Batman Made Me Do It (And Other Fallacies of the Insane Mind)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve probably heard of the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.  During a midnight showing of Dark Knight Rises, a man named John Holmes, opened fire on the crowded theater.  Reports say he threw smoke grenades and was armed with several automatic weapons.  The attack left 12 dead and 38 critically wounded.  In the wake of this tragedy, people have been scrambling to learn more about the man behind the attack and about his motives for committing these atrocities.

John Holmes

One of the key arguments towards his motives is that he was inspired by all of the violence in comic books and more specifically, in Batman.  The killer had evidently dyed his hair orange and imitated The Joker, an iconic Batman villain and known psychopath.  Now, the public is calling for change.  John Hickenlooper, the Governor of Colorado, said in a statement, “There’s no way we can turn the clock back, there’s no way we can reverse what has happened but we can take this aberrant, inconceivable event and do everything we can to make it better.”


Across the internet, suggestions are running like wild fire—take the movie out of theaters, ban all midnight showings, don’t let people dress up in costume for movies—some of these precautions have already been implemented around the country.  A theater in New Jersey has already taken The Dark Knight Rises off their screens.


It’s not wrong to want to prevent further tragedy, and it definitely is not wrong to want to bring a killer to justice—the only problem that arises is when you try and blame a well-known fictional character for the horrific actions of one psychopath.  Sales of The Dark Knight Rises have already dropped 60% over the past weekend, according to Reuters.  The sad thing is that Batman, like many altruistic superheroes of the Golden Age of Comics, doesn’t even use guns.


The Aurora, Colorado theater where John Holmes opened fire.

It’s the same thing they tried to do when they attempted to blame Columbine on video game violence.  If John Holmes had said that G-d made him do it, I doubt that anyone would be calling for the closing of all Colorado churches.  And you can bet that if the killer had just happened to be Muslim, this whole thing would have been touted as a recent terrorist strike against the heartland of America.  But no, the simple truth is that this man is probably a sociopath and he is the only one to blame.  All of America should join in Aurora, Colorado in mourning for this tragedy but don’t condemn fans and movie goers for this insane tragedy.


What do you think should be done about the shooting in Colorado?

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