mostly in my youth and at the beginning of my Army service … bb guns, shotguns, rifles, M-16s. I hate guns and will never own a gun. I wish guns did not exist, except for those used to hunt for food or defend our country. Realistically, of course, guns cannot be outlawed in the USA. As a country we are usually the good guys but we have also been a violent, trigger-happy society since the beginning and our Constitution upholds the right of individual citizens to own firearms. I agree with the right to own guns, even though I disagree with the Supreme Court's logic on their most recent ruling on the matter; but I also believe it should be difficult to buy guns, especially those obviously meant for more than mere self-protection.

Gun advocates believe we are safer if individuals can carry guns around with them all the time, yet study after study indicates that most gun injuries and deaths involve people who know each other or who accidentally shoot somebody. A typical scenario involves somebody shooting a possible intruder who turns out to be a family member who chose to leave the lights off while going to the bathroom in the middle of the night or coming home late. Some gun injuries involve drinking and shooting, others involve children playing with guns. The whole argument about guns is like 'what came first, the chicken or the egg'. If we outlaw guns, only the bad guys will have them because they seem to be able to get guns no matter what the laws say. Yet the fact that it is so easy to get a gun makes our society that much more dangerous because so many more people have them. Some gun advocates are against gun registration regulations for reasons relating to privacy or too much personal information in government hands. That seems paranoid to me but I do understand that concern. Complicated.

Ironically, the shooter in the Colorado incident bought all of his guns legally. He was an intelligent college grad student (who probably does not listen to Rush) but obviously has some kind of mental problem. Does the blame game now point to the psych community, school administration or friends and family of this guy? Should quiet loners be singled out as potential mass murderers? Hmm, I’m kind of quiet and sometimes a loner. Guess it’s a good thing I hate guns.

So have you seen the movie? Has anyone? Will it be the opening week blockbuster it was predicted to be or will people stay away due to fear of copycat shooters? Will a tragic incident on a dark night temporarily keep our minds focused on something other than two Presidential candidates blasting each other rather than telling us about their own solutions to real problems?

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