In the geek, nerd and fan community, our “violence” isn’t real. We pretend to quest and battle using “safe” padded weapons, we throw a card on the floor to inflict damage, roll a 20 sider to see what happens. As children, we were the kids with our sweatshirts tied around our necks, arms out front, pretending to save everyone and everything.
And in that community, knowing we are all trying to be the good guy, the one who does the right thing, we hardly think of someone truly becoming the villain.
Last night, I too was at a midnight show to see The Dark Night Rises. I was dressed up (Lady Commissioner Gordon), people behind me were dressed up and all having a good time. The worst I suspected any of them doing was talking during the film, or having to walk past me to use the facilities.
In the safety of knowing everyone wanted to be there and see this film, I watched.
I went home.
I loosened my tie, washed my face.
I went to sleep.
When I woke up this morning, I did as I always do, before I even get out of bed: I check the news.
12 dead, up to 50 injured. A child, shot. A toddler, wounded. Pictures of parents hugging their Batman shirt clad children, teens, friends. A father screaming for his son.
“Is he wounded? Is he in there? Has anyone seen my son?”
James Holmes, 24, is a San Diego native. He is younger than me. He grew up in an area relatively near me.
And yet, at last night’s movie, myself and others were dressed as the good guys.We wanted to see our guy win. He has to win. There can’t be any other way.
Holmes came in ready to shoot and be shot at, wanting to bring the bad guy to life. He calls himself The Joker. This is beyond being so serious, this right at the heart of insanity.
For the community of Aurora, there was no good guy in the shadows to swoop in and take care of it all. Not a single person in that theater could have seen that coming.
Last night, my attire consisted of a belt I turned into a shoulder holster strap. I had hoped to have a leather holster (empty) tucked under my arm.
Had I been in Aurora last night, would I have reached for a gun that wasn’t there? Would I have cried as I came up empty handed?
When it first started happening, did some think it was publicity stunt?
How long did it take people in other theaters to realize that the extra gunfire they heard through the wall was real?
There are too many questions. There are not enough answers.
As fans, geeks and nerds, we are used to being teased, sometimes bullied, mocked, spoofed, looked down upon. And we take it, we are alright, mostly, and we think we are safe. Today and after, look to your friends and your family. Look to your fellow fans. Look to all those little kids out there that still whoosh around the playground, wanting to grow up into a hero.
We have to stay together, we have to stay strong and we have to remember that there are more of us, more of the good guys. It may not look like that every day in the news, I know that for a fact. But we have to hold it together and keeping trying. We can’t let the bad guys win. We can’t let our personal Gotham’s be overrun by those who seek to still us with fear. We don’t have The Batman to help us. We only have ourselves.
To the community of Aurora, you have my truly heartfelt sorrow. What happened to you should never happen when people come together for enjoyment and happiness. My thoughts are with you all. Those who have lost or been wounded, I hope, in time, you find the strength to stand again.
“I loved you like you were one of my own,”