NEWS BLOG: The guns in Aurora

BY MARY ANNA TOWLER

What would compel a 24-year-old to walk into a movie theater armed with four guns and open fire? The suspect in that horror this morning is a college graduate student, so presumably he knew exactly what devastation he would create.

And devastation it was: 12 dead so far, dozens more wounded.

Reading and listening to the accounts from Aurora, Colorado, you just feel numb.

I’m seeing conflicting reports about what kind of guns the suspect had, but clearly we can reduce gun violence of all kinds by reducing gun availability. Just as clearly: unless guns are eradicated throughout the world, someone intent on owning a gun specifically to kill people will find a way to get a gun.

We can toss out plenty of questions as the investigation in Aurora proceeds. Did no one, for instance, see the suspect – wearing a gas mask and carrying four guns – entering this theater?

What happened in the life of this obviously troubled young man that resulted in this carnage? Were signs of trouble ignored?

And what about the increasing amount of violence in pop culture? Is it enough to say that most people are not affected by the movies they see, the games they play? Is the result an acceptance of the impact that fictitious violence has on a troubled mind?

“Mass killers are determined, deliberate and dead-set on murder,” James Alan Fox, a Northeastern University criminology professor, wrote on CNN.com earlier today. “They plan methodically to execute their victims, finding the means no matter what laws or other impediments the state attempts to place in their way. To them, the will to kill cannot be denied.”

Right. But it’s hard to argue that we shouldn’t do all we can to reduce access to the means of mass murder.

“Mass murder,” Fox writes “is regrettably one of the painful consequences of the freedoms we enjoy.”

Regrettably.

Is that statement one of simple realism? Or too quick an acceptance of a problem we can do something about?

3 comments

  1. Andreas – You logically based your first question, “Why is there never any of these NRA-card carrying citizens around when you need them?” on the fact that proponents of liberal (amusing use of the word) gun laws always argue that it actually reduces crime if more citizens have guns because they could then defend themselves and others against criminals.

    Interestingly enough, although Colorado is one of many states with an ill-conceived “Vigilante” or “Make My Day” law on the books which permits a person to “defend” himself or others with deadly force if necessary and also allows citizens to carry a gun without a permit while issuing permits for those who wish to carry a concealed weapon, no Second Amendment Warrior was there to protect the innocents by plugging today’s shooter. Guess it’s time to follow the example of Kennesaw, Georgia where gun ownership is mandatory. After all, what could be more conducive to creating a safer America than ensuring that a fire fight breaks out every time some nut or crook pulls a gun?

    I can see the NRA slogan now…”Return America to Greatness by Returning Fire !”.

  2. Ted Christopher · · Reply

    Mary Anna Towler continue the larger focus here (beyond just guns). What happened at the showing of what kind of movie? The night before – pre-tragedy – I remember reading an article about the online threats received at movie review sites. I had never heard of this before. Some closures followed. Anyway, apparently some critics were critical of the same movie and what kind of response did that criticism draw (apparently in significant numbers)?

    Imagine if you will if the current Batman trilogy had played out somewhat differently.  They had decided to base it on the TV show’s depiction of Batman.  “Biff!”, “Pow!”, and the like.  Perhaps Will Ferrel could have made an appearance.

    The incredibly dark and violent content of some movies should be game for criticism.

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