No-Name Who’s-His-Face, The Murderer

Last night some sort of psychopath murdered and wounded people in cold blood in a movie theater at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, by shooting them to death indiscriminately. The act was heinous and sickening and my heart goes out to all affected.

I just saw someone on the news who had the bright idea to call this killer “The Joker”. And all I could think was “what the fuck is this guy doing on TV?” Everyone in the media should be scrupulously avoiding glorifying these sick actions in such a manner. It does not make you clever and insightful that you put it together that this person was trying to mimic behavior from the movies. And the nickname you are trying to sell with relish is not cute. As we learn from the movies themselves–since we’re ridiculously playing that game here–this person used “theatrics” to try to gain attention and what he twistedly considers glory. Don’t give it to him. Don’t send him or those like him the message that they will get to be considered “the real life Joker” if only they use the right gimmick in murdering people.

We should learn whatever there is important to learn about the nature of his crimes and what makes human brains do such terrible things. But we should not give anyone the impression that they will be rewarded for acts of brutal terror and destruction with iconic nicknames. We should commemorate the victims, not celebrate their killer. And we should not endorse the fantasies of delusional people who cannot separate fact from fiction. Years hence, it is appropriate we remember these murders but don’t bother to remember their perpetrator’s name or anything more lurid or “quirky” than the cold fact that he murdered, injured, and traumatized human beings.

Your Thoughts?


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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.