Evil can’t be undone, but good can outshine it.

July 20, 2012 at 9:22 am (Random Thoughts)

(Lots of ranting, lots of personal opinions here. Deal.)

Like so many of you, I woke up this morning to the news of the shooting at the Aurora movie theater. Sadly, there seem to be more and more of these random acts of mass violence and, like the news/internet/social media can do, I’ve started to become inured to it. I’ll say a small prayer for those affected, for my friends and family, but then try and keep my head down until it passes.

But I can’t do that this time. I have friends in Denver, family very nearby, and, if that weren’t enough, the whole Batman angle. Our best friends were at a midnight showing and, where it may not have been anywhere near the Aurora theater where the shooting took place, just the fact that they were involved in the exact same activity at the exact same time as those killed and injured made it impossible for me to keep my head down on this one.

As much as I, personally, don’t believe that the Batman movie had anything to do with it, I knew that was the spin. It was painfully confirmed when the morning news had a reporter at one of the local theaters, interviewing people who had just left the 3:30 a.m. showing and those in line for the 8:00 a.m. People! Really? When the Toronto food court shooting happened last month, I don’t remember Fox news going to my local malls and asking somebody about to slurp down their Orange Julius or nom an Orange Chicken bowl if they felt safe. When Gabby Giffords was shot, six others killed, nobody ran down to my local Safeway and asked me if that head of lettuce was worth it. I kept thinking if this had happened at a Panera restaurant or a Radio Shack, there wouldn’t be this need to immediately connect where the shooting took place with other locations/franchises nationwide. I wonder if they’re going to find out it was all about some girl, either freshly broken up or never even knew that the shooter liked her. And I also kept wondering what would had happened if me and Montana had been there.

I’m a geek and a nerd. I’ve never hidden that fact and am a proud attendee of multiple comic cons, have wonderfully geeky conversations with my friends about the subtleties of Joss’s writing in The Avengers or should Ryan Reynolds have played the Flash instead, maybe clearing the way for Jeremy Renner to play Green Lantern. And the very sad fact is, if we had seen a man in black, dressed in tactical gear with a riot helmet and carrying weapons, entering a theater on the opening night of Batman, I don’t know that we would have thought very much about it. Cons, and other comic events, are full of costumed characters, some of them very scary, but within the con or event, you have such a feeling of being safe, of knowing that those weapons were plastic and unable to hurt you unless you tripped over the damn thing. Of knowing that no matter who was dressed as what, you were all believers of the same make-believe universe, and that made you your own little (and sometimes not so little) family. Safe. I say this not to counter my previous thought of tying the movie into the shooting, because I still believe it wasn’t about Batman, but rather to wonder about how I would have reacted. If anybody else shot last night had the same thought about a costumed man entering a theater.

I also hate that the news is spinning this with the same jocks-looking-down-on-the-nerds angle. In an ABC/Yahoo report, they say: “Holmes was wearing a bullet-proof vest and riot helmet and carrying a  gas mask…the (third installment of the) Batman triology opened  to packed auditoriums around the country at midnight showings on Friday  morning, and features a villain named Bane who wears a bulletproof vest  and gas mask.”

Fucking idiots.

Let me repeat and augment: The news report was written, proofed and approved by a series of FUCKING IDIOTS!!!

Bane does not wear a gas mask. It’s a delivery system for a drug that makes him into the almost unstoppable menace he becomes. It’s like saying a hat is the same as headphones because you wear them both on your head. And this is how Batman is spun into the movie that spawned a killer, regardless that, as my friend Cynthia says, sometimes it’s just a lone nut with a gun who wants to hurt others. Why else would the man put such an elaborate booby trap on his door? Because he wanted to, even after however his night ended, hurt more people.

(Amended to add this spectacularly stupid clip from a yahoo article):

Jesus mother-fucking Christ on a pogo stick… The length of this stupidity knows no bounds.

Okay, NOW rant over. Let me get to the good stuff.

First on Facebook, then  on Twitter, I saw Chuck Wendig’s post on this, which, to me, can be boiled down into the beautifully spoken (and again, close to home) philosophy of “Evil can’t be undone, but good can outshine it.” He urges us all to “balance out the horrors of a day like this by willfully doing good for others. So, hug your kids, give to a charity, rescue a puppy, something, anything.”

So we did. Montana and I made a donation to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. Where normally our contributions go to non-kill animal shelters and other rescue groups, this time, as I mentioned above, was different. I am a writer. My husband is a writer. Our friends, both close and online, are writers, creators, artists, and for those people who put blood, sweat and tears into this movie, only to have it all overshadowed and stained by some asshat with a gun, deserve more. They deserve better. That’s why today’s donation.

And I don’t plan to stop there. As I mentioned on my Facebook post, I plan to spark a few more lights today. I have an elderly relative who I don’t write as often as I should, but today she’s going to get a card from me. At the grocery store, my place in line is going to somebody else. And, another donation might end up going to the Colorado House Rabbit Society, because what better good is there than fuzzy cuddlebuns?

So I’m challenging all of you–do something good today. Pick up the cost of somebody’s coffee behind you in line. Send somebody a nice email. Let somebody merge ahead of you on the commute home. The list is vast and easily achievable. And let me tell you from personal experience, what we did today is so small, but I felt like I took a stand. I felt like I did something. I didn’t let the asshat win.


  1. coffeegirl88 said,

    The sad thing is the media will never get this right. They’re first thought was terrorism and unless you use the broadest definition of the term (I really need to find a friend’s quote on this) it’s not. They want to blame something, anything outside our borders. The media couldn’t blame it on extremism, even thought they tried, because the shooter is a Phd student. So it’s easy to jump to blaming geek culture. I mean you see how ComicCon is covered every year. It can never just be one (or two) nuts who want to make others hurt. I saw a former FBI agent trash Trekkies on live tv with this, like somehow that explains everything.

    Oh and really hon, you think articles are read and approved these days. Really? Awww, aren’t you cute. I don’t even think most media outlets even know what spellcheck is let alone editorial approval. My community college newspaper had higher standards than most national outets do these days. I wanted to be journalist now I just weep for what’s become of the profession.

    On the positive side, when I’m out and about over the next couple days I’ll be more aware of being nice and friendly. It’s small, but it’s something.

  2. montana (curtbooks) said,

    I’m really proud of *everything* you say in this blog. I’m posting it to my facebook page.

  3. marilynbrant said,

    Beautifully written, my friend. Thanks for this post and for the sentiments behind it. xo

    • Pamela Cayne said,

      Thanks, Marilyn. It’s going to be a while before I can filter through all of this. Glad you’re doing well. 🙂

  4. Heather Snow said,

    There are so many reasons I like you 🙂

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