Monday, July 23, 2012

Is 'The Dark Knight' to Blame?

James Holmes, Colorado mass shooting killer

In the wake of the Colorado shooting that occurred during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, it felt eerie to watch the same film, imagining myself in their shoes at the film’s start. Many have speculated that because the murderer, James Holmes, declared himself the Joker, The Dark Knight’s violence is to blame.

I won’t dare deny the fact that the film was physiologically disturbing. It ultimately killed Heath Ledger, who became his character so much that he too was left mentally disturbed. While that might have influenced Holmes, I don’t to lay the blame on that particular film.

I blame us, the audience, as well as the movie industry. Movies have become increasingly violent over the past few decades — as have shootings. Holmes might have copied Joker, but the Columbine killers dressed themselves in dark trench coats styled after The Matrix characters.

Because of the increased violence in films, I believe it predisposes those who might need nothing but a little nudge towards disorder, mentally, to be more violent and send them over the edge. While those of us who are more mentally stable might be able to handle violence in films, it still affects us. It still waters down the real gravity of violence. Because when that violence happens in real life, it’s tragedy —and we watch violence in movies as if it’s nothing.

The movie industry makes more violent films, it’s true. But we are the ones still going to the box office, showing them that we want to see it. I’m not saying don’t go see a movie if it’s violent. But I am suggesting we pay more attention to what we let ourselves be influenced by. Because it does influence us, whether we realize it or not. And it has real-life consequences.  

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