Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Shooting in Colorado

As the horrible scene unfolds in Colorado, none among us cannot be saddened by the loss of life.  Going to see a movie is not the place one ever expects to be in danger.  Hearing about this deeply affects me.  I cannot imagine one of my children or friends, excited to see a movie, going and never coming back.

I'm sure this will spark many debates about gun control.  Gun control is an issue I have always found to be a non-political one made political by the major parties and lobbyists.  As I see it, it is a means of regulation that helps stabilize an industry in full swing but it cannot prevent an insane act of violence nor, I believe, is it intended to.

Take driving automobiles.  We regulate it heavily and for good reason.  Cars are two and three ton death machines whizzing down the highways at top speeds.  We make sure that before someone can drive that someone must first study the rules of the road and take a test.  After a provisional period, they are allowed to drive on their own.  Even then, we regulate the roads by telling people how fast they can drive, which road they can turn on ("One Way," "Do Not Enter," etc) and what maneuvers they can make ("No U-Turns," "No Stopping," etc).  None of this prevents deadly accidents from occurring every day but it does help make a potentially uncontrollable situation better.

But imagine if it were political and every time there was an accident big enough to make the news, one side said, "We need longer testing periods, more speed restrictions."  Would that really stop someone intent on going 90 from doing so?  Doubtless.  But it's still a good idea to keep the original checks in place.   Or how about the other side saying,  "See!  Your driving tests and speed limits don't work!  Get rid of them now!"  This would be even stupider.  Who could possibly be so moronic as to believe that because an awful, deadly car accident happens that driving laws and regulations are useless?

Obviously, wanting to strengthen gun control is a natural reaction to a tragedy such as this and I believe most gun controls in place are effective means of regulation, just as they are in driving.  Wanting to get rid of gun control in reaction to an event like this ("because this proves it doesn't work!") seems beyond unintelligible, it's ludicrous for the same reasons getting rid of driving laws in the wake of an accident are.

But beyond that, there is the loss of life of human beings taking part in the communal, shared experience of the movie theater.  That's something I've been deeply connected to my whole life.  A movie theater is a place where ordinary people become citizens of the world, sitting together in the dark, exploring life through images on a screen.   They become family.  They laugh together and gasp together, and in the case of a movie that stinks, they jeer together.  Seeing a movie in a theater, a good one or a bad one, is a sacred experience for millions of people every year.  Hell, every day.  Seeing it violated like this is horrifying.

I cannot imagine the loss felt by the friends and families of those wonderful people who traveled to the theater to sit together in the dark and feel the excitement of a new experience.  It breaks my heart and my sincere condolences go out to each and every one of them and my hopes for the speediest and healthiest possible recovery of those wounded but still alive.