Neither Christian Bale nor Dark Knight can save the day
RICHARD ROEP E R email@example.com July 22, 2012 1:22PM
CHRISTIAN BALE as Batman in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ action thriller “THE DARK KNIGHT RISES,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. TM & © DC Comics.
Updated: August 24, 2012 6:11AM
Sometimes the best and most heartfelt intentions can create a truly bad idea.
To wit, the social media campaign urging actor Christian Bale to come to Colorado, don his Dark Knight costume and visit injured children in the hospital.
A young woman named Emily Sanchez posted the proposal on Facebook, and it soon went viral.
“All those kids in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds at the Batman massacre could use a visit from their hero,” wrote Sanchez. “I propose we [as in all of Facebook] should make enough noise asking Christian Bale to visit these kids in the hospital dressed in the real Batman outfit. They need to know Heroes can be real too, not just the bad guys.
“Dear Christian Bale, please visit the injured children from the movie massacre as Batman. You have the power to be a Hero right now, not a movie Hero, a real life flesh-and-blood one.”
The Twitter hashtag #BaleOutAurora contains similar pleas. Mainstream media have picked up on the story.
A sampling of Twitter comments:
“What a great idea. Christian Bale, are you listening?”
“It would be awesome if Christian Bale visited the victims of the Aurora shooting. I hope he does it.”
“Be a hero, Christian! These victims are fighting for survival and [you are] the only one that can save them.”
Even as Twitter hyperbole, that is such the wrong message. And while in the grand scheme the ethical plight of an actor is such a small thing, it still seems terribly unfair to put Bale in this position.
Bale has not commented on the campaign to get him to visit Colorado. Through his publicist, he released this statement: “Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims, but my heart goes out to them.”
If this remains a social and mainstream media campaign, Bale and his team can probably figure out a way to gracefully and respectfully decline. But what if some of the parents of the children or some of the shooting victims themselves call for a visit from the Caped Crusader? How does he say no to that?
One hopes it doesn’t come to that, because it seems a raspy-voiced, foreboding Dark Knight visiting children in a hospital has the potential to go very wrong.
The Dark Knight returns?
Let’s go back to Ms. Sanchez’s lovely but misguided original post. How will a visit from the Batman character make Bale a hero? This isn’t some cuddly and beloved iconic character from a kids’ TV show. The Batman by design is supposed to be in the shadows, striking fear in the hearts of his enemies. Young people who have been physically wounded and traumatized in a way we can’t imagine might not be in the best place to welcome the Dark Knight into their hospital room. What’s Bale supposed to say? He’s not a doctor or a therapist or a child psychologist. He’s an actor who played a violent fighting machine. (Nobody under 12 should even be watching the intense and complex “Dark Knight” movies anyway.)
As for heroes in this horrific story: they abound.
Victims who are old enough to understand should eventually be told of the stories of real-life heroes such as Crystal Lake sailor John Larimer, 27, who reportedly saved his girlfriend’s life in the theater that night. Julia Vojtsek, 20, of Algonquin, told WBBM’s Steve Miller that Larimer “protected my whole body with his, and saved me.” Larimer died a hero.
Matthew McQuinn, 27, dove on top of his girlfriend Samantha Yowler when the shooting began. Samantha survived. Matthew did not. Alex Teves and Jonathan Blunk (who served five years in the U.S. Navy) also died protecting their girlfriends. Their first instincts when shots rang out was to get between the gunman and their loved ones. No doubt we will continue to hear more stories about ordinary, just-like-us, everyday people that entered a movie theater to share in the wonderful communal experience of watching an exciting movie and wound up risking and in some cases losing their lives in an effort to save and protect others.
And that is the very definition of a hero.