From the News

Violence I can’t even fathom

There are some things I can’t bear to think too much about.

Violence like we’ve seen this week in Colorado is one of them.

My tolerance for violence and cruelty is very low, even in movies and entertainment.

It unnerves me and shatters my sense of security.

I think I have a fragile psyche.

I hated the movie “Forrest Gump” because I felt like everybody was making fun of poor Forrest for 142-long minutes.

I am the girl in the theater that plugs her ears when the volume goes up during violent scenes, — the one that gasps and covers my eyes until the violence is over.

I love movies, but I need to know what I’m getting myself into when I enter a movie theater.

I don’t want to be surprised by a movie that threatens my sense of security or upsets what I believe should be the peaceful world order. I like happy endings.

Even when I saw Spider-Man a couple of weeks ago, I plugged my ears during some of the loud, violent scenes because they felt like an attack on my senses.

I can usually watch movies like Spider-Man because I’m pretty sure a giant lizard isn’t going to jump of the screen and terrorize me.

Adventure movies are gripping and I enjoy them when the adventure is the story, and not the violence.

I felt excited to see “The Dark Night Rises,” especially after Annie and her friends talked about how much they loved it, and wanted to see it a second time.

But now that some severely troubled young man walked into a movie theater in Colorado dressed in a bulletproof vest and a gas mask and began randomly firing a gun, I wonder whether I’ll enter the theater, look around, and imagine the rampage in the Aurora, Colorado multiplex?

Will I consider an exit strategy and look down at the floor and wonder how fast I could hide under my seat?

As I’ve listened to some of the victims of this shooting, I’ve wondered what I would do if a gun were inches from my face in a dark theater.

In today’s Washington Post, Ann Hornaday, a Post film critic, wrote, “We go to the movies to dream.  When the audience filed into Theater 9 at the Century 16 multiplex …they were there to experience that state of consciousness that only movies can provide.  Somewhere between waking life, and hypnotic trance, the act of watching a movie is one of voluntary surrender, of letting go of our daily psychological defenses and allowing our imaginations to be colonized by the enveloping sounds and images on the screen.”

Hornaday captured why I like movies.

I like that moment when I’m fully immersed in a story.

But, if I’m careful about surrendering my psychological defenses, particularly to a movie, a play or a book.

I don’t want to be filled with darkness, violence, and depravity while immersed in it.

Hornaday said, “When the gunman embarked on his rampage…he not only invaded a safe physical space…he invaded a deeply personal psychic space.”

I value my deeply personal psychic and spiritual space, and want to protect it, but it is a constant challenge, made even more challenging by these senseless acts of violence that are so abhorrent I can barely fathom them.

And I can’t help wondering how much violence that gunman has seen and experienced in his life – maybe not in his physical world but in his psychic space.

He clearly was overtaken by it, altering his psyche to such a degree that he could even contemplate something this outrageous, shocking and reprehensible.

Like I said, there are some things I can’t bear to think too much about.

This is one of them.

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