I went to see The Dark Knight Rises last night with Peter and a friend. As we took our seats in the dimly-lit theatre, I had a moment of fear. What if? What if someone here decides to emulate the horrific crime in Aurora, Colorado? Where would I hide? What would I do? Maybe I shouldn’t have come.
I told myself that, logically, I would not be shot in a movie theatre that night. This is a small town, a safe neighbourhood where I don’t worry if I forget to lock my doors, where I leave my bike unattended, where strangers greet each other as they pass in the street. Many people in the movie theatre knew each other.
Yet, logically, every person in the theatre in Aurora should have been safe too. The tragedy – and the fear – comes from that very fact. Watching a movie is not a dangerous act. I take a greater risk of my life when I get into a car or jaywalk. The fear I felt came from the fact that I was doing something that should have been safe. And it was. I watched the movie, I enjoyed it, we came home.
I was in grade eight, a high school student, when the Columbine High shooting occurred in 1999. I went to school that day and the next and never thought to be afraid. Even after bomb threats occurred at my own school. I was in my fourth year of university when the Virginia Tech shooting occurred. I went back to school without fear. I’ve always been able to watch tragedies occur and yet never really worry about them happening to me. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. Sometimes I’ve told myself that I live in Canada where we have stricter gun laws and things like that don’t happen. But that isn’t true either. There have been high school shootings here and there have been university shootings. One of the worst shootings in Vancouver took place a few blocks from where I used to live.
Perhaps, as I get older and I understand the world more, I know that there is more to fear around me. I’ve seen more death, both personally and in the world around me. I know that I won’t live forever. I know that we live in a dangerous world. To a certain extent, I understand that I could die any day, anywhere. I don’t think about that very often but it is, of course, true. I could be hit by a car. I could be diagnosed with a fatal disease. I could be shot while going about my normal life. We live in a sinful world where horrible things happen and I can’t say that I always understand why.
I suppose the bottom line is that I don’t want to live a life ruled by fear. I don’t want my actions to be dictated by madmen.Yes, we live in a sinful and dangerous world but I believe in a mighty God. In the words of that old Sunday School song, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” I am in His hands, whether I live or die. I don’t understand the nature of evil or why one person would wish to take the lives of strangers watching a movie. I hope I never understand that. I do believe that this life is temporary and only a shadow compared to what will come.
If you choose not to watch The Dark Knight Rises I respect that choice too and I understand why. It’s not my intention to be controversial or disrespectful in this post but merely to share my thoughts and my fears and how I try to cope with those fears.