if this "joker's" actions bring about the discussion of why and how the adventures of a sociopathic vigilante became the fodder of children's entertainment, I believe that's a discussion worth having.
It's murkier than that, though, isn't it?
Batman has been a children's entertainment character for 70 years, but there are now many different versions of Batman.
There are kiddie-friendly animated shows -- most recently, Cartoon Network's "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" -- and kiddie-friendly comics, books and toys. Lawson Jr. is a fan of these. And there is darker, grittier stuff, some of it ridiculously dark and gritty, including movies, comics and video games, little to none of it appropriate for young children.
While I'm always happy to bash DC Comics management, at some point parents must take responsibility for what they expose their children to. Lawson Jr. loves Batman, though I sure as hell won't hand him this month's Grant Morrison comic or let him watch one of the Christopher Nolan films.
I've been surprised, in the news accounts of the Colorado shooting, to learn that so many people brought children to a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," which is rated PG-13 and apparently includes a lot of loud violence. There were infants, toddlers and children under the age of 6 both among the shooting victims and those who barely escaped. It's certainly not the parents' fault some lunatic shot up the theater, but speaking as a parent myself, I don't think young children needed to be there, watching that, at 12:20 a.m.