Do the shootings in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater that killed 12 innocent people trouble you? You don’t need to answer, because I am sure they do. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Yet we also struggle with the why of what would possess one human being to raise himself up against an unsuspecting crowd to try to annihilate them? Does dressing up as a fantasy villain excuse such violence? Why was it so difficult for him and other people involved in similar tragedies to tell the difference between fantasy and reality?
Fictional superheroes and bad guys aren’t new. They were around when I was a kid, and likely when my parents and grandparents were also, but the difference seems to be that more people strove to be like the hero than the villain. Good and evil were clearly defined, and good always triumphed over evil.
Today’s heroes, whether it’s Batman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman or a host of aliens with a penchant for saving their worlds, are make believe, but then so are their arch enemies. Fictional stories can’t be the reason because even in the old westerns, people recognized that all the actors were playing a role. In fact, the actor meeting his demise in one film was often seen the next night in another show. Even when it was based on true historical personages, you knew the bad guys from the good and you never wanted to be the ones wearing the black hats.
Maybe we need to hear more about the real life heroes who make sacrifices for other people. They do their best everyday at home and at work. They put food on the table, care for the sick and hurting as well as a host of other things that don’t get their names in lights. Maybe we should start sharing how these people make a real difference in defeating the negatives that permeate our worlds.
I wonder if the issue isn’t deeper than that. Perhaps it stems from the lack of absolutes in the world or more specifically from eliminating God from the picture. Maybe the real problem is that these folks don’t know that God not only exists, but that He loves them so much He sent His Son to die to pay the penalty for their sins so that they could be with Him forever. Maybe they don’t know that all men are evil and that only God can change them. Maybe we need to be bolder and tell them.
I don’t know what was going through this man’s mind when he conjured up his diabolical scheme, nor do I have an outline or list of bullet points to follow to eradicate such behavior. This I do know, however. We can do better at doing what is right and good. That’s a beginning and one that will make a difference.