Every Tuesday in The Minority Report, Drew Dixon takes a look at trends in youth culture and offers some biblical wisdom for navigating them.
It is no secret that Americans love entertainment. This is apparent when 12 people are killed in at a film opening and that film still manages very respectable sales in its opening weekend. Perhaps this is because Americans will not be denied their entertainment or maybe we are becoming accustomed to these types of shootings being a part of life in America. To be fair, DKR was projected to gross around $190 million in its first weekend at the box office and grossed $162–a $28 million hit to sales is not insignificant–it just feels insignificant in light of the 12 people killed and 50 people who were injured in Aurora.
Sometimes it feels like these mass shootings are a peculiar American phenomenon. It should be noted that it was not long ago that similarly shootings took place in Norway and Canada. Maybe these mass shootings have something to do with living in wealthy first world countries? We know we are far from perfect but we are proud to be relatively free of civil war and jihad. We don’t shoot each other for religious or political reasons anymore, however, we shoot each other for no reason at all.
And yet Monday afternoon, I found myself tagging along with a group of high school and middle school students from my church to see The Dark Knight Rises. Acts of terrorism should not make us afraid to live normal lives and yet I couldn’t help but think about how easy it would be for some one to bust into the small theater in which I was sitting with 8 students. I found comfort in the fact that we were watching a matinee–a much less elegant and controversial time to enact a mass shooting.
We could cite violent movies like DKR as culprits in the human fascination with violence but it would seem that we have been looking for convenient culprits (whether it be violent videogames, movies, or bullying) each time one of these shootings has broken out and we have yet to hinder them from erupting. And in spite of the Aurora shooting, Democrats are reluctant to talk about gun control while gun sales have risen in the state of Colorado (when things like this happen, people start thinking more about protecting themselves and their families). I don’t necessarily think that gun control is the answer to keep things like this shooting in Aurora from happening. I do think we should be asking questions about gun control though. It is one of many conversations that we ought to be having in the wake of such a tragedy.
I enjoyed DKR, it was much better than the first film and almost as good as the second–though Bane is far less frightening than Heath Ledger’s Joker. It was a fitting conclusion to one of the best super hero trilogies ever produced and yet I couldn’t help wondering if such violent films are distracting us from bigger problems. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think mass shooting are the result of violent movies, books, and videogames. Violent media and real violence, however, are both products of our culture. That tells us, at the very least that there is something wrong with our culture. And as I willingly participated in this culture by sitting down to the summer’s most anticipated film, I couldn’t help but consider how there is something wrong with me as well.