Seven years ago, towards the end of July a young man dressed as the infamous villain, the joker, walked into a Colorado theater named Aurora, to attend what was the new Batman movie at the time, “The Dark Night.”
Not even an hour into the movie, he open fired on the audience ultimately killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. He was arrested within twenty minutes, and told the police that he was the “joker.” The picture of the man with bright orange hair and a sinister smile was everywhere on the news and would be one that I would never forget. Amongst the victims, was a middle-aged man, a teenager and even a six-year-old girl.
The soon to be released movie, “Joker,” is about to hit the theaters and the trailer depicted a lot of violence. Naturally, the film has sparked controversy. Recently, military officials reported that the psychological thriller has prompted a “credible potential for mass shootings,” after discovering threatening social media posts. Certain theaters, including the Aurora theater, have decided not to show the film.
The question is: are movies or other forms of media the reason for shootings? Read any article about a shooter, people wonder if he played video games or what he watched. In fact, after the mass shootings this summer in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, President Trump automatically blamed video games for the violence. It’s a common response or thing to blame when an act of senseless violence happens.
While I do think consistent exposure to violent material, whether it’s in movies or video games leads to desensitization, there is not a sufficient amount of evidence to prove that the showing of a movie like the “Joker” will cause a mass shooting. In 2017 the American Psychological Association released a policy statement saying that there was “scant evidence” for the correlation between violent media and violent crime.
Although, I completely understand why the theater in Colorado is choosing not to show the film, their choice isn’t preventing a shooting. There are a multitude of factors that contribute to why someone decides to commit such a heinous act.