Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Batman Movie Shooting

    Last night, twelve people died in senseless gun violence at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.

    Batman, of course, is a character who is a lunatic vigilante, and so some crazy people identify with that fantasy figure in the wrong way. Batman is also a character who has lost his parents to senseless gun violence. (They were killed on a family outing to the movies.) It's an authoritarian vigilante fantasy about stopping people from shooting each other.

    The Batman character is a reflection of our country: its fascination with violence and lawlessness, but also its desire to escape from the bloodshed. What makes Batman most peculiar is that he, the ultimate American vigilante, wants absolutely nothing to do with guns.

    Bruce Wayne is crazy. But not so crazy that he thinks guns make things better. And when it comes to guns, we're still not as rational as the fictional character who dresses up like a bat.



    What a tragedy, another in a long sad list. Of course there will not be one word or one hearing about reinstating the assault weapons, 'massacre' (30+) clip ban that Clinton passed and the GOP and GWB let die.

    If anything, there will be more loose talk and Republican backed legislation allowing more guns in more places by practically anyone. Why? American gun nuts demand it. Millions and millions of them. And they have their NRA, their delusions and their Republican lackeys in office. What a country.

    True. And there won't be any talk about expanding the mental-health safety net. The odds that the shooter turns out to be an all-too-diagnosable schizophrenic are very high.

    A country can't afford to be laissez-faire about guns and mental illness. Neglecting either is bad enough. The combination is just crazy.

    The suspected gunman at the Batman movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., earlier today has been identified as Ph.D. student James Holmes, who recently withdrew from his neuroscience studies at the University of Colorado before shooting up "The Dark Knight Rises" screening.

    Holmes, 24, moved to Aurora to pursue his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado medical center, living just blocks from the hospital in an apartment that police say is now laced with explosives and being searched by HazMat teams.

    Literally within moments of hearing this report on the news, I also heard a preemptive talking point from the NRA being spread about how shameful it would be to have Progressives use this tragedy to try to take people's guns away.   How do people who have genuinely had enough, fight back against such a powerfully entrenched lobbying effort that resists all sensible efforts to fix what is so obviously a problem? 

    Exactly. We need more mental health care at the community level.  On the legal part, anyone who has not been 'adjudicated mentally ill' in a court or by a 'lawful authority or commission', can still legally buy a gun.

    For many or most who HAVE been adjudicated mentally ill by a court, they might just lie about it on the government form and not self-report. By writing 'No' in box 11F on the ATF-4473 Form, and illegally get a weapon. The mental health reporting 'system' is often ineffective.

    For these reasons, at least banning the huge clips (in WW2 GI's had 8 round clips in their M1 carbines, no American needs more to protect themselves or their family) as the Assault Weapons Ban did (banned clips over 10) is a straight forward and simple way to at least reduce the killing power so easily available to these nutcases. (Loughner, for instance, was stopped when his massacre clip of 30+ rounds ran out).

    He 'thought he was the Joker', and as suspected, he did use a 'massacre magazine' which the Republicans legalized in 2004 under GWB:

    Police said the weapons used in the massacre include a military-style AR-15 assault rifle with a high-capacity drum-style clip, a shotgun and two handguns.

    No mental health issues there.

    E.J. Dionne, Jr. on Colorado, "The Gag Rule on Guns", at (registration is free and you probably can get a free copy over the next day or so, not requiring registration, with a local paper website somewhere that doesn't require it if you would rather not register):


    For all the dysfunction in our political system, a healthy pattern usually takes hold when a terrible tragedy seizes the nation’s attention.

    Normally, we engage in a searching conversation over what rational steps can be taken by individuals, communities and various levels of government to make the recurrence of a comparable tragedy less likely. Sometimes we act, sometimes we don’t, but at least we explore sensible solutions.

    Unless the tragedy involves guns. Then our whole public reasoning process goes haywire. Anyone who dares to say that an event such as the massacre at a Colorado movie theater early Friday demands that we rethink our approach to the regulation of firearms is accused of “exploiting” the deaths of innocent people.

    This is part of the gun lobby’s rote response, and the rest of us allow it to work every time. Their goal is to block any conversation about how our nation’s gun laws, the most permissive in the industrialized world, increase the likelihood of mass killings of this sort.



    Living in a red area, it's interesting that the comments I am over-hearing are "so how many more of these are we going to have before they start letting us carry guns - if someone there had one they could have blown him away..."

    I'm thinking it's going to be a cold day in hell before anything changes.

    Holmes had a 100, yes one - hundred - round drum magazine.

    You would have to be pretty fast and lucky to draw on a guy with fire power like that in front of you. I didn't even know they made them that big. The magazine is illegal in many states, not Colorado.

    NYT: Mr. Holmes also purchased online multiple magazines for the assault rifle, including one 100-round drum magazine. “With that drum magazine, he could have gotten off 50, 60 rounds, even if it was semiautomatic, within one minute,” Chief Oates said.

    I know it's ridiculous. There is absolutely no excuse for the existence of something like that. I truly don't know what it is going to take.

    Only when We,The People come together and demand our elected officials have the courage and character to stand up to the gun lobbyists and special interests to enact uniform gun laws that make these kind of automatic weapons illegal, along with other common sense gun legislation will this insanity cease.

    I pray for that day, Aunt Sam.  Unfortunately, there is a huge segment of the population that agrees with the NRA talking point that if we only had MORE guns, someone would have stopped him by shooting and killing him.  The delusion of movie violence has distorted our rational thoughts on the use of firearms in real life.


    A hand gun wouldn't have been any use with the body armor Holmes was wearing.

