Dennis O’Neil: Batman’s Lethal Force

Dennis O'Neil

Dennis O'Neil was born in 1939, the same year that Batman first appeared in Detective Comics. It was thus perhaps fated that he would be so closely associated with the character, writing and editing the Dark Knight for more than 30 years. He's been an editor at Marvel and DC Comics. In addition to Batman, he's worked on Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Man, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, the Question, The Shadow and more. O'Neil has won every major award in the industry. His prose novels have been New York Times bestsellers. Denny lives in Rockland County with his wife, Marifran.

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5 Responses

  1. Subjective Murderers -Reflections on The Colorblind Killer

    Unfortunately, I no longer have access to my original Facebook account. But around the time of the Tuscon, AZ shooting, I wrote a Facebook essay on the motives behind the shooter, Jared Loughner. In my essay, I discussed the relation between Loughner’s philosophy: his belief that words and language have no meaning, and that therefore human rationality does not exist, and his reasons for shooting and killing a group of people. Apparently, Loughner targeted Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords because several weeks earlier, he had asked her at a meeting, “How can government exist when words have no meaning?” Of course, she could not answer him. He shot and nearly killed her several weeks later.

    As Ayn Rand observes, “Reason is the only means of communication among men, and an objectively perceivable reality is their only common frame of reference; when these are invalidated (i.e., held to be irrelevant) in the field of morality, force becomes men’s only way of dealing with one another.” (_Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal_, 22) Animals cannot reason or communicate: that is why they have fangs and claws in order to deal with each other.

    Philosophical relativists are not as bad as animals, of course; they still believe in logic: as far as it goes. But their premises are ultimately the same. Existentialists, who believe that reality is a subjective experience felt “in the gut”; communists and socialists, who believe that reality differs depending upon one’s race or class, also partake of this ultimately animalistic relativism. And it makes sense that murder (labor camps, executions) have been the inevitable result of these philosophies’ domination of their respective societies.

    And it is significant that this latest murderer, The Color Blind killer, James Holmes, was also animated by this same relativistic philosophy: a belief in the temporal domination of the mind over reality. Footage has surfaced of an 18-year-old Holmes at a San Diego science camp, discussing what he calls “‘temporal illusions'” in the mind, which are, he explains, illusions “that allows you to change the past.” As Holmes goes on, discussing the work of his mentor in this field: “He also studies subjective experience, which is what takes places inside the mind as opposed to the external world. I’ve carried on his work in dealing with subjective experience.”

    Subjective reality vs. Objective reality: this is what allows a terrorist to call his acts of murder a “fight for freedom”; what allows a rapist to call his acts “love”; what allows a thief to call his acts “harmless borrowing.” And now, according to the headline below: it even allows Holmes to say he now “does not remember” why he is in jail. Subjective reality allows anyone to circumvent the truth, the facts, logic, and to say that something never happened, or that one cannot remember what has happened: which, to the relativist, is the same thing.

    ‘Why am I here?’ Batman ‘killer’ James Holmes asks

    • mike weber says:

      Ho hum.
      Unfortunately, in a society consisting of nominally human beings, “reality” is what society determines it to be.
      Saint Ayn had her own little corner of “reality” that was sort of congruent to the Real World.

      • >>”Unfortunately, in a society consisting of nominally human beings, ‘reality’ is what society determines it to be.”

        Reality has no exceptions. Just because a society of headhunters in the South Seas says that human sacrifice is okay, does not make it objectively so.

        I have yet to encounter a person who is able to disagree with or debate the ideas of Rand, without making disparaging jokes or nicknames for her.

        • mike weber says:

          Her ideas are not wrth debate.
          Aside from that, if you’re calling him the “colorblind killer” because he has red-dyed hair and he said he was the Joker – guess what?
          Reality says you’re wrong, because he never said it.
          I guess anyone willing to believe that Randism is a viable way of life* is also willing to believe any ridiculous thing that seems to support his view of “reality”.
          *That is, who believes it would be if a whole society practised it, rather than the occasional person who brags about how :”rational” he is while living off the fruits of a society that knows better.

        • mike weber says:

          Responding to your specific point:
          “Just because a society of headhunters in the South Seas says that human sacrifice is okay, does not make it objectively so.”
          And what makes it “objectively” not so? Because YOU think it’s a bad idea?
          “There are nine and sixty ways of constructing tribal lays,
          “And every single one of them is right!”