There was a graphic floating around on Facebook the day after the horrific theatre shooting in Aurora, Colo., that read as follows: "84,999,989 firearm owners killed no one yesterday." 

To be fair, the observation was true enough. But my response is one firearm owner DID kill 12 and wounded 57 others that terrible day, and that was one too many as far as I'm concerned...

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Of all the responses to the Aurora incident I've encountered on the Internet these past few days, the most idiotic by far has to have been that posted on Yahoo by an individual who signed himself as Robert Mcdougal. While ordinarily I would not name such an individual by name or post that individual's comment in its entirety, in this case I'm making an exception for two reason. First, since he signed his name it's already a matter of public record; and second, I felt it was important to post his full comments in order to put my response in its proper context.

Mr. Mcdougal commented as follows:

"This stupid incident has ruined my year for movies. All I was looking forward to was to see The Dark Knight Rises become the highest grossing of all time. It was supposed to be a groundbreaking phenomenon! It was gonna be so huge! It was going to be an epic! It was going to change the way we look at movies, but by itself, by how good it was. It was gonna make so much money without pointless tacked on converted 3D or CGI Porn, it was going to teach the shallow movie companies that you don't cheap overused gimmicks to make the highest grossing movie of all time. Michael Bay would have repented for the Transformers trilogy and tried to make good movies like Nolan. George Lucas would have come forth and confessed he raped Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Anyone read about 1939 and how big Gone with the Wind was? Anyone read about 1977 and how big Star Wars was that year? How everyone saw it a bunch of times and how everyone was addicted and talked about how great and revolutionary it was? It's more than just a movie! It's pieces of art like The Dark Knight Rises that give us a reason to live. If there was no movies, what would be the point of living? TDKR was supposed to be the biggest thing since the silent era. Movies like that keep us moving forward. The Dark Knight Rises legacy was supposed to be big, a movie everyone could look at and not help but smile at it at it's spectacle."

Okay. Now here is the response to Robert's comments that I posted, also in its entirety:

A couple of things, Robert. First of all, get a freakin' life. It's a movie. They were all just movies. If your life is so pathetic that it was the newest Batman movie that was going to give you a reason to live, you're as messed up in your own way as this murderous putz who decided to turn the local moviehouse into a shooting range. 

Secondly, for all your manic devotion to these Nolan films not everyone shares your opinion regarding their quality. As someone who has been a Batman fan for going on five decades my own feeling is that this has been the worst screen representation of the character. That's just my opinion; I know not everyone will agree with it and I neither expect them to or even want them to. (And who other than yourself EVER said that this film was to be the biggest thing since the silent era? I'm not sure this is the dumbest thing I've ever read, but it's definitely taken its place in the Top 5...) 

Thirdly, I'm getting a little sick of some of you deranged "fanboys" (a term I generally despise but in your case certainly seems appropriate) trash-talking George Lucas for his later "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" films. A lot of us out here in the moviegoing audience liked them quite a bit. If you don't like them, fine. That's your opinion and you're certainly entitled to it. But to say that Lucas "raped" his own series is so stupid as to defy description. 

Finally - and most importantly - show some respect to the victims of this senseless tragedy and their loved ones. You're mad because a movie you wanted to see has been "tainted"? Try dealing with the fact that your son or daughter or brother or parents went out for a night of simple entertainment and paid for it with their lives. Do us all a favor and get yourself some help. As soon as possible. Remember, somebody out there loves you. Don't ask me why.

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While Mr. Mcdougal received a number of negative responses to his original comment, apparently mine was the only one that bothered him enough to issue a rebuttal. He stated that it was director Christopher Nolan who said "Dark Knight Rises" would be "the biggest thing since the silent era." He gave no attribution whatsoever for his claim and I personally don't recall reading this quote anywhere, but since I don't spend my every waking hour reading articles about the latest superhero movie I was willing to give Robert the benefit of the doubt.

That said, I felt compelled to suggest that if Christopher Nolan really did make such a comment, then he was either being facetious or has a much higher opinion of himself than is probably healthy (Personally I suspect the former; Nolan has never struck me as being overly egotistical, based on what little I have read about him over the years). 

Robert also responded to my criticism of his comments regarding George Lucas: "Tons of people hated the prequels. I didn't mind the last Indiana Jones but George Lucas is raping Indiana Jones by taking to long to make another film. Seriously, Harrison is 70!"

While I'm a fan of all six "Star Wars" films, I'm well aware that many fans - for whatever reasons - seem to dislike the three prequel films. That's their right; everyone has different tastes and different opinions and I wouldn't presume to suggest otherwise. Even so, it must be noted for the record that, while "tons of people" may well have hated the SW prequels, it is equally true that tons of people also loved them or else they wouldn't have made as much money as they made during their original theatrical releases and continue to make in DVD and Blu-Ray sales. 

Finally, I felt obligated to make the following inquiry: "Exactly what does Harrison Ford's age have to do with anything? A person can't still be adventuring or exploring at 70 or older? Ever hear of a guy named Jacques Cousteau?"

I guess this one stumped poor Robert. His reply - the Internet equivalent of a mumbled, unintelligible response - voiced some sense of concern that Ford might not live long enough to make a fifth Indy film. I responded: "I'm still not certain how this constitutes a 'rape' of the character." Apparently Robert doesn't, either, because I haven't heard from him since. 

That I allowed this pinhead to draw me into such a dialogue at a time when so many friends and family members are grieving those killed in Aurora bothers me no end. My apologies and condolences to those who lost loved ones in this senseless act.