Posted On Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 09:10:19 AM
|Relatives of the victims conducted a candle-light prayer outside the ill-fated theatre
On Friday, like millions of shocked Americans, I spent a substantial part of the day following details and conversations about the senseless violence that struck 71 people in Aurora, Colorado, who were living their fantasy of being among the first people in the world to watch the last chapter of the Batmantrilogy. I was not just looking for more details about the horrific incident.
And I certainly was not looking for answers — those will come, if the police is able to get much out of the accused killer. Also, I do not believe I was searching for any stronger arguments to support my perspective that guns kill people and laws have to be tightened so that not just anyone can acquire a weapon.
That debate will continue in America, and I now believe there is no solution in sight, as long as we have the powerful gun lobby led by the National Rifle Association, which patronises most Republicans and even some Democratic Party politicians.
Given the fact that the right to keep and bear arms is enshrined in the US constitution, I am more and more convinced that guns will never be outlawed in this country. In browsing the Internet on Friday I was trying to connect with other Americans, holding a virtual vigil in the memory of those who had died or were in critical condition in hospitals.
It was then that I came across a video — interview with an African American mother, who still had not heard from her son who had gone to see the midnight show of The Dark Knight Returns at Aurora’s Century 16 Theater.
The mother looked straight at the camera saying her son should call her or his sister. “He’s a good kid,” she said, “He likes movies.” I do not know if that mother’s son is home yet. But at least 12 lives were wasted on Friday because they were at a wrong place, at the wrong time. One of them was a bright young Texan girl who just last month survived a similar shootout in a mall in Toronto.
After the Toronto incident she wrote: “I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.” I read that this young girl’s mother was in a hysterical state when she called her son to give him the news.
There are many images on the Internet of parents crying. Given the demographics of fans of the Batman franchise and especially Christopher Nolan’s films I would not be surprised if the midnight screening in Aurora was packed with young twenty somethings. At a moment like this it makes no sense to know whether the Aurora parents are Republicans or Democrats, pro or anti guns.
Their loss transcends all political spectrums. But I wonder if the officials of the National Riffle Association look at the images of parents mourning the loss of their children in the gun-related violent act in Aurora and think if the tragedy could have been avoided?
I would like to believe that even the right wing gun lovers would be affected by smiling high school year-book pictures of those who died, and watching videos of mothers and fathers waiting to hear from their children who were at the Batmanscreening.
People justify owning guns for many reasons, but there is something very troubling about a society and its members who do not have faith in its law enforcement and hence find the need to possess guns to protect their lives. And there is no evidence to suggest that more lives are saved because some people act upon their constitution guaranteed right to own weapons.
On the flipside there is a lot of evidence that lives are lost in senseless tragedies caused by a few Americans who are easily able to get guns through legal means. It happens often on university campuses, in schools, workplaces, malls and even movie theatres.
The tragedy in Aurora should not have happened, but will a divided America agree on how to stop it from happening again?
• Living the character
This refers to Aseem Chhabra’s column ‘Kumare - a real guru’, (PM, July 15). I appreciate the way US-based documentary producer Vikram Gandhi has dealt with spirituality.
Whatever I could gather from the author’s description of Gandhi and his acclaimed documentary Kumare, the article gave me an impression that Gandhi has treated the subject with utmost maturity.
We often come across critics who laugh at those who identify themselves as disciples of a particular guru or follow a specific school of thought. Instead Gandhi never made fun of his disciples even in disguise.
That is why he continued to enjoy their backing even after revealing that everything was fictitious. Secondly, while playing the role of a guru, Gandhi may have also discovered a spiritual power within.
- L G Manohar
I think we need filmmakers like Vikram Gandhi in India also. One can find babas and godmen by the dozens fooling innocent people, who are in search of mental peace. It appears Gandhi has an important point to prove in his film. The decision to disguise as a guru was superb. Gandhi should screen his documentary in India also.
- Jatin Rajurkar