The tragic news of a mass shooting at a packed late-night screening of The Dark Knight Rises—killing 14 and injuring over 50—sounds like a plot hatched by a resident of the Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane.
Details (as of this writing) are sketchy as the story is developing. The facts are this: a man wearing a long coat and donning a gas mask entered a theatre screening The Dark Knight Rises. He tossed some canisters into the crowd, and then he opened fire with a rifle.
It's the kind of anarchic act that would make Nolan's joker chortle and would appear to fulfill Bane's foreboding promise of reckoning.
Some folks reportedly thought it was a publicity stunt. From the AP report: "Paul Otermat, who told Sky News he was in the theater when the incident occurred, said he 'thought it was a publicity stunt,' when he saw a man in a long coat walk in and hurl what he believed was a tear gas canister at the crowd.
'Then he started firing shots into the crowd,' Otermat said. He says he and his girlfriend ducked to the floor and crept out as gunfire continued. 'My girlfriend saw a canister on the ground that was still foaming... We ran through the lobby and we heard more shots, and we ran out into the parking lot and got into our car and left.'"
Police have apprehended a 24-year-old suspect. It appears he acted alone. There is concern about explosives in his home and the mall.
Nothing else is known at this time.
Everyone will try to come to terms with this in their own way.
Some might joke by marveling at the quality of HD, the realism of the movie-going experience, and sense-surround.... Or, this is the last act of a 35mm purist... Or, THIS is what happens when you text/talk during the movie theater (a la the movie theatre shooting in Bobcat Goldthwait's God Bless America)... Or isn't it ironic that cops are staking out a porn theatre busting Fred Willard while nonsense like this goes off without a hitch at the multiplex... (you get the point.)
Immediate comments sections on chat-boards ranged from commentary about gun laws and gun control to ominous conspiracy theories about this being the first in a series of planned violent acts. Some tried to connect the shooting to Rush Limbaugh's commentary about Bane/Bain, that provided late-night talk show hosts with so much fodder. Others have already started going on that this is evidence that violent movies inspire violent behavior—a theory no more plausible than the suggestion that school shootings are evidence that school inspires violence.
Let's recognize it for what it is: The act of an angry lunatic who capitalized on the opening of a popular film to deliver a packed crowd in a closed-in space. The desperate act of an unstable person defies logical definition.
Attempts to assign meaning or to read political motivations into this heinous act, though inevitable, will prove fruitless.
Let's not hitch this to our respective cause wagons to advance our own political agendas.
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