    If only someone had been there with a high powered rifle, armor piercing bullets and night vision goggles to see in that dark movie theater he could have saved the day.

    We don't need gun control legislation, we need more freedom. Everybody should be allowed to sling a machine gun over their shoulder with a hundred rounds of ammo and carry it wherever they go.

    Sure I have a rifle in my car, but I never feel safe going into a super market to get a gallon of milk without a rifle hanging off my shoulder.



    Cheeeese-suz. I forgot the night vision goggles. Will also have to re-load my mail order 100 round drum with the armor piercing stuff.  Thanks.

    On a serious not HuffPost says Frank Lautenberg plans to introduce federal legislation on the massacre magazines. A Huff poster suggested, in the usual dumbed down 'get the best spin' from the moronic uninformative corporate shills we call news people, to call it the Heroes Creation Bill, as with only 10 rounds per clip, the chance somebody can stop the next guy will increase.

    I do have a rifle for hunting, mostly jack rabbits and an occasion deer. It has a 10 round clip and its bolt action. So I have to manually load each round from the clip. That's fast enough and more than sufficient ammo. I never needed anything more to get a bit of extra meat for my table.

    I've read/heard enough now about this one that I'm willing to bet that Roger Ebert (in a New York Times op-ed, "We've Seen This Movie Before") has pegged the case pretty accurately here:

    [....] I’m not sure there is an easy link between movies and gun violence. I think the link is between the violence and the publicity. Those like James Holmes, who feel the need to arm themselves, may also feel a deep, inchoate insecurity and a need for validation. Whenever a tragedy like this takes place, it is assigned catchphrases and theme music, and the same fragmentary TV footage of the shooter is cycled again and again. Somewhere in the night, among those watching, will be another angry, aggrieved loner who is uncoiling toward action. The cinematic prototype is Travis Bickle of “Taxi Driver.” I don’t know if James Holmes cared deeply about Batman. I suspect he cared deeply about seeing himself on the news [.....]

    I don't see Batman either, I hear Irene Cara: ....don't you know my name?...... I'm going to live forever, light up the sky like a remember my name....

    My bet will be backed with me refraining from paying attention to the story until there's enough data for a substantial lengthy piece on the story, and I mean the kind of quality magazine piece that takes weeks (if not months,) not days. By doing so, I won't be helping to feed the "trolls" of which Mr Ebert speaks in the paragraph I quoted.

    But before I leave the topic for a while, let me just respond to Mr Ebert as well, regarding the rest of his piece: heed your own advice and wait for all the reviews, seems that should guns fail to produce a significant show, the guy may also have had an apartment booby-trapped with bombs (looking bad enough so far to require the evacuation of  five buildings.) The "breaking" issue-oriented "war room" PR on these stories from all sides, and the every-Tom, Dick & Mary-has-an-opinion debates that follow the same, they could be the real "killer."

    I watched Piers Morgan last night, I don't usually, but I have to say, he really took it to the gun rights folks. If you haven't seen the clip Mediaite has it, I wasn't with it enough last night to record it and upload it on my youtube channel.

    All of your points about the Batman are correct, and I think you are correct about the kid too, he is at the correct age for the onset of a severe mental illness, and it seems his family wasn't shocked about what happened, which is also concerning isn't it. Being unable to help an adult child has to be the worst thing a parent can go through.

    It's hard to watch this stuff though, all I can see are my kids, because we are big fans of this kind of stuff, we often hit the midnight opening of a comic based movie and those films are always jammed packed.

    I wonder when we as a nation are going to quit being held hostage by the NRA nutcases? I mean does a well-regulated militia really mean guns and 6000 rounds of ammo for anyone who wants that? Oh man, I just don't get this stuff. It's awful.

    Did Piers mention the 100 round magazine?

    Last night I got pissed off at a report in the NYT, still up on their front page.  I emailed reporter John Schwarz, the author,  and a Mr. Volokh, an 'expert' lawyer at UCLA who told Schwartz 'the guy had basically normal guns'. I pointed out that the 100 round magazine was banned in California, was outlawed from 1994-2004, and is by no means 'normal' for any gun owner.

    These two clowns may not have noticed, but another article in the Times had the info on the magazine, although it didn't mention they are banned in a number of states (not Colorado, perhaps a very unfortunate fact for that young woman, who had just escaped the Quebec shooting, who was shot twice, first the leg, then a second time, fatally in the head).

    I would presume Volokh would know what is legal in California, unless he is a guy who doesn't know all the facts before he pontificates, or, just a another libertarian shill for the NRA which seems possible.

    And these are the 'smart' guys  who are supposed to be informing the public.

    Yes Morgan talked about that magazine and about the 6000 rounds of ammunition the dude obtained.  This lawyer told Piers Morgan it was too early to be discussing this issue, and Morgan says to the guy, no, it's too late,  12 more people are dead, you American's should have been having this discussion much earlier! That is a paraphrase not exact words, but that lawyer looked stunned, and Morgan is completely correct. We've failed to have this discussion at all, and here is where we are now because of it. It was a pretty spectacular discussion really.

    Unfortunately, the "bumper sticker mentality" folks go for the "When we outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns" and "guns don't kill people, people kill people" philosophy. Until enough people have had someone they love die from this senseless violence, they will stick with their belief we should ALL be packin'. When we're all packin' I'm staying home. It's getting to be a scary world out there.


    Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. This was drawn by Nick Anderson for the Houston Chronicle in January 2011.

    "We had fed the heart on fantasies, The heart's grown brutal from the fare." 

     ~ William Butler Yeats 


    Latest Comments