This overarching questions will be posed several times in the days, weeks and months that follow as we try to makes sense of this senseless tragedy. Some people will put the blame on the makes of the movie. Some will blame the large culture and the glorification of violence. I’ve even seen more than one comment on Twitter and Facebook that says the shooting was a result of God’s will or that it was the result of a lack of fear of hell. The claim that the shooting was a result of God’s will is one that I don’t buy at all. As to the shooting being the result of a lack of fear of hell…that’s one that needs to be teased out and I may or may not agree with it depending on what one means by “hell.”
Timothy Dalrymple seeks to answer this question with his post on Philosophical Fragments. In his post, Dalrymple asks three questions and offers his answer and explanation:
- Does the film keep a firm grasp on right and wrong, good versus evil, hero versus villain? In this case, the answer is yes. The Joker tells Batman that they are eternally linked, but only as opposites. Batman stands for order and noble self-sacrifice, while the Joker stands for disorder, murder and theft. While the films are willing to explore the complexities in these areas, Batman’s actions, and the actions of Joker or Bane, are not made into moral equivalents. There are countless movies out there with a much more questionable moral compass.
- Does the film promote a morally indiscriminate violence? I say “morally indiscriminate” here because not all violence is equal. It’s one thing to promote or glorify violence against children, or innocent bystanders, or against anyone and everyone — and another to glorify violence performed in defense of the innocent. Again, the answer here for the Dark Knight trilogy is no. Batman himself is a vigilante, but he goes to great lengths to protect the innocent, to do violence only to those in the commission of evil acts, and for the most part he does not kill them but disables them and leaves them for the police. That’s pretty tame.
- Does the film glorify those who commit morally indiscriminate violence? This is a tougher question to answer. We want cooler and cooler villains, people who are more impressive and more inventive in the terrible things they do. Ra’s al Ghul in the first film (played by Liam Neeson) was slick and intelligent, filled with a kind of Taoist “wisdom” and mystery. The Joker was an awesome villain. Bane is profoundly impressive in his own way. In the end, however, I would again answer no, because all three were thoroughly repudiated. They are not only defeated, but they were shown to be animated by a false vision, false “truths” and false values.
Ultimately, Dalrymple concludes that the makers of the movie are not responsible for the shooting. In this we are in agreement. Let’s face it, we live in a broken, sinful world.
What are your thoughts? Are the makers of the movie responsible for the shooting?
You can read Dalrymple’s full article here.
HT: John W. Morehead via Facebook