(NOTE: I wrote the bulk of this post at 9:00 am, then decided not to post it. But then the New York Post decided to be douchebags and do exactly as I predict below. So I’ve decided to post it after all.)

So, this is why we can’t have nice things.

I’m sorry. That sounds like I’m making light of the tragedy in Aurora. And I don’t mean to. As I write this, it’s been roughly half an hour since I woke up and saw the news. I’m still in a wee bit of shock.

Offering condolences to those injured or killed — and to the loved ones of those injured or killed — is the easiest, most reflexive response, of course, and I do. But I’m not the sort to publicly expound on those sentiments — I believe such things should be private.

So why am I blogging about this? Well, I suppose because the second thing that occurred to me after hearing the news was this: Any moment now (hell, maybe it’s already begun), some cadre will rise up to condemn not the shooter, but the movie. Or, rather, media in general and the violence depicted therein. Given the circumstances, it could come from the right or the left or both.

I’m confident of this. These days it’s as reliable as sunrise and as American as apple pie.

They will blame “the media.” They will blame “Hollywood.” They will blame “our culture of death.” (I guarantee you that phrase will be used.)

I am weary of these arguments, of these endless, predictable back-and-forths every time there is a national tragedy. Tired of people so willfully clueless that they attack symptoms, not diseases.

Repeat after me: Anyone so brain-damaged as to walk into a movie theater with smoke grenades and a shotgun never should have been able to get his hands on smoke grenades and a shotgun in the first place.

I grew up in a gun culture. My stepfather was a hunter. Rifles hung in a gun rack over the living room sofa. Never gave it much thought. Didn’t need to — no one in the house was insane. So, I’m not anti-gun.

I’m anti-death.

This asshole never should have been able to get his hands on those weapons. It should have been impossible. I’m not anti-gun, but I am for gun control, which I define for our purposes today as “Don’t let crazy motherfuckers have guns.”

Watch — in the next few days (maybe in the next few hours), we’ll start to hear about his previous erratic behavior. Maybe there will be a history of mental issues or medication. There will be something. I know it. You know it. We’ve been to this dance before and we’ve seen the moves. In retrospect, there’s always been a sign.

In retrospect.

That’s the problem, of course.

We need to be better at seeing the problems in advance, not after the bodies hit the floor.

Here is a fact: The movie did not make anyone go into a movie theater and kill people. This guy is very obviously brain-broken, and he would have snapped at some point regardless of whether or not Batman was fighting Bane at the local cinema.

How do we know it has nothing to do with the movie? Let’s try something: Imagine that you have decided to put on body armor, grab some smoke grenades and a shotgun and go kill people. Why have you decided to do this?

You’ve probably answered anything from “My life is in danger” to “My city is under attack” to “Aliens have landed” to “Someone threatened my kids.”

All fine, rational reasons for Rambo-ing up.

But you would never in a million years even dream of loading up with all that armor and weaponry because of a movie.

Or a TV show.

Or a video game.

That’s because you’re not insane. You’re not crazy.

This guy was. And you can’t predict which way crazy will jump, only that it will. No one could look at this guy and say, “Yeah, he’s nuts. And as soon as that new Batman movie comes out, he’s gonna go wild.”

But I bet somewhere along the line, someone could have said, “Yeah, he’s nuts. He shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun.”

Someone probably did.

People are going to try to use this to their own political ends. They are going to try to use it to frighten you, to change you, to get you to think the way they do.

If anyone tries to use this tragedy to advance their cause, I suggest hurling rotten tomatoes at maximum velocity.

If anyone uses this tragedy to try to change something that matters…maybe we should listen.

I’ll be seeing The Dark Knight Rises later today with a friend.



  1. Mr. Lyga, I was not familiar with your blog until our mutual friend Jimmy Gownley alerted me to your comments today. Thank you for saying so well exactly what is on my mind and in my heart, but what I lacked the wherewithal to properly express.

  2. Oh, thank you. Thank you so much for writing this. All day long I’ve been seeing the signs of exactly the kind of coverage you mention start to build up on the margins of this awful event and it makes me SO MAD. I could feel this ball of anger and frustration at people’s willful blindness and stupidity and their attempts to use such human suffering for their own ends just expanding under my chest until it was hard to breathe. I wanted to kick something or rant at someone. But reading this made that ball of hateful feelings deflate inside me. You reminded me that I’m not alone in feeling this way and that many people do get it. We need to look at this for what it was; an example of what happens when mental illness isn’t caught in time, and is allowed to arm itself. Blaming the media for this man’s insanity is like blaming a nuclear meltdown on the sandwiches served in the power station cafeteria that day.

  3. I have great admiration for your clarity.

  4. I don’t see anyone blaming the media or the movie for this incident. Yeah, the guy was crazy, but crazy people get guns legally EVERY DAY in this country. When you go to the gun shop, do they say,” Where is the proof that you aren’t crazy??? ” That would be a NO. America better get real about GUN CONTROL.. There is no reason that anyone should be able to buy an assault weapon. It is a weapon of mass destruction! It’s not for hunting or protection. Gun laws are OUTDATED, made before the weapons that are available today. Maybe this guy had some signs of mental illness, but many young people do not have a “pychological history”., besides, it’s not available to a gun shop/ How many more of these massacres have to happen before Americans stop this?

  5. Mr. Lyga, you are all kinds of awesome. That is all.

Leave a Comment