Did Movie Violence Play a Role in “The Dark Knight Rises” Shooting?

Did Movie Violence Play a Role in “The Dark Knight Rises” Shooting? Picture

It is the worst mass shooting in United States history, with at last count 59 individuals injured and 12 people killed, at the July 20th midnight premier in Aurora, CO. As the news broke, it reignited the argument that violence in movies led to this catastrophe. In fact, James Holmes, the man currently in custody for the shootings, told police he was The Joker and had dyed his hair to resemble that of the Batman villain. So did the violence portrayed by The Joker influence Holmes to enter a crowded movie theater and shoot people at random? I honestly think the answer is yes; the violence may have influenced him and added to his already skewed reality.

Dr. Emanuel Tanay, a psychiatrist, says this about the shooter, "Many present-day movies are really a promotion of violence, though some people are more vulnerable than others — especially those who have a mental illness. This is bizarre psychotic behavior. That much is clear. What's the underlying delusion or system? That we may or may not find out." I find the entire incident to be a real tragedy and my heart goes out to those affected by the shooting.

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with celebrity parenting. As I thought about my blog, my thoughts continued to return to the tragedy that happened. In the odd way that my brain works, I then began to think about the actors, and how they feel about the incident and even more so, how they will answer their childs' questions if they ask about the shooting. There is no argument that the “Dark Knight” series of the Batman movies are violent, often featuring characters that terrorize citizens with their mayhem.

Christian Bale is the actor who plays Batman in “The Dark Knight Rises” and has an eight-year-old daughter, Emmaline. He has said this about violence before: “You can't help but find that violence is endlessly fascinating–and I mean true violence, not action-movie violence, just because it is used as the answer to so many problems. We're all taught as kids not to be violent, but you can't help but also see that violence is what works very often. Bullies thrive.”

So I guess my question is how does a parent who has portrayed violence, himself, in movies answer a child’s questions about why what he does is ok? I realize violence in movies is pretend, but I don’t allow my children to pretend to shoot their siblings or act out violence – so, why would it be ok for me to do it? Does making millions on a film make it ok? Or is it "Do as I say, not as I do"?

What do you think about violence in movies and its affect on our children?


What do you think?

Did Movie Violence Play a Role in “The Dark Knight Rises” Shooting?

Heather Montgomery is a freelance writer with a background in Elementary Education and an almost embarrassing need to read celebrity gossip. As a work-at-home mom to three children, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She was married in 2003 and currently resides in Florida. ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Jen says:

    I would not take my small child to a midnight showing of any movie, let alone Batman. With that said, I believe it was this individual’s sickness that caused this tragedy, not the movie itself.

  2. Lanlynh2012 says:

    I think parents who take their young children to movies that are violent are nuts, especially if they take them at an age where things are easily impressed upon them. I think parents should stick to G and PG rated flicks with kids and save the PG13 for the older kids and the R rated films for adults only. Little kids don’t understand that violence in movies is fake, they don’t understand that watching it on tv doesn’t mean it’s right on the playground.

  3. Holly says:

    I don’t think it’s appropriate to take young children to these movies, no question. Do I think that the Batman movies’ violence or any movie’s violence caused this? Absolutely not. The shooter is a monster, that’s it. And I’m tired of people even tossing out the term mentally disturbed, insane, whatever. I’m a liberal who is all for the death penalty when it applies…and this killer deserves to be fried. To even suggest mental instability is wrong, because if that were proven, he’d just go into an institution for the criminally insane. I have loved horror movies since adolescence and I’m not violent. My husband have watched a huge number of them, along with with action movies, comic book movies, etc.., and no, we don’t go around killing anyone. You teach your children right from wrong, you pay attention to what they watch, what they play, and be the best parent you can be, and you look for signs….like does my child seem to have similar tendencies as kids who grow up to be serial killers. The shooter in CO., and no, I will not use his name, because I would never give any give him that much acknowledgement, either always had problems, or woke up and said, I need more attention. He’s an evil monster and a loser, that’s all, movies, video games, rap music had nothing to do with it. And we will keep our two year old away from grown up things until it’s appropriate, because that’s part of being a parent.

  4. Amy says:

    There were parents taking 6 year olds to see Batman. This is totally inappropriate for children. That is why they have movie ratings. I don’t care if they beg and plead to go. Parents are the ones who are supposed to set limits and boundaries with their children. You may think you have taught them the difference between real and imagined, but young children are concrete thinkers. They have a very hard time separating the two. Don’t kid yourself. I say find an alternative. My son, for instance, does not watch the Spiderman movies or recent cartoons. He loves Spiderman, so we watch the 1960’s version. It is a lot less violent and way more creative in how they defeat the bad guy anyway.

  5. If it was because of movie violence it was because that man had a mental sickness on top of that you can’t blame movie violence alone.

  6. Tamara says:

    I understand what you are saying very much. As a mother of two boys I never aloud them to have toy guns, knives, or swords. I did not want them to pretend to hurt people not even pointing their little fingers like a gun, That was a NO NO.It is always so hard to know what your child is going to do or not do when they get older. As long as you parent your child to the best of your ability, and you know that you have taught him or her right from wrong then, you have done everything you can. I know that I would not blame a parent for what their child has done once they move out of their home.The way James Holmes sounds to me is that his mother and father raised him really good, he was a great student in school with honor roll grades. Yes, he was shy and kept to himself but that does not mean that all shy kids and kids that keep to them selves is going to torn out to be killers. But to the main question, Does the movie play a role in the violence? I want to say no cause I teach my kids that that is all fake, it is just a movie,it is not real.

  7. DayLo says:

    Batman does not kill (at least not the "real" one). He hates guns because his parents were killed by one. The villains are a bit violent, but the heroes… I don’t think so. Not any more so than someone protecting themselves & others. You can’t blame the movies, the guy lost touch with reality.

  8. i don’t think movie violence played a role in the shooting. we are constantly exposed to violence daily, so it would be a cop-out to blame movies. the guy was crazy and evil- plain and simple.

  9. Foxin3ss says:

    The whole thought of the massacre is very disturbing.


EverydayFamily.com Week-by-Week Newsletter

Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year! Receive weekly updates on your pregnancy or new baby’s development as well as Free Stuff, Special Offers, Product Samples, Coupons, Checklists and Tools you can use today, and more from EverydayFamily! Plus all new members are entered to win FREE diapers for a year!

Due Date or Baby's Birth Date

By clicking the "Join Now" button you are agreeing to the terms of use and privacy policy.

Send this to a friend