Spoiler Warning: If you haven’t See the Dark Knight Rises and plan to, you probably shouldn’t read any further.
The underlying plot of “Dark Knight Rises” is that many of the city’s problems were solved based on a lie. That at the end of the second Batman film, Commissioner Gordon and Batman agree that he’ll take the fall for the death of Harvey Dent, which in turn allowed the mayor and Gordon to push through tough anti-crime legislation that cleaned up the city, but left jails bubbling over like a powder keg about to explode. This deception was then used by Bane to create a fake populist uprising to get what he wanted. Unfortunately the same thing can be said about Torrence Brown Jr.
Torrence who survived the theatre shooting in Aurora was physically but not emotionally unscathed. One of his best friends was killed in the massacre and he has lawyered up and is seeking justice. Now, given than the perpetrator of the crime James Holmes is already in custody and doesn’t have much in the bank (Unless Torrence wants some of his NIH grant money) who exactly is Torrence planning on suing? According to his lawyers who spoke with TMZ, he is suing the theatre for failing to have security at the doors where Holmes entered, the doctors who prescribed Holmes medicine but did not properly follow up on him and then Warner Brothers films for creating the ‘violence’ that Holmes sought to imitate in his attack. That’s right Commissioner Gordon, let’s find a scapegoat.
I have no idea what kind of pain and trauma Torrence Brown Jr. is in, but this case smells of an ambulance chasing lawyer looking to exploit a massacre survivor for a quick payout. I don’t see how James Holmes’ doctors can be held responsible for a grown man going crazy and killing people. It’s not as if he were some deranged student on a college campus who should have been removed, he was a private citizen who had gone for psychological help. Whom were they to warn? Along the same lines, Warner Brothers can be accused of a great many things, jacking up cable rates, producing lousy movies, and hijacking my childhood cartoons onto one cable channel, but according to Torrence Brown’s lawyer Donald Karpel’s interview with TMZ:
“Dark Knight Rises” was particularly violent and Holmes mimicked some of the action. The attorney says theater goers were helpless because they thought the shooter was part of the movie. Karpel tells TMZ, “Somebody has to be responsible for the rampant violence that is shown today.”
If the goal is to do something about violence that is laudable but I sincerely doubt all of the blame can be placed on a movie that – at the time of the shooting – had only been on the screen for 15 minutes. I can assure you, the first 15 minutes of this film were MUCH less violent than previous film. And clearly this crime was planned long before this man entered the movie. About the only element to this lawsuit that I can think of with a modicum of merit is suing the movie theatre for not keeping the doors secure, but I’m fairly certain that it wouldn’t have mattered whether they doors were locked or not.
The tragedy in Colorado is one that will take people a lifetime to recover from, but in some cases, the main person to blame can’t give you any relief or justice or closure. Focusing on easy scapegoats like theatres and doctors and movie studios might feel nice in the short term but they won’t answer the painfully lingering question of why this massacre happened. And even the man directly responsible probably can’t answer that question.