[Although there have been many developments in the story of the Dark Knight shooter, we’re only going to update when things are more definite. In the meantime, long absent Beat columnist Rich Johnson is back with a story about his son, Batman and what today meant.]
by Rich Johnson
I haven’t written a post for The Beat in quite some time; I have been working, writing and trying to start up some new businesses – but more on that another time. I am writing because of what happened in Colorado and because today is my son’s birthday. And for those of you I don’t know – I am a former DC Comics employee.
My son has been looking forward to both his birthday and The Dark Knight Rises. In fact he has invited a few of his friends to go with him tonight to see the film. As I write this he is playing Batman: Arkham City, and when I got home last night he was watching The Dark Knight. I also noticed a stack of Batman graphic novels stacked on the dining room table.
This is a kid who I would occasionally bring into work at the DC offices. He would walk the halls as my co-workers would heap comics, books, games and toys on him. He walked around knowing his father was a life-long fan of comics and Batman. When he was five or six he would tell his friends and their parents that his Dad “worked for Batman”. One smart ass father replied, “Yeah? What’s his name, Alfred?”
One of the lessons he learned by reading and watching Batman is that he never should use a gun or kill someone. Pretty important lesson for a child.
The talking heads on the news have begun to spin their usual garbage after this type of incident. One woman on CNN this morning said she is sure that the killer was “sitting in his room alone playing video games, first person shooters, killing people and planning this.” Mind you, this was said before the police made any statements about what was in his apartment. I heard of another talking head referring to the fans of Batman as a “cult”. If indeed it is a cult, then I have been a proud life-long member. Any “cult” that teaches that the way of killing and guns is wrong is fine by me. In fact the cult’s “leader” has dedicated his life to preventing incidents like this from happening.
But back to my son. Has been immersed in this culture from almost the time he was born and I can’t imagine having a better son. He is thoughtful, decent, caring, and a whole bunch of other adjectives I could add here, but I don’t want to embarrass him.
It troubles me that so called “experts” immediately look to games, comics and movies as the inspiration for senseless acts of violence. Charles Manson said that the Bible and the music of The Beatles spoke to him and were the reasons he killed. When you have something inside of you that makes you walk into a crowded movie theatre with the sole intention of killing people, the simple fact is simply that there is something wrong with that person. Something is in his brain, his DNA, his soul that tells him that violence is the answer to whatever is troubling him.
As for me I am going to give pause and be thankful that both my son and daughter are good people and have learned some of their values from Batman. I’m also going to be thinking about the victims and their families of this horrific event. Tonight I will celebrate my son’s birthday with pizza, cake, gifts and a trip to see The Dark Rises with him and friends. Peace.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.