Explaining the Batman Massacre: It’s not “violence in the media”

[Note: I apologize for the long gap in posts. It’s been a hectic month and I’ll be striving to avoid such sizable gaps from now on.]

I want to say that I think the new Batman movie was really good.

However, I’ve noticed a lot of reviews and comments slamming the “gratuitous violence” of the film. And I think that the focus is hyper-sensitive about that because of the Colorado massacre, which—don’t get me wrong—was horrible, nonsensical and tragic.

However, is violence in media really the cause? I don’t think so. [The shooting in Batman isn’t really any worse than other movies.] I don’t think there would be fewer of these terrible shootings if the only thing on TV was My-Little-Pony and classical music. We so often want to have something to blame, something that explains these horrible occurrences, but there isn’t. The disappointing answer is the evil is always senseless and unjustifiable. It always violates the Natural Law, which is how the reasonable human being understands he is supposed to act in order to live well.

Human beings have free will, and we choose what we do regardless of the temptations and influences that effect our environment.

Obviously, we want to make art (including film) that communicates meaning and builds up society. But that doesn’t mean we should stay away from difficult topics all the time. War is real. Evil is real. Good is real too. And good must stand against evil.

It’s not about gun control either. This young man had no criminal history or indication of violence. Access to guns is just another red herring. The real problem is that someone chose to do a horrible thing and that no precautions can prevent all such acts.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we throw guns in the street for anyone to pick up or that we don’t pay attention to messages in our art, but we have to remember that we can’t prevent people from making bad decisions simply through laws and regulations.

The only way that we can do that is to encourage and nourish well-developed consciences that endow us with senses of right and wrong. We can show love to our fellow human beings so that people don’t feel abandoned and hopeless if something goes wrong in their lives. That is the best we can do. And it won’t fix everything because we still live in a fallen world filled with fallen humanity. But it would help.

2 thoughts on “Explaining the Batman Massacre: It’s not “violence in the media”

  1. Great blog! I recently started one (and when I say recent, I mean yesterday) and it will be all about film-making, photography, and travel. I’ll be working as a freelance editor in Germany next year (moving from Atlanta, Georgia to Berlin for a year). Feel free to comment and follow mine! I actually saw Batman today. It was weird to watch certain scenes in the movie after what happened.

  2. I agree with your point that blaming the media is just a scapegoat, a somewhat desperate attempt to try to explain why violence like this happened to innocent people. I also agree that to try to better the world, even if just a tiny bit, its best to show love and kindness to others, even in simple, small ways. I haven’t been following the event all that closely, it saddens me to do so, but I’m sure someone has asked the question of mental illness? Even if that isn’t the case, though, the concept of normal people seeming to “snap” and do something like this happens more than one would think. What can we really trace it to other than horrifying despair or anger? Perhaps overwhelming hatred? And what makes some people unable to deal with their emotions more than others? I believe most people have been depressed at some point in their lives, but what makes them go so far as to hurt others? And if it is secret, all-encompassing hatred, where did it come from? Many would point to an event in one’s childhood, perhaps sexual abuse, but I doubt that is the case for every person who commits such horrible crimes. I don’t know if I would describe them as “evil” every time, but I would certainly agree that their actions are. But can spreading love around the world really stop it? No. I think that all people have the ability to numb themselves from evil thoughts or deeds, perhaps it simply depends on their personality or experiences.

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