Jul 24, 2012

evil and heroes: what i've learned from aurora and the dark knight rises

Sometimes it's so easy to get wrapped up in stories. It's easy to think in hyperboles and get lost in worlds that seem so much more extreme and exciting and thrilling than our own. It's easy to get stuck in the day to day. To get bored and jaded by the world: the 9-5, the morning coffee, happy hour and late-night sitcoms.

It's easy to forget what the world is capable of, until suddenly it isn't. When the news stories flash up about gun massacres and untimely deaths. When things you think are only horrible enough for movies or fiction become terribly, horribly real.

I haven't written anything about the Colorado shooting yet, but I've been truly, deeply sickened by what happened. It's so hard for me to wrap my mind around the realities of it: a man walking into a crowded theatre full of men, women and children and opening fire. Who would do such a thing? What could warp and scar a man so badly that he was driven to such things?

Husband and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises this morning. I've always been a huge fan of the series... there's just something about these movies that set them apart. Christopher Nolan does a very excellent job of portraying evil. Of showing the chaos and darkness that people are capable of on a grandiose scale. In The Dark Knight he perfectly presented a man who only wanted to watch the world burn. In The Dark Knight Rises he shows the power of chaos and anarchy.

But Nolan doesn't stop there. He also shows us that we don't have to abide that darkness. We can stand up to it. Even if there is a cost. A sacrifice. Especially so. I think, this is the truest and most powerful definition of a hero: one who protects others at his or her own expense.

Evil exists in our world. Villains are real. They are chaos and darkness. They are bullets and body armor in a movie theatre crowded with innocent civilians.

Heroes are real too. They exist in people like the 3 men who died by shielding their girlfriends with their own bodies in that movie theatre. Like the 13-year-old-girl who tried to save a 6-year-old through CPR.

It's good to remember these things. That fictional stories like Batman echo real truths.

There is darkness in the world. But people have the power, the choice, to rise above it.

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