The United States military is warning American troops to be on the lookout for mass shooters at showings of the upcoming Todd Phillips movie Joker. The controversy over the violent content in the movie has been making headlines recently, as many people have addressed their concerns it may inspire copycat killers. In particular, there are concerns that a certain sub-culture of extremist men known as "incels" will carry out acts of violence at theatrical showings of the new movie, a fear which stems from past shootings like the Aurora theater massacre in 2012. With the word stemming from the term "involuntary celibate," the Army's report characterizes incels as idolizing the Joker as a man who "fights back against bullies."
Officially, the U.S. Army has since confirmed that it has issued a warning to all service members about potential shootings based on a recommendation from the FBI, but they are not aware of any specific plots or suspects. The widely-distributed warning was said to be done purely as a precautionary measure. The warning featured tips for how to survive a mass shooting, such as using the "run, hide, fight" strategy. "Run if you can," the notice reads. "If you're stuck, hide (also known as 'sheltering in place'), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can." An Army spokesman would later state that the warning was issued because they want their troops "to be prepared and diligent on personal safety both inside the workplace and out."
After this initial warning, senior officials in the U.S. Army's criminal investigation division issued another memo based on some new information. Texas law enforcement had been in touch with the military after discovering "disturbing and very specific chatter" on the dark web about targeting an unknown movie theater during the movie's release. While anything written on the internet can certainly be a dark prank intended to provoke a response, the situation has definitely left many potential filmgoers unwilling to see Joker in theaters due to these concerns.
Much of this controversy is inspired by the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado in 2012. During a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, a young man dressed in tactical clothing entered the theater and began firing at the crowd with multiple firearms. When the madness had finally ended, 12 people were dead and 70 more were injured. Immediately following the crime, the shooter had been reported in the press to be dressed up as the Joker and even referring to himself as the character during the killing spree. However, it was later revealed his hair had been dyed red rather than green, and Aurora chief of police Daniel Oates said there was no evidence he had ever called himself the Joker.
As of now, the plan is for Joker to hit theaters on Oct. 4. The movie won't be showing at the Aurora theater where the 2012 massacre took place, but its release has otherwise been on track to have an impressive opening. We'll see how much this controversy and concern will have an effect on opening weekend ticket sales. This news comes to us from Gizmodo.