Aurora, Colorado Shooting 2012

Anyone Can Be A Hero
Originally Posted: July 27th, 2012
by Rizwan Merchant

As many of you know by now, last week tragedy hit the midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, as a gunman entered a theatre and shot down many movie goers. As of the time of this writing, twelve attendees have been murdered, and close to sixty others have been injured, some severely. Details surrounding the case are still unknown, but the man behind the crime is behind bars, and law enforcement agencies are working tirelessly to investigate the case and bring closure to this senseless crime.

While this occurred half way across the country from where I live to total strangers that I never met, and most likely never will; there is a sense that I lost family in this horrible tragedy. Like millions of fans around the country;, and world, I was at a midnight premier of The Dark Knight Rises. Our theater was packed with so many fans. Some of whom are friends from school, or work, or other people I just happen to know. We had all gathered that night to celebrate the Dark Knight as he came to life on the big screen again. When the clock turned midnight and the movie began to play, I felt the strange sensation that I was a pioneer, exploring a new world, never seen before and with me was countless other likeminded people. Some were lifelong diehard fans of Batman, others were relatively new to it all, and then there were the rest of us in-between who enjoy the caped crusader and were just as excited to be there. When trying to explain to others why I am extremely upset and angry with what happened, all I can say is, I feel like the fan basedoms in general was attacked, and a facet of fandom defiled. Not just the batman or DC Comics fandoms, or super hero fandom in a broad sense, but rather all different fandoms were hit.

Since the shootings occurred, I’ve seen countless people across the internet state on social media that they were reconsidering ever attending a midnight premier event again, some who went as far as saying they will not support The Dark Knight Rises in theaters. These posts were pretty disheartening, but understandable.

However I strongly disagree with the idea of forgoing doing something I love, because of one demented sick man. Yes a terrible and unspeakable crime occurred as the violence came off the big screen and terrorized unsuspecting attendees, and many people were either injured or lost their lives. The reason for why such an act occurred is still a mystery;, but one thing is for sure, our world is forever changed; though; though the world should not change. Theaters are a source of happiness and joy; a chance to escape our own world for a few precious hours and enter someone else’s lives. We are able to join Frodo to Mount Doom, fight alongside the Avengers against Loki’s tyranny, fall in love all over again with a high school sweetheart, see a child come to age and become an adult through hardships, or just sail the seven seas for adventure. We can forget the stresses of work, school, relationships and just reality.

James Holmes has tried to steal that from us, but I would like to remind everyone. Do not let him. Do not let this vile crime steal our home away from home from us. Do not forget that happy joy of gathering at midnight premiers to celebrate our unique love for movies and the characters in them we love. Continue to support those movies and characters. I have seen many things in my life, but I must say one of the most remarkable is witnessing a congregation of fans to celebrate their fandoms. There is a pure love that is felt on convention floors, in a theater, at the comic book stores, and at midnight releases. Losing that ability to express our love for our fandom will let this mad man win.

We may fantasize about the heroes in our animes, movies, and video games;, but to the people behind these heroes see us as the true heroes. I know countless voice actors who tell me how much they marvel at the love and passion they feel when they are amongst their fans. Without a doubt the same is true for all the others who work tirelessly for us to give us a hero to believe in. We can’t give up on them now. Not now, not ever. Let us use the courage shown to us, and carry on this rich legacy. God bless.