Dissection of Tragedy


If you think it’s unsafe to go to a movie theatre because of a high profile incident of a mass shooting…well, I won’t say you’re letting the terrorists win, because the shooter in Denver last night was a lone wingnut and not part of an organized group. (And also he was white.) We should mourn for all those killed and hope for the recovery of the wounded, but stop there. Don’t get into the same ol’ talking heads crap about public safety and gun control.

You can still go to the movies. The chances of this happening haven’t changed – they have always been very, very low. American culture looks up too much to stories of outstanding success thinking the results can be replicated in their own lives, when they won’t. And American culture looks down on stories of outstanding tragedy thinking it turns their everyday lives upside down, when it doesn’t. It doesn’t need to.

It’s illegal to shout out “fire” in a crowded theatre. Have you ever been in such a situation? No, because people know it’s illegal, and they know it’s wrong and they aren’t that terrible of human beings. It’s exponentially more of all those things to take open fire in a crowded theatre. (I’m sure I’m the first person to think of that comparison, and I know it’s so good.)

Don’t restart the same old guns-vs-culture debate that’s never resolved or explained anything. A year ago a Norwegian killed scores of people. Earlier this week two dozen people were wounded in gun fire in Toronto. Massacres happen to great tragedy, around the world. Leave this one alone to mourning and use other examples for any real dialogue on society’s problems.

Far more than 12 people are murdered every day across the US but no attention is paid to the others beyond local news. Those murders may have a solution, or at least the rate at which they occur and where. Don’t talk like you know the cause and the solution to this type of massacre when you can’t even be bothered to care about far greater numbers of lives lost elsewhere. And don’t think that the average movie theatre is now any more dangerous than it was before.


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