It is an interesting and curious quirk of human nature that so many of us love to go into a darkened room together and get scared. For some people, it is all in pure and wholesome fun. We need to be scared good every once in a while to add in some spice to our sometimes mundane life. Holidays such as Halloween tend to be exploited by businesses that build haunted houses and scary amusement park rides. In the cinema, we often pay good money to see violence displayed in vivid detail and colors in front us and to hear the eardrum-rattling echoes of destruction around us in surround-sound quality. On the other hand, when we go to the movies to watch superheroes battle supervillains, we go it with the understanding that we, in fact, are quiet safe because we seek an escape from our everyday lives and into, oftentimes, a fictional universe. Unfortunately, that safe divide between the fictional universe on the silver screen and the real word was shattered shortly after midnight on July 20th, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado, the aftermath of shock and horror would not be soon forgotten.
The Dark Knight Rises, the third movie in the trilogy of the newest series of Batman movies was one of the most highly anticipated movies in years, especially that summer, and so there was a tremendous excitement at the packed midnight premiere showing of the movie at a multiplex in the city near Denver, Colorado. About a half hour into the movie, James Holmes, a 24-year-old man in the front row, left the theatre through a side exit door—which he popped open, went to his car and changed into protective clothing, retrieved numerous firearms, and returned to the theatre, killing 12 and wounding 70 (58 from gunfire, 4 from tear gas, 8 from fleeing accidents) others. Details of the attack, and some of the heroic attempts of several of the victims to shield friends and loved ones from the barrage of gunfire, are heartbreaking.
When the safety of a school, a movie theatre, a summer camp, or a government building is destroyed by violence, it raises extremely important questions about the causes of aggression and violence. In spite of that, these notorious incidents get most of the attention from the public and media while every day, there are numerous acts of aggression and violence that should also raise these questions and shed a light on the matter. Every day schoolchildren are bullied, sometimes relentlessly that eventually collapse into unfortunate and oftentimes, tragic endings. Every day, people can and will spread malicious gossip about others. Some parents even go as far as to wounding their children with verbal or physical abuse. Therefore, it is clear that aggression and violence are not limited to a handful of crazed individuals who confuse fiction with reality or whose frustrations with life boil over into explosions of mass violence.
Although there are numerous ways one can define aggression, the definition that best represents the research today is that aggression is...