Twelve people are dead. They weren’t criminals or monsters. They weren’t engaging in high-risk activities or doing anything anyone would consider wrong. The victims were simply sitting in a theater, watching a film an overwhelming majority of us want to see, and they got murdered. They got shot by some selfish asshole with a gun and sick thoughts.

I don’t know how I’m supposed to respond to this. More than likely, you don’t know how to respond to this either. Sensible people don’t emotionally guard themselves for this kind of atrocity; so, you just absorb it. You let it sink in, and you feel like shit. You send your sympathies out to the victims’ families, and you wish there was something, anything you could do to make it all better. Unfortunately, there’s not. Nothing I can say or you can say can bring any of these people back or comfort a mother whose kid got fucking shot. It just sucks.

But there is something we can all do to not make it worse. Right now, Warner Brothers is being pressured to pull The Dark Knight Rises from theaters. Talking heads with the very best of intentions are telling the studio, as well as every citizen, to avoid the movie theater out of respect for the victims or out of fear something else will happen. Brokers are dumping shares of theater chain stock on the assumption we’ll all be too scared or sad to seek out places of joy. Well, forget that. Living in fear will only make this tragedy worse.

Twelve people died watching The Dark Knight Rises. They went at midnight because they were so excited about seeing the film they couldn’t wait until morning. They went because going to the movies is one of the few activities every American shares. They went because the movies are a hell of a lot of fun. And you know what? Some maniac isn’t going to take that away from me, and he shouldn’t take it away from you either.

Maybe most of us really will cower in the corner and avoid The Dark Knight Rises. It’s possible, but I choose to believe otherwise. I choose to believe life is too short to let the actions of a single maniac dictate where we’re allowed to have fun. I choose to believe the movies are exactly what we need at a time like this, just as the return of baseball following its six-day absence was what ushered many back to normalcy after 9/11. I choose to believe in the enrichment art can give instead of worrying over the possibility another monster will pervert it. Most of all, I choose to believe each of the victims would want us to go to the movies and have a little fun.

I’m going to see The Dark Knight Rises this weekend. I’m going to close my eyes, think of the victims and then watch the film I’ve been waiting for four years to see. I sincerely hope you’ll be there next to me.

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