I've spent a good chunk of the weekend mulling, pondering and thinking about this post, which I knew immediately would be about the terrible events that played out in Aurora, Colorado this past weekend.
This is NOT the piece I originally wrote.
And while I might have found the original blog entry personally cathartic, it did nothing to help anyone other than myself.
I also had help in seeing this from a couple of sources who are clearly much smarter men than myself, the first being Ty Templeton and this strip. The other being Howard Mackie, who is my own personal Yoda, in all the best ways possible.
So as the enormity of the situation sank in, there were inevitable questions. Many might never be answered. Many might never be able to be answered. And with the confusion that accompanies such a senseless act, people inevitable look to lay blame, to find reason, or just force some sense into something completely devoid of sense.
I won't do that.
Instead, I'll tell you why we need Batman.
But before I continue, I want to be clear, Batman is a symbol. An ideal. He represents to our world, the same kind of thing Perseus represented to the Ancient Greeks, Gilgamesh represented to the Sumarians or Arthur represented to the English. A symbol of heroism and sacrifice. A hope that from something terrible, or unfair, or seemingly insurmountable, we can rise and be more, better, greater than we might fear we actually are.
But great heroes need greater villains, monsters, challenges and quests. Unfortunately we live in a world that has REAL monsters. Maybe not to the scale of titans or insane clowns, but evil nonetheless. And while we do have REAL heroes, the men and women who choose to make a career running TOWARDS danger when any and every sane person is running away, even the least of us can be inspired to be more.
Not everyone has it within them to put on a uniform and go face the dangers of our world, but we can all be inspired by heroism, be that real or mythical. And with that inspiration strive to, and become better people for it.
We have real heroes, and the point of this post is not to diminsh or devalue what they do, but rather to point out that we all have it in us to rise and be more, and it is often the heroism of the fictional or mythical that pushes us to strive for ideals beyond what might be achieveable in the short term. But ideals we should reach for regardless.
The more people who take up that mantle, who rise to the challenge of being better, the greater our world becomes. That's why we need Batman.