Friday, July 20, 2012

Dark Knight Rises and the Sanctuary of the Picture Palaces

I'm sure many of you got a chance to see the newest and supposedly final installment to Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy. I, like many of my fellow DC fans, bought tickets ahead of time, slipped on a catsuit, made a leather mask and stayed up late with my boyfriend and a few close friends to see Bale take on yet another strife, saving the city of Gotham once again, and perhaps for the last time, as the Dark Knight, Batman.
The film had me standing and fangirl-ing in my black cat ears by the end, and raving about it outside in the parking lot until everyone else but us had left.

It was when we arrived home and I got a chance to check my tweets that I finally read the news of the Denver, Colorado Dark Knight Rises shooting, in which at least 10 had been reported killed (at the time-later it would be declared 12) and more than 30 injured (later numbers ranged at 59-70), by a masked and armored man in possession of no less than four fire-arms. The shots were fired about 39 minutes into the film, and the patrons in the theater at first believed it to be special effects of the film. This was only after a form of irritant (some form of teargas) was released on one of the four theaters. The bullets passed through the walls of one of the theaters and into the one next to it, hitting a patron in that theater.

James Holmes was arrested outside the theaters moments after.

Reading the tweets and news reports about those injured and dead because they happened to be out enjoying the Cinema late at night for a special event makes me rethink the phrase:
"At the wrong place and at the wrong time", because people like Jessica Gwahi (@JessicaRedfield) and her friend Brent, who was with her at the moment that Jessica was shot twice and later passed on; people like Alex Sullivan, who died taking a bullet for his wife, had EVERY RIGHT to be there, as did every single person sitting in those seats. Enjoying something that was supposed to be safe. Something that was supposed to be fiction.

In the 1930's and '40's, the movie theater was a haven. A place to escape the struggles and strife of the everyday world. You didn't have to be trying to keep the bank from forclosing on your house, and the War didn't have to have taken your brothers, sons, and husbands away. Dorothy always made it home, Shirley Temple always gained a family, and the good guy always defeated the baddies.
A Theater is a safe place. A sanctuary. The one place in this whole world where the ones who sacrifice and perish, and the ones who fall victim are always okay in real life.
That safe place, that line between fiction and reality has been blurred, today. The terror that was to stay behind the screen was unleashed, and that may be one of the cruelest elements of this event- the lack of security regarding what's real in the refuge that is the cinema, and in our own minds.
What I fear most about this event, is not the guns used, but is the deception. And, curiously, the disappointment.
I try not to think about this, but I can't help but realize how excited it was for these movie-goers to be seeing this film at midnight. It was supposed to be fun. We were supposed to be free from the worries. Some of us will now will never get to have worries again.
It's the contrast between the excitement they felt and the truth of the events that have me swallowing tears.

Much love, best wishes, and do your best to atone for the mistakes in our species by doing something selfless this week.
I love you.

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