As more details emerge from the horrific Aurora, Colorado shootings, there is a disturbing trend that is growing in the Internet community, especially among posters in comment threads: blaming parents for bringing infants, toddlers and young children to the movie – a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises – a film that sports violence.
More and more, I’m seeing posts that start something like, “I’m not saying that they deserved it…” before ending with a self-righteous, “WHAT is a 6-year-old doing in a batman movie????”
Armchair quarterbacks with the gift of hindsight can predict almost anything. But the reality is parents parent in different ways – we may not agree with them, but it’s not our job to suddenly sniff disapprovingly at folks who bring an infant or a 6-year old to a movie showing that ends in tragedy – tragedies like these happen everywhere – preschools, kindergartens, playgrounds and movie theaters.
Instead of blaming parents for bringing a baby to a movie theater, why not focus on the real and helpful questions: such as why was it possible for the shooter to buy all that ammunition? What drove him to this kind of madness? What can we do to help lessen the risks of these kinds of tragedies?
As much as we like to claim our society is geared toward victimization, let’s be real – we also do a lot of victim blaming: if a woman is raped, immediately folks start to wonder how was she dressed, what was her demeanor/behavior, was she drunk, did she instigate the rape, etc; if someone is gay-bashed then maybe he brought it on himself by flirting with a straight guy, or by being too “out”; if a black kid is attacked, maybe he was “somewhere he shouldn’t be” or “up to no good.”
In the case of the Aurora shootings, why a parent would bring an infant to a midnight movie, isn’t the right king of question to be asking.