Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, July 22, 2012
      ( 7/22/2012 12:20:00 PM ) Bill S.  

THE SILICON CHIP INSIDE HIS HEAD: Some events are so over-the-top incomprehensible that just about the only response one can have is a “holy” followed by a string of obscenities. I have to admit that was my first response when I heard about this week’s incident in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where a gunman wound up shooting into the audience at a showing of the latest Dark Knight movie. A night of summer entertainment turned into a real-life episode of Criminal Minds.

Like most people, whenever I hear or read of an event like this, one of my early responses is to personalize it. We have friends who live in the Aurora Colorado area, so we had to contact them to make sure they were all right. (They were.) Next, I started egocentrically imagining myself in the seats of that theater. Though disposable income has been at a premium for far too long in our house, I’ve been an avid moviegoer in the past -- and The Dark Knight Rises is just the kind of entertainment that I would’ve been eager to see in a crowded movie house. If I’d been in that theater and seen the gunman coming down the aisles, would I have recognized the danger, I wonder, or simply assumed that his appearance was a stunt of some sort? Somebody playing at being a character in the movie like some Rocky Horror Picture Show fan perhaps?

I believe in a measure of gun control, though I don’t necessarily think that stricter gun regs would have kept the horrific events here from taking place -- any more than tougher DUI laws have prevented drunk driving. To those who say that giving everyone access to firearms is the answer to the problem, I can only offer myself as a rebuttal. I’m a major klutz who can’t go through the week without stubbing something. Give me a gun, and I’m liable to shoot my right foot off by accident. You definitely don’t want me packing.

Living in a state where open carry is practically a religion, though, I can’t help wishing that a greater degree of common sense was brought to the discussion (seriously, guys, let’s have open guns on college campuses?) But I don’t expect that to happen any time soon. I do expect to hear spokesfolk from both sides of that debate to try and spin the event to their own pre-set conclusions -- and for at least one idiot politician to try to drum up alarmist concerns that President Obama Is Going to Use This to Take Away All Our Guns!

As a self-professed religious liberal, I also find myself wondering after an event like this if there’s a way to fathom it in a larger sense. I always fall short in my attempts to place this in any sort of fuller context. I can comprehend moments of despair that lead to nihilistic thinking, but the impulse that leads someone to violently lash out against a theater full of innocents is beyond me. My thoughts go out to the family and friends who have been affected by this horrible act, though -- and I hope that they all have something or someone that will help them through it.


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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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