It is inevitable that, as the disorder and shock of the initial story subsides, a wave of secondary speculation will arrive. Without word of a possible motive, little can be said with any certainty; although, even if a motive were to be declared, it would not begin to explain the atrocity that was inflicted last night, let alone do anything to render it more comprehensible to the survivors, or to the relatives of the deceased. More often than not, (and this has been the case with school shootings), motives can be as petty, vague, and demeaning as the actions that they sponsor are large, exact, and incalculable in the grief that is left behind.
In this instance, however, there is a further unpleasant twist. Talk of a masked gunman will have instantly reminded anyone who has watched trailers of “The Dark Knight Rises,” or who saw its predecessor, “The Dark Knight,” of the villains who bestride those two films. The first is masked merely in smeared makeup, the second in a crab-like device, (as I describe it in my review of the film), which obscures half his face. Both men are indiscriminate in their use of violence, and find only pleasure, or the thrill of power, in the taking—whether random or carefully planned—of human lives. And so the thought arises: were the terrible events in Aurora suggested, aided, or in any way inspired by matching events onscreen?
Anthony Lane on the the shooting in Aurora, Colorado at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises”: http://nyr.kr/MO8qkh