There has been a lot of discussion in the media lately about the connection between the shootings in Aurora and violence in movies, video games, and other media. Many on the left and, sadly, some on the right, have tried to draw a correlation between extreme violence in real life and the violence we see in television and movies. I have even heard a few say that perhaps The Dark Knight Rises shares some of the blame for the tragedy in Aurora. One of the victims, Torrence Brown, Jr.–who was not shot in the incident–is reportedly considering suing the theater and Warner Bros. for damages. What he seeks is currently unclear.
While he certainly has a point about the liability of the theater, I would point out that the shooter never even saw the movie, and thus could not have been influenced by any violence that was involved with it.
The theater itself could very well be liable. They required that their patrons forgo the right to carry legally concealed firearms in order to gain entry, as is the theater’s right. But in doing so, the theater must assume the responsibility of providing adequate security to those patrons; something that they clearly did not do. By all accounts there was no alarm set off when the shooter propped opened the emergency exit to the theater, which allowed him to go outside and bring his weaponry into the theater with little notice. I have not heard a single report of any armed security present at the theater. Cinemark could easily be shown to be liable in court for its failures on those counts.
I can only guess that Brown’s lawyers are considering adding Warner Bros. to such a lawsuit because of Warner’s deep pockets and their likely unwillingness to endure a drawn-out court battle against a victim that could damage their reputation with the public. The movie itself could not have been the cause.
But could other movies have been to blame..?
As much as I hate to admit it, I have seen many people–mostly the very young–try to imitate the things that they see in movies and music videos. It ranges from people who act like little “gangstas” (which is largely hilarious until they get older and actually join real gangs), imitating Al Pacino’s Tony Montana character stereotype (which I find mildly offensive), to acting as though they are inside The Matrix. We’ve all probably seen it. Personally, I have always felt that those who imitate the Jackass movies are most deserving of a Darwin Award.
But does that have anything to do with the violence that horrified Americans and the rest of the world last week?
The answer has to be a resounding NO.
Someone like the shooter in Colorado, driven to such extreme violence, is not under the drunken influence of a mere movie or music video. Anyone who thought it through, or watched the footage of the shooter in court (I still refuse to give his name validity) would clearly see that there is something much deeper at work here. Something went VERY wrong along the line. There is a much more serious issue at hand here, and we are being very foolish as a nation if we neglect to address it.
Yes, the theater may bear some of the blame for lacking adequate security, but our real focus should be on the shooter. Why did no one bother to find out why a PhD candidate just fell off the map? Wasn’t there anyone that picked up on any warning signs? I can not believe that there wouldn’t be at least someone who had a few red flags raised. But our overly-PC culture currently prevents us from pursuing such red flags, and people who attempt to do so are often castigated for their efforts.
The left continually tells me how much they care about the people, but no one at the extreme-leftist University of Colorado, a long-time home to the infamous Ward Churchill, even bothered to find out what happened to one of their own when he abruptly changed course.
As a nation, we have got to stop trying to find convenient scape-goats for violent acts, or we’re highly likely to see many more of them. I certainly don’t have all of the answers, but no one will until we get our hands dirty and stop avoiding the real issue…
And it isn’t gun control or violence in the movies.