For The Record | Issue 19

For The Record | Issue 19

A Dark Night

“When people ask if firearms are too accessible in America, they might as well ask if religion and speech are too free.” – Senator Larry Craig

The nightmarish massacre in Colorado has spurred media pundits across the world to question the future of the cinema. Opinions vary, but a number of “solutions” have been proposed to prevent any future theatre-based violence: midnight premieres may cease to exist, metal detectors will likely be installed, costumes could very well be prohibited… The cinema may be given the post-9/11 “airport security” treatment.

Does art reflect society, or society reflect art? The oft-debated question has been thrust back into the spotlight by James Holmes’ unspeakable acts. Both sides have hard statistics and empirical evidence to support their stance. But I’m not here to throw percentages at you, or tell you that there’s almost 300 million firearms owned by civilians in the USA, a country with a population of 311 million. I don’t have the column space for a statistical debate. What I would like to do is defend not only one of the best blockbusters in recent history, but the glorious institution that is the cinema.

Yes, there are weapons in The Dark Knight Rises and Holmes was allegedly inspired by Heath Ledger’s inimitable Joker, but it seems clear that the shooting had nothing specifically to do with Batman’s epic finale. We can’t blame the movies. And it sure as hell isn’t the fault of Christopher Nolan or Bruce Wayne. If society did reflect the cinema that accurately, then there’d be a whole lot more billionaires running around in black spandex.

While the event was tragic, putting Draconian restrictions on movie theatres and movies alike would be a huge step backward in cultural evolution. The question shouldn’t be “How can we censor cinematic violence?” but instead “How can we make it more difficult for Americans to buy guns?” It’s the weapons doing the killing, not the movies, and as long as American gun laws are as ridiculous as North Dunedin’s liquor ban we can expect more violence.

Fuck the right to bear arms. Americans lost that “privilege” decades ago. In the weekend following the Aurora shooting, gun sales in Colorado skyrocketed. People want guns to protect themselves against people with guns. Oh the irony.

Films will likely become more violent, reflecting an increasingly violent populace. Cinema security and media censorship is a cowardly solution to a bigger problem. Only by changing the Second Amendment and decreasing firearm availability can there be any hope for a more peaceful cinema.

For the record, Hans Zimmer’s score to TDKR is mind-blowingly epic.
This article first appeared in Issue 19, 2012.
Posted 4:49pm Sunday 5th August 2012 by Lukas Clark-Memler.