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Is The ‘Joker’ Movie Serving As An Inspiration For Extremists?

On October 4, 2019, Warner Brothers is set to release Joker in The United States. The R-rated movie is a psychological and violent thriller based on the DC COMIC character of the same name. The movie has already sparked safety concerns, and critics claim the movie is a realistic reminder of the angry loners that have often been involved in mass shootings in the US.

Why Is The ‘Joker’ Causing All This Controversy?

A source for concern comes from the Aurora, Colorado shooting incident in 2012. The active shooter at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora dyed his hair orange and identified with the Joker character. The theater in Aurora will not be showing the film.

Texas Law Enforcement and the FBI have reported newly gathered intelligence from alleged extremists on the dark web. These extremists, also known as incels (involuntary celibates), can have violent tendencies. Several self-identified incels, such as the killer in Aurora, have gone on to kill many innocent people.

This information prompted the US Army Criminal Investigation Command in Fort Sills, OK to issue a memo to Army Commanders. It stated: “Commanders need to be aware of this threat for Soldier and family safety and increase situational awareness should they choose to attend the release of this movie.” It should be noted that the movie has already premiered in Italy, Canada, and Germany without incident. And, it will have premiered in a total of 32 countries before the October 4th US release date.

Theaters across the country have announced that they are taking precautionary measures in anticipation of the film. The Alamo Drafthouse, an Austin-based movie theater chain says, “We will have additional security personnel present at each location for opening weekend for the comfort of our staff and guests. Additionally, cosplaying will be allowed, however, guests in costume are always subject to search at the discretion of theater staff at any time, and may be asked to leave for any reason.” Also, Landmark Theaters, a movie theater chain with 56 locations, has already banned cosplay for the film’s entire run.

Law Enforcement is Monitoring For Credible Threats

Los Angeles Police have stated they have not found any credible threats at this time but will be ‘closely monitoring’ the situation. What does this all mean for us? The Institute for Childhood Preparedness has always recommended that everyone stay aware of their surroundings.

When you’re in any type of public setting:

  • Find the exits and identify at least 2 escape routes.

  • Watch for signs of someone carrying a weapon. This includes heavy clothing not appropriate for the weather, bulges under clothing, unnatural gait, hunchback stride, and jacket sag.

  • If you see something, say something. Don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 for any suspicious individuals or behavior.

  • Being vigilant should be part of our daily lives.

  • Always remember: Don’t Be Scared. Be Prepared.

The Institute for Childhood Preparedness has decades of experience in security, law enforcement, and early childhood education. Contact us today for a site safety survey and risk management evaluation, or to host an active shooter preparedness training. All of our trainings are offered in English and Spanish. Find out more:



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