DENVER — My 12-year-old nephew started talking about “The Dark Knight Rises” a year ago.

He and his friends were pumped to see the movie, just like those at the midnight showing at the Century 16 Movie Theater in Aurora.

They’re typical tween boys — they love it if a parent takes them to play paintball or to battle it out with Airsoft guns. They play StarCraft, Minecraft and other video games, though their parents don’t allow the super-violent ones.

Try to talk to them — okay, lecture them — about the dangers of guns, even an Airsoft, and they roll their eyes. It makes one wonder if they discern the difference between fantasy and reality, even when they claim they do.

My nephew wouldn’t talk about it much to me, but I’m pretty sure he understands that difference after the Friday shootings in Aurora that took 12 lives and left 58 people injured.

I called my sister-in-law to tell her about the shootings before 7 o’clock Friday morning. She was shaken. The boys had tickets to a Friday morning show at a different Denver-area theater. Maybe it wasn’t a great idea to go.

Around mid-morning, I realized I needed a car charger for my phone and called my sister-in-law, who said she’d bring one over to the media scrum outside the shooter’s apartment. She said they’d decided not to go to the movie — and that her younger son had many questions about what happened in Aurora. 

She said he mentioned a Tweet he’d seen that said something like, “there are villains in this world but no superheroes.”

My nephew came along to deliver the charger. He and his mom watched as police and firefighters circled the apartment, some in a cherry picker placing emergency workers on a roof to get a better look inside. 

As his mom pointed out in a later e-mail, there are superheroes. “All of the people who responded to help those in need, and to help the rest of us understand . . . are the ‘collective superhero’ we need.”

The boys got refunds for their Friday movie tickets.

But my nephew still plans to see “The Dark Knight Rises.”

“We'll go next week,” he told me Friday evening.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping he saw this tweet from Professor Snape: “It’s important to recognize there are evils in this world. But there is also good, and good always triumphs over evil in the end.” 

Sandra Fish teaches journalism at the University of Colorado and has reported on politics in Iowa, Florida and Colorado. Follow her on Twitter at @fishnette