Colorado cinema bloodshed no reason to blame movies

ORLANDO -- No sooner had suspected killer James Holmes gunned down a dozen innocent lives in a Colorado movie theater at the midnight showing of a "The Dark Knight Rises," than a pernicious media turned it’s stale, rebarbative eye toward the issue of guns and cinema. Bodies were still warm.

ORLANDO -- No sooner had suspected killer James Holmes gunned down a dozen innocent lives in a Colorado movie theater at the midnight showing of a "The Dark Knight Rises," than a pernicious media turned it’s stale, rebarbative eye toward the issue of guns and cinema. Bodies were still warm.

And yet, the donkeys amongst our seesawing populous, laboring under an oppressive heat, still took the time and pleasure to throw ponderous punches at invisible monsters. Both ideological sides got their drawers inside out—but they missed as usual.

We have seen this overreaction before -- there is an assortment of reasons for it -- all based upon feelings rather than an intellectual investigation based upon numerous facts.

A Duke lacrosse story comes to mind, and it’s reportage, but again, no matter. Old hat.

Cinema, like all art, good or bad, is a representative image of human nature. Cinema must, if it seeks to be legitimate, be a tempest of the good, the bad, and the ugly of human experience and nature. If it fails this task, it ceases to be art, period.

As writer/director Gary Ross once said, “Movie’s aren’t a confessional art form told to people, but a dramatic art form glimpsed by people.” Mr Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy took a timeless character confined to surreal, towering gothic worlds seen through the lens of director Tim Burton, into the campy and bombastic disasters of the sometimes good, but often bad, filmmaker Joel Schumacher.

Burton hung up his craped crusader caul, and the rest, as they say, is history. With Nolan’s Batman Begins, a different Batman emerged. A Batman for our times; dark, brooding, in a word: real.

Nolan’s Batman reached, slipped, and crept into metaphor, for our lives, our experiences, our conflicts, and our world. A quick peek-a-boo around our cities and our world demonstrates precisely why Nolan’s vision of Batman is applicable to our times, not allegorical. The films were shot in real cities, hoisted upon the screen real characters, perfectly imperfect; and textured with those nuances, duplicities, and foibles our own lives express.

Good art requires freedom.

It is those movies most visceral—most touching and moving—that deserve being most seen, and additionally, will be most popular amidst moviegoers. It would be irresponsible to censor such motion pictures because a madman did what he did.

Shall we burn Catcher in The Reye—or how about Jodie Foster? Worse, how about the Holy Bible? This triumvirate was the reason for acts of violence by madmen.

Insofar as rationality be our guide and common sense be our lantern, none of this reasoning is within rationality. We reside in a liberal society in the classical sense. And thank God for it.

We do not blame art nor inanimate objects in a liberal society; we blame those who’ve committed the heinous crime. The answer to mass-murder is justice and justice means severe punishment in cases like this.

We need swift justice, kindly readers.

That means the halls of justice where such evidence is presented, and just trials imperfectly commenced, should be the arena in which we not only seek truthful answers—but also punish those who are the reason behind the crime committed. Lives are now shattered, hearts broken. Our thoughts go from wherever we may reside to those families who lost loved ones, and those who suffer. But to blame motion pictures, a product and an art form 12 people loved, and were slaughtered while enjoying that love, is a disgrace.

Orwell’s thought police, sadly, abound. First efforts to blame movies and offer up vaunted pious attempts to censor; not much later, denouncements against Chick-Fil-A for an business owner’s personal opinions. Let us hope we do not really live in a country so imprisoned. We must offer a rebuke to censorship -- for such sentiment is the mausoleum of liberty.

David Beilstein Picture

Short Bio

David "Daniel" Beilstein, spent the better part of a decade in Central Florida, in New Smyrna Beach as a reporter for the former daily community newspaper, the New Smyrna Beach Observer, in 2008, and later attended Full Sail University. A kidney issue forced him to return to Essex, Vt., in November 2014, but he has agreed to continue writing his community column, the "Lion's Den" for HeadlineSurfer.com, owned and operated by award-winning journalist and Online News Publisher Henry Frederick. Beilstein currently lives in Waverly, Ohio, and is awaiting a kidney transplant.