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He Could Have Been Batman

I was reading various reports about James Holmes, who shot up a movie theater last week that was playing the new Batman movie. When Holmes was arrested, he allegedly told the police that he was the Joker. But when I was reading about him, I was saddened that he wasn’t Batman.

Holmes spent four months acquiring weapons, body armor, and material used to booby-trap his apartment. He was a PhD student and by all accounts an extremely intelligent person. Obviously something happened to him four months ago that sent him down this path; something that pushed him out of the routines of everyday life.

But instead of being the hero that people need, Holmes dressed as Batman, took on the role of the Joker and started killing people indiscriminately. While I don’t know what his financial situation was, he certainly had the money to purchase all that body armor, weapons, and material for booby-traps and yet he lived in an apartment building. It is unlikely that he was a millionaire and he certainly wasn’t a playboy. Today, you can buy body armor on the internet; so why hasn’t anyone taken on the role of Batman? Surely there is enough tragedy in the world to push someone to forgo the routines of everyday life in order to become something “more than a man,” as they say in Batman Begins.

What really fascinates me with the whole thing is that the world needs a Batman and it could have been Holmes. I really want to know why he chose to be the Joker. I want to know why someone with such promise decided to become the villain in the story instead of the hero.

I of course feel sympathy for all those who have lost a loved one because of James Holmes and I of course feel sympathy for those hurt in the attack. But there are plenty of other people providing that sympathy as well. I don’t see a lot of sympathy toward Holmes and with good reason. But I can’t stop feeling that sympathy anyway. I feel sorry for him. He could have been Batman but he didn’t. He became something else entirely. He became “that wacko who shoot up a movie theater.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/mgafm Ashley F. Miller

    Batman is just as problematic. Phoenix Jones in Seattle bills himself as the hero Seattle needs which translates to him pepper spraying people who’ve done nothing, harassing people leaving bars for “public drunkenness”, and breaking little kids’ fingers. Not healthy or helpful.

    • dangeroustalk

      I don’t recall any comics in which Batman or any other superheroes pepper-spayed innocent people. Besides, Jones was a play hero. He didn’t live outside the normal routine of life. Everyone knew his “secret identity.” I’m not talking about play heroes who walk the streets in broad daylight in spandex with the hopes of stopping a pickpocket. Holmes had body armor and real weapons. If he used Batman as his guide instead of the Joker, he could have really doe some good.