In the world of movies, icons like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino have made a career and a name from exploiting it but, in the real world, the one we inhabit before the previews start and after the credits stop rolling, violence is (almost) never the answer. Heinous acts like the ones that happened in Colorado this past week should have no place outside of fiction, yet they’re increasingly common (although no less heartbreaking). Why do these atrocities keep happening?
I don’t know anything about James Holmes. I don’t know if he was abused as a child, if he has some sort of mental illness (he probably does) or if he was just a sad Batman fan unable to grasp the difference between real life and cinematic fiction. What I know, though, is that he was born, lived and killed in a country that sells guns and ammo like they are groceries. Being from Mexico, one of the most violent countries in the world, I probably shouldn’t criticize the US (a wonderful country) and its laws, but I’m sure most people would agree with me when I say there should be stronger regulations around firearms.
We shouldn’t satanize The Dark Knight Rises, its director, cast or studio, either; they cannot be blamed for what Holmes did and if we censored or eliminated every work of art that ever inspired a crime, we’d be left with scraps. I read yesterday that one key scene in the upcoming Gangster Squad, featuring a movie-theatre shootout, is probably going to be edited out of the final print. I think it is very unfair to expect and to demand that a work of art (or a product, depending on your point of view) is altered after an episode like last week’s. It will be expensive and it’ll probably lessen the quality of the picture. I’m sure some people will feel pain when they’re reminded of the loss of friends or family, but they’ll be the minority in this case. Besides, if they know of the scene and still go see the movie, they’re just masochists. Lots of people die in car accidents. Should we never feature any of those on film anymore? Should we never mention cancer, snake bites, war, lightning strikes, famine?
I am not cold or heartless. I’m still shocked at everything that happened and still trying to comprehend what would move someone to go on a murderous rampage. I get sad just thinking about the poor people who went to have a good time at the cinema (one of the purest forms of entertainment) never to come back again. No one has ever been taken from me in such a tragic way but I can empathize with those who lost someone. I am not laughing while they mourn. All I’m saying is art shouldn’t suffer like the families of the departed are surely suffering. We can’t let James Holmes win.