Dave’s Fanboy Sermon – Tragedy in Colorado.

Last Thursday night a number of Ground Zero customers gathered at the local theater for an advance screening of The Dark Knight Rises. My expectations were somewhat low as I am one of the few people who didn’t care for the second film in the series, The Dark Knight. I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the film was the best of the trilogy and tied together various elements from the earlier movies to make the series work as a whole. It was not perfect. At two and a half hours it might have benefited from a little extra editing. Ultimately, however, most of my complaints are trivial. Overall the film was excellent and everyone I spoke to enjoyed a great evening.

Then I woke up to the same news as the rest of you.

You see, shortly after our showing of the film was finished, another group enjoyed their own screen in Aurora, Colorado. About thirty minutes into the film, their lives were shattered as a man entered the theater and tossed tear gas into the theater. He then methodically shot patrons in the panic that ensued. In the end, twelve innocent people were dead and fifty nine more injured.

In the aftermath, Warner Brothers pulled Dark Knight Rises television ads from the major networks. Even with that action, the finger pointing has already begun. A customer visited Ground Zero and was very upset that a poster advertising the film was still in my window. The problem is that an event as senseless and tragic as this one is difficult to comprehend and even more difficult to react to. The media tells us to be afraid, with constant coverage designed to inflame an already tense and worried nation.

I might have a somewhat different perspective to this story than many of you, not only because I sell comics, including some that are tremendously violent, but also because I’ve been through an event quite similar to what happened in Aurora. I know what it is like to have your sense of safety shattered, to see a friend shot and killed. It changes your worldview.

All of which is why I view the reactionary finger pointing with disgust and disappointment. A reasoned discussion on how to prevent such tragedies would be welcome, instead we get a rush for easy answers and sensational alarm mongering. I have news for you, folks: going to the movies is no more dangerous now than it was last week or last year. Personal freedoms carry with them inherent risks and responsibilities.

It is, however, a good time for self-examination, to reflect on just what kind of society we want to be. Certainly the media should accept some responsibility, but their culpability has to be taken in context. Violence is so deeply ingrained in our history and national identity that it is only natural for our entertainments to reflect it. But we make choices every day as to what we want to see and hear and in those choices determine just what kind of life we want to lead. Every week I help a parent in this store who is looking for appropriate comics for their child. Invariably, when I try to steer them away from a particularly dark and violent book I am told “Oh, that stuff is okay, as long as there is nothing sexy in it.” I strongly believe that each parent should make their own determination of what their children should be exposed to. However, I am still astounded how many choose to ignore really violent content as long as there are no nipples or cleavage present.

Even more worrisome is how impersonal and isolated our society has become. Do you know the name of the person you buy groceries from? How many teachers can you name at your child’s school? Just who do you consider part of your “community”? The day after the tragic events in Colorado, several Ground Zero customers called the store, partially to thank us for hosting the advance preview, but also to check on me personally. They knew this would hit very close to home for me and wanted to make sure I was okay. In each instance I was touched and it made me realize that it is only through this sense of community that we will heal ourselves

I realized it is okay to feel sad for this senseless tragedy in Colorado and it is okay to feel angry. But rather than react with accusations and fear, we need to realize that all change begins with us. You want to react? Fantastic. Start by strengthening the community through your neighborhood, through your church, through your school. Know the name of the kid that carries the groceries to your car, tell him you appreciate what he does. Change starts with small things and grows into big things.

And go see a movie or read a Batman comic. Life is too precious and short to recoil from it out of fear.

 

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13 Responses to Dave’s Fanboy Sermon – Tragedy in Colorado.

  1. Cheshyre says:

    Thank you for an intelligent response to this tragedy. As I have perused the internet, I have come across a large number of commentaries about the shooting, most of which are reactionary, inflammatory, emotional responses, full of vitriol but not any real suggestions. I am grateful to be a part of the Ground Zero community, and I think your suggestion to step further out is an excellent one. Challenge accepted.

  2. The Fur says:

    It has been a while since I have been active on the site/board. Work and home have been major distractions from what I love. I did think of you Dave when I heard about Aurora incident and feel bad I didn’t call. Aurora is just a 40 minute drive from my house and I spent part of Friday wondering if maybe a coworker had gone to that theater. Lucky enough, no one I knew was there. But with the wild fires and this, the Denver community is a bit frazzled. Today, we had combined services with another local church to take special offering to help those affected by the fires. Aurora was also on everyone’s minds and in their prayers today. You are certainly right (as you usually are) about how our communities have deteriorated to the point we don’t know who our neighbors are or those in our community. It may be one of the major factors that has lead to tragic events like these. It is certainly something I will be considering in my future. Miss you Dave and do hope you are ok. Your friend always. Ron

  3. danap says:

    Well said David. I know that the events in Colorado are very personal for you, and I keep you in my prayers. Living in a small town, everyone is in your “business”, and it can be frustrating. When tragedies strike, it is amazing how small town folk provide support. I am fortunate that I know that young man that carries my groceries to the car, and the Dixie Maid knows how I like my burger prepared. We should always take time to tell those important to us how much they mean to us, and appreciate the gifts we are given. Thank you David.
    Your Old Friend Dana

  4. Game_Skwrl says:

    I read this to my parents. We all agree with you, Dave. Well said, sir.

  5. andieblevins says:

    Your perspective is indeed unique and appreciated. Thanks David.

  6. Zeroman says:

    For each of you that commented, thank you very much. I had to be out all day and so I rushed to get this one posted before I left, and I worried all day about whether or not what I said was coherent. So it was really nice to come home to some positive comments. They mean a lot to me, as do each of you.

  7. Your candor and principalities in your sermon is refreshing to hear. I’ve only been coming to the store for a few months now and I appreciate your input in our brief conversations we have time to time it’s part of the reason that keeps me coming back to the store.

  8. deaconnecessary says:

    Let me add my “well said, Dave” to the growing list.
    You preach better than I do!
    And let us all continue to pray for the victims of this senseless tragedy and the hurting community of Aurora.

  9. Thank you for a wonderful post. It clearly hits on topics than many others seem to be avoiding, asking each of us to look at ourselves, and not lashing out at each other.

  10. Dr. Lucretius Vladimir von Strangelove PhD says:

    I agree 100% with what you’ve written 100%.

    We are responsible for our own actions and the world we live in; we are the problem and the solution.

  11. The Captain says:

    We are now a week past the tragic event, and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel. I’m sad; I feel for the victims and worry that for those involved may be hurt in ways that time cannot mend. I’m also angry, and instinctively want to find someone who could have prevented the attack but didn’t. Yet, I know that what happened was not the fault of the Christian Bale, or Warner Bros., or the theater staff, or the people of Colorado, or even our society. What this ultimately boils down to, is one man making the choice to commit this heinous crime. I find it ironic that the most applicable movie quote that I can think of to describe my feelings comes from a villain
    “We are who we choose to be.” – Green Goblin : Spiderman

    • The Captain says:

      Now, as Dave mentions, being proactive and taking steps to filter what we are exposed to and really reflect on how our exposures affect us can go a long way in reducing these senseless acts. Telling the media that making these criminals infamous is not what we want, may reduce the acts by those seeking fame. Unfortunately, I feel that these types of crimes continue to occur unless society can eliminate personal choice, and a society without choice is one that I do not want to live in. For that is the price of freedom. But, while some may make the choice to hurt, we have the freedom to choose to help. That is where our focus should be. By taking responsibility for ourselves, and holding ourselves and each other accountable for our actions, we can make our world better and still maintain our freedom.

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