I noticed an article in Slate today that pondered that part of the problem that produces insane acts like we recently witnessed in Colorado is our “addiction to evil”. I think there is something to that.
Now to be clear I do enjoy fictional depictions of evil folks like the Joker in the recent batman movies or my personal favorite Riddick in several movies. That said I think I have enough grasp on reality to know these are just fictions and not something I would ever want to see or mimic in real life.
But for some, pushed to the very edge in their lives this celebration of the villain might seem to offer a path out of their dismay. For example it seemed like this nutter from Aurora had set on a path of the super villain, but when confronted by the reality of his deeds he stepped back. He made no attempt to escape and let law officials know about his bomb. In the end he couldn’t make himself the psychopathic character the Joker was in the movies. He had enough humanity to see the horror of his acts and stop. In fact it seems most folks that head down this false path reach a point where they realize the evil and either give up or kill themselves. That last piece of humanity that remains in them stops them and makes them fully aware of the horrible mistake they made,
This wanna-be Joker in Colorado now claims he doesn’t remember what happened, I don’t buy it, he knows exactly what he did and now that he sees how wrong his choices are he can’t face it, so he pretends and deflects. He is a sad man that snapped, then looked for a way to gain back power and to get the acknowledgement he felt he deserved. He believed something he saw in a movie could be real for him and ruined his and countless other’s lives as a result. He knows it and it will gut him. If he doesn’t eventually take his own life I will be surprised.
No one is ever going to be the Joker, you won’t find an amazing and rewarding life of crime and evil deeds while always evading capture or when captured affecting amazing escapes. You won’t have a gang of super criminals that follow your every psychotic action. You won’t control a city or strike fear into the hearts of decent citizens. If you are lucky someone will take you out before you do something horrible and if not, you’ll die in prison or by your own hand. There is no glory or redemption down that path. That is all the fiction we are shown to us by the folks that make money to entertain. If you want to escape into a fiction try something else less destructive, I’d suggest pretend you are a wizard from Hogwarts. That actually could find a community!
If you are finding yourself in a dark place, seek a better outcome. Get noticed for the right thing. Go volunteer for something good. Keep seeking a community, there is one there for you somewhere. Find a positive outlet for your demons in art, music, theater or whatever you can find that doesn’t hurt someone else. Rescue a puppy, adopt a mile of highway, serve some meals at a homeless shelter and look around. A lot of folks today have less attachment and community than they’d like, others struggle in their own way, its part of the human condition and you are not alone. If Hitler had just been a little more committed to his art his life would have had a much better outcome and maybe we wouldn’t have had WWII (I’d still hope we would have invented this or this but maybe not this!)
Since most of us aren’t contemplating a new career as a psychopathic super villain let’s all try and make sure we aren’t acting in a manner that pushes someone else to that choice. Try and be kinder and more thoughtful. Make contact more often, even if its just a smile and a hello. Civility and respect. Not that hard to incorporate into our own lives. Don’t buy into what the media and entertainment outlets try and make the norm. Despite my fondness of Gordon Ramsey as a chef his interactions with folks on TV is not the model for anyone’s life. Maybe if you are drill instructor in the Marines you need to beat people down to harden them up but I’m pretty sure we don’t make the world any better when we act poorly to our friends, family, coworkers, peers and all the other people we interact with in our lives. Don’t assume being a rude, cruel asshat is a good thing to be or something to aspire to. Consider the consequences to the other guy before you act. Look for better outcomes for everyone in the choices you make.
This has been a little bit of a ramble, sorry for that but I find it worth exploring what has brought us to a world where senseless acts like the recent ones in Colorado seem more the norm than the exception.