Yet our political leaders are often all too eager to use headline-making tragedies to justify their own existence, to pass laws to make it look like they’re doing something useful. When 9/11 occurs, we get the Patriot Act; closer to home, stories of Kentucky children harmed by meth-making parents were used to push laws restricting Sudafed sales. It is easy to grab onto a hot-button issue and use it as a tool for a legislative free-for-all, but we must fight the temptation and stand against those who would give in to it.
In a way, it shows that traditional, greedy motives for bad behavior are still around. Not exactly a comforting thought.
Ironically, “The Dark Knight Rises” showcased this kind of “villainy,” showing how the death of district attorney Harvey Dent is used to justify a sweeping organized crime law that allows Gotham City’s slimier politicians to stand at podiums and boast about what a good job they’ve done — despite the fact Dent’s legacy is built on a lie (as Dent actually became the murderous criminal Two-Face in the previous film, choosing the fates of his victims on the random flip of a coin). What’s more, the wicked deeds of Bane loom on the horizon, unpredictable acts against which the city is powerless.
There is no need to blame the big-screen stories of Batman, the Joker, et al., for one gunman’s horrific crimes, as many rush to do; only a day after the shooting, I was already reading op-ed columns asking if Nolan’s creative vision was to blame, particularly since Holmes allegedly identified himself as “the Joker.” Evil has existed long before the cinema; if the Colorado killer had not found motivation from a comic book-based movie, he would have found it elsewhere. Disaster is inevitable, and will always find the right crack through which to slip into existence.