Friday, July 20, 2012

The Rising of the Knight in Everyone

I really wanted to find an image of Batman being the living crap out of someone. I really wanted to give my rage and heartache a representative graphic illustrating the 12 people killed and over 50 people hurt by a gunman at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado last night.

But I couldn't find something that captured my "imagination."

Instead, I found what you see posted at the top of this blog post. Maybe it's more fitting. Yeah, in "real life," Batman (if he existed in real life), would pound the bastard that shot up the movie audience into something that looks like chunky salsa, but afterward, rage would turn to grief. After all, it was the death of two innocent people, his parents, who were shot by a criminal, that created the Dark Knight in the first place. Every time some hood or madman guns down people just because they're there, it diminishes all of us. It creates, temporarily for most people, a collective drive toward justice, the need to protect the victims, the desire to punish the guilty.

But, news items being what they are and people being who we are, most of us tend to forget. We remember for weeks, months, years, what our favorite scenes are and lines of dialog from films such as TDKR, but we'll forget about the shootings in Aurora, Colorado in a few days. Something else will come along and drive it out of our memories and fractured attention spans.

For most of us, that is.

Bruce Wayne didn't forget. He never forgot. Of course, he was a kid and the people murdered right before his eyes were his parents, so you'd figure he'd never forget. But he did something more than remember. He took his anger, his guilt, and his fear, and turned it into a weapon; and incredibly powerful weapon. He turned it into Batman.

That doesn't do the rest of us much good. Batman is a fictional character. He only exists in the world of imagination. He is a symbol of our desire for dark justice and the need to not only punish the predators, but to brutalize them. He is the shadow to our light, the power to our powerlessness, the avenger to our victimhood.

He is the Dark Knight to our oppression.

We can't put on a costume and roam the night. We can't summon the heroes of fantasy into the real world of blood, and tear gas, and torn flesh, and dead bodies. But we can do something; we should do something.

All I can do is write, so that's what I'm doing. Probably a lot of people will have something to say about all this in the hours and days to come. This is me saying what I need to say right now.

As much as I'd like to take a baseball bat and beat the shooter's head like an overripe melon, that's not what needs to be done the most (I still think I'd like to do it, though, because I'm really angry right now).

No, what needs to be done more than pulling revenge and this guy's bloody colon out of his ass, is to remember the victims, to have compassion. To not give in to anger and rage, but to instead, nurture kindness and if you believe in that sort of thing, to pray for the wounded and the dying.

Anger, violence, and revenge may make us feel better in the short run, but it's justice, mercy, and compassion that heals the world in the long run. Don your metaphorical "Dark Knight" armor if you must and scream how much you'd like to hurt the guy that did all the hurting, but remember. Remember that afterward, you have to take the mask off and be who you are, to help, to rebuild broken lives.

That's the part about being a hero you don't see at the end of the movie. That's the hero in real life and I hope...I hope it's the hero you can find in yourself. I hope I can find him in me, too.

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