Tragedy, Media and Why We Need Batman

more here an/20120826_0028/” rel=”attachment wp-att-19894″>On Thursday, July 20, America was shocked as a 24-year-old madman opened fire in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater, killing 12 people as they anxiously anticipated the finale of Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy.

In the wake of this undeniable tragedy, our country reacted in the best and worst ways possible. The vigils, charity and respect our country has poured into the small Colorado town cannot be overlooked.

Our hearts were wrenched with sadness upon hearing the news. My friend texted me after hearing about the shooting and was overcome with sadness in a time that was meant to be a celebration of what has been one of the best film series of all time.

This reaction is seemingly common, as our country immediately set off the course of action needed to find any semblance of order in a chaotic situation.

However, the shock of pure devastation in front of our eyes has always been a springboard for other -— less noble — things.

The media spiraled out of control with the coverage of this shooting.

We’ve been through this before: a tragedy occurs, our nation weeps — and instead of using this as a learning tool (as the media is intended to function), we spiral into a fear-gauged mockery of what we could consider “news.”

Our morbid curiosity fuels the media fire as the story continues to unfold. As we passively watch Fox, CNN, MSNBC or any of the thousands of stations covering the event, we wonder silently as pundits debate the aftermath that only such a horrific and shocking tragedy could have.

Scott H. Greenfield, the author of Simple Justice, wrote a blog post highlighting the unreal responses that a media-fueled agenda can create. Mere hours after the shooting, people were clamoring for more violence —the shootting suspect’s immediate death — and fantasizing about his demise within the criminal justice system.

Of course, we, as simple observers, are appalled at this man’s actions. But, as a civilized and informed society — as we love to pridefully boast ourselves as — shouldn’t we wait for all of the facts to emerge before clamoring for a decision? Isn’t it the job of the media to uncover these necessary facts? Our media, once again, has failed us. Instead of introducing facts that could lead to answers, only more questions began to stem from their coverage.

“Do we need stricter gun laws?” One pundit will ask. “Maybe he was high while he was shooting the theater?” Another might ponder. But, worst of all, someone somewhere will suggest that it was the violent nature of these “Batman” films that caused such an outrage.

To that I would argue, it’s times like these where Batman is truly needed.

Yes, Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy is rife with violent images, psychotic characters and terrorist plans that include holding an entire city hostage — but as they say in the film, “that’s the point of Batman.”

Movies are meant to entertain, enlighten and provoke our imagination. For years, films have acted as one of the most powerful tools of entertainment and Nolan’s trilogy is one of the best examples of what an incredibly well-developed, topical and spectacular series can truly be.

On the surface, the caped crusader may seem like a childish fantasy. How can we realistically believe a millionaire playboy scours the rooftops of Gotham City to purge it of its crime?

But Batman is something more than that. Batman offers us, the audience, a chance to see the horrific events on-screen and digest the simple — and oftentimes relevant — motives hell-bent people like the Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face and Bane can have.

By watching a film like Nolan’s “Batman,” we can see what drives men to “watch the world burn” in order to put such dark emotions that unfortunately permeate our society into context and can better separate it from our own world.

But beyond just showing us allegorical characters that were created by smart comic book writers, “Batman” is able to show us — even if it is just a glimpse — of what evil men are capable of. Not only that, but the story of Batman shows us how men can stare into the face of evil and still come out on top.

So instead of plunging deeper into the abyss of partisanship and asking questions that don’t lead to the answers at hand, perhaps we could learn something from the world’s greatest detective.

Or, if our media has truly failed us, perhaps we need Batman to save us more than we know.