by Mark A. Thompson
First of all, I feel guilty and ashamed because I have assimilated into the culture of modern entertainment that romanticizes, if not glorifies, violence. Violence is everywhere.
Warner Bros. removal of gun scenes from the movie’s trailers is an admission to the media’s power to suggest violence. As a kid, Batman was my favorite superhero, but the comics and the TV show were not nearly as violent as today’s portrayal.
Violence sells, and ultimately pervades all media: television, movies and video games. And here I am taking my 10 year-old son to witness it on the big screen. In fact, during the movie there was one scene that was so brutal, I was shaken watching it.
But the other reason I feel guilty and ashamed is because in spite of my fierce opposition to the stereotyping of African Americans and all people of color, it crossed my mind that walking to a movie in Harlem at midnight and walking home after 3 a.m. might not be the safest thing to do.
On my radio show, I have railed against the myth of Black-on-Black violence. And here I was buying into it. My immediate focus on my own community that night, left me unprepared for the news I would here when I arrived home: In Aurora, CO, a man pretending to be Batman’s archenemy, the Joker, committed one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history in the same movie I went to see, at the same time I went to see it.