As a rule, when I think of security in movie theaters, I think of those electronic sweeps to make sure no one is copying all or part of a movie with a camera or smart phone. In fact, when I went to a preview screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," there were several pre-screening warnings about turning off electronic devices.
Now, of course, given the horrible news out of Colorado, security may be something very different. Bag searches. Customers in costumes being told to take them off. And people staying away from the film out of concern that something could happen to them. It makes me sick to think there could be other lunatics are out there, and they may be a row or two away in a movie theater, a place we often go to escape the real world's miseries.
As unsettling as the shootings are, they are even more so because they are an act of terror (however motivated) during the showing of a movie that, along with its two predecessors, is about the nature of terror and the motives for it. No doubt someone will blame the messenger, trying to see in the movie some kind of encouragement for these acts. (Similarly, and as coldly, there has already been speculation about how the shootings will affect "TDKR's" box-office returns.) And then there are people like this idiot.
"The Dark Knight Rises" includes a much-promoted attack at a football game, an example of striking at people when they are in a celebratory mood; the shootings are more of the same, only they are not something we watch, they are something with real destruction and blood and death. But this kind of madness doesn't need a movie for inspiration -- and the Dark Knight trilogy is about hope as much as it is about horror. Now it may get a different reading, one more rooted in life than in movie dreams.