Tragedies and Film: A Time to Reflect

Tragedies and Film: A Time to Reflect

With so many stories about heroes making selfless sacrifices and overcoming terrible circumstances, have any of us learned lessons that we should from these books and movies? Or are we glorifying only the violence and the villains of these stories? Here are some of my thoughts and the thoughts of others on this.

With so many movies and comic books portraying violence and physical strife and pain, I feel like at times we don't pull out the messages we should be from them. I think people gravitate to saying how "epic" the Joker was, or how bad ass Bane was, or how cool an action scene or death scene was. Have we come to a point where we are numb to tragedy and loss in these movies? Why are we not disturbed as we should be when a villain murders an innocent person? How come we say that "that magic trick was bad ass" rather than cringing at a complete disregard for the sanctity of life. For the most part, I don't think Nolan or other film makers put these depictions of death to get a cheer or praise out of the audience. These scenes are meant to show us evil and be disgusted by it. These horrible acts of murder and hatred are supposed to make us hate the villains, not find them cool or awesome or someone to immortalize and cheer for.

This is what disturbed me a while back when I found people quoting the Joker and immortalizing the character as someone to follow. Shouldn't we be sympathizing with the victims? Shouldn't we be inspired to walk in the footsteps of the heroes who stand against injustice, who symbolize hope, compassion, and justice? Wouldn't the world be better if we all had the courage and spirit of a superhero? Aren't the message of these movies to rally behind principles of mercy, liberty, and justice for all?

With the recent shooting, I felt bad about these things myself. I left my avatar up to show you all that I made this mistake. I glamorized the "bad ass" acts of Loki, Joker, and so on in my avatar. I was one that rooted for the villain at times. But in the shooting, I saw something terrifying. The shooter was the same age as me. The shooter went to see the same film I did. Was I one of these people that encouraged an act like this? To imagine that I had any responsibility and guilt for this sickened me. As a comic book movie fan, he could have easily been one of us on this site.

"Madness as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push." I pray to God that I wasn't that push. It just makes me wonder how we can be better. This tragedy should make us reflect on our own souls and our own attitudes towards death, loss, suffering, and retaliation. What are we supposed to do in the face of true evil? Are our societies and our communities full of people ready to believe in good? Are we becoming heroes or villains? Are we seeking revenge or justice?

Perhaps we're not killing people. But hundreds of small factors compacted together can lead to disasters like this. Oversexualization and perversions can lead to rape, incest, and molestation. Bullying can lead to retaliation or suicides. General incivility and public unrest can lead to riots, brawls, and anarchy. Nothing big happens with out a large amount of small things causing it. And while not every day one man opens fire on a crowd, rape, murder, theft, bullying, suicides, vandalism, assault, abuse, and other evils happen thousands of times every single day. The question is whether we are growing or decaying as a society due to how we react to acts of evil, fictionalized or real.

One of my friends on facebook said this:

"I have felt sick to my stomach all day thinking about the terrible "Movie Massacre," as they're calling it. It is incredibly hard for me to imagine how someone could do something so horrible. There have been so many valid theories as to what might have influenced this young man and his actions. While I believe many of these, there is one influence I cannot seem to ignore.

"Like so many voices I heard today on the news, I do place some blame on the media. There are too many video games, movies, and TV shows that glorify violence, making it seem fun, cool, easy, justified, and a game. Well I'm sure those poor victims and their families know better than anyone that violence is not cool, is not justified, and is most definitely not a game. It is easy to watch what is on a screen and forget the world around you, becoming unaware of the line between reality and fantasy. Many people have been hurt in the past from this lack of distinction, and I have a strange feeling this problem also influenced the 24 year-old graduate student last night. Whether we notice or not, we are constantly being influenced by the media we are pumping and pumping into our lives.

"Please be careful, please be smart, and please don't be afraid to limit yourself to what you do or do not watch, listen to, or play. The media is a powerful tool. Use it to influence you and the world for the better, not to tear it apart. My heart, prayers, and so much love goes out to those who were affected by this tragedy. Please know we are all with you and love you."

I'd like to add my voice to hers. Please take some time to honor those that have suffered in this. Please take a moment to reflect upon your own hearts and minds. Reevaluate right and wrong. Reconsider what you do and say. Put things into perspective and repent of anything that you might of said or did before that might have stirred up anger in the hearts of others or yourself. Try to be better, to be more compassionate towards each other. Cease to raise bitterness amongst yourselves. Stop dividing yourselves but find common ground, find a renewed love and charity towards you fellow man. See in the face of the stranger a brother or sister. Turn an enemy into a friend. Be not afraid to stand up against evil, no matter the magnitude or nature of it.

I pray for peace for all that have been hurt and troubled by these terrible events. I pray for the safety and health for those that were injured. I pray for the souls of those whose lives were taken. I pray for swift and fair justice for the man responsible for this evil. I pray that we can find hope and inspiration in the worst of circumstance. I pray that we can all learn and take away from film and life what we should and avoid becoming more of what we shouldn't.

Peace be with you all, and enjoy your summer.
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