Friday, July 20, 2012
"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster."-- Friedrich Nietzsche
At least 12 people are dead and dozens are wounded in the aftermath of a one-man shooting rampage in the city of Aurora, Colorado. According to a police officer on the scene, James Holmes, 24, identified himself as "the Joker" when confronted by authorities after Holmes entered a packed movie theater showing the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises and started shooting at the audience. http://tinyurl.com/733xbsd Subsequently, Holmes reportedly surrendered to police without a fight, and is currently in custody. Despite his declaration of affiliation with the iconic Batman arch-villain, Holmes had entered the theater in costuming more closely resembling the current antagonist in the Rises film, the terrorist leader Bane.
In recent months, Holmes was a graduate student studying medicine at a local Colorado university. In keeping with "super villain" modus operandi, reportedly, Holmes has boobytrapped his apartment with elaborate riggings, and authorities are incrementally attempting to enter his now-empty residence. Taking into account this tacit connection to "fanboy" culture, I can see the future of conventions being almost irrevocably altered. Up until now, people would have elaborate costuming, brandishing fake weapons-- people would pretend to be shot, stabbed or mock-faint, and nobody thinks anything of it. But now...
Locally, a Michigan theater chain has now banned masks and costumes-- http://tinyurl.com/7rawxsp
I won't be seeing the movie this weekend. I'm not sure when i'll be back in any theaters at all. In full disclosure, for the past 3 - 4 months, whenever I'd head into a multiplex to see something, usually sitting somewhere in the middle area, I would have negative fleeting thoughts, in many respects based out of awareness of the local violent crimes here in Detroit: "what if somebody came in here and started something... should I sit near the exit.. or is that a too-convenient target" (I remember a couple years ago walking out of a theater when some knuckleheads claiming gang ties started arguing in the seats right in front of me, right before the movie started. I have no idea what, if anything, transpired next...)
On these recent movie excursions, my head would dart around. Nothing unusual. Wait... Some guy's ducking down and is really intently fiddling with his cell phone.. he gets up and.. he leaves. I'm not sure whether he comes back. Meanwhile, I'd change to an aisle seat and allow myself to relax. "Okay, Hype, you're just being paranoid..."
But now... I just don’t know. In the past 24 hours, a maniac with a Bane outfit and weapons purchased over-the-counter really does do that thing that Mama Hype has “warned” me about for years about being ‘caught up’ in with people who are all-the-way too-deep into the sci-fi/comics/fantasy/dungeons-n-dragons world (not that the suspect’s hobbies have been firmly established, but anyway... ) Relating to personal career issues, in the past six months I’ve already sold about 80% of my comics and haven’t been to a comics store at all in that time.
I just can’t compartmentalize like some folks can when it comes to events like this (go see the movie! Go shop! Otherwise the bad guys win!) Pop culture and a horrific crime have been inexplicably, perhaps irrevocably, combined, likely with lasting cultural consequences. This is going to stick with me for a long while.