Let me say at this point that I am a member of a group called PINK PISTOLS, which is a GLBT shooting club that is also a member of the NRA. I take my 2nd Amendment rights very seriously; the one recourse that all people of the United States have access to combat tyranny is the right to keep and bear arms. However, an armed citizenry and a RESPONSIBLE, well-educated citizenry are two separate things. Most people aren’t psychologically capable of shooting to wound or kill even in defense of their lives.
I know a lot of people that think that gun control laws in this country are too draconian and far too strict. They believe and often say that they should have the right to have any sort of gun that they want to have, up to and including automatic weapons with ammunition drums, to defend themselves from . . . whatever. A lot of the ill-informed also use those automatic weapons to hunt creatures like deer and so on. I won’t debate the merits of using an automatic weapon on an herbivore, since I bow-hunt. The fact remains that using an automatic weapon for anything other than its’ designed purpose is pretty stupid.
Check out what an automatic weapon is designed to do: Throw multiple rounds at a fast rate of speed at a designated target that is moving quickly. Well, that makes it OK to use for hunting, right? Wrong. An automatic weapon is designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to disable, wound or kill a very dangerous predator, another human being. That’s its’ only purpose. That is the rationale behind the armed services having such weapons. Even if a person armed with an automatic weapon doesn’t kill or wound the person or people that she/he is shooting at, just the sound of the weapon’s firing is enough to scare that person into taking cover.
Most people that have and use automatic weapons haven’t taken a gun safety course, they don’t know how to effectively use such a weapon, and, in most cases, they think that using the weapon means treating it like a garden hose and spraying the bullets around. Thus, we have the horrific massacres in places like Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Chechnya – or Aurora, Colorado.
It’s easy to squall and bawl about our 2nd Amendment rights – but what about our 2nd Amendment RESPONSIBILITIES? We have the right to keep and bear arms, and very few checks on who is allowed to buy and keep them. The only check required in most states is that licensed gun dealers must keep up-to-date records of their gun sales, including the name, address and occupation of the person to whom they sell the weapon and request a background check on anyone buying a gun. The NRA shrieked to high heaven when the Brady Bill requiring a 3 day waiting period and a background check became law – and that was just for HANDGUNS. Professor Paul Campos of the University of Colorado Law School had this to say about the tragedy (http://www.salon.com/topic/gun_control/page/2/): “Today, murder in Aurora, CO. is an interesting topic.”
Yup, I guess that you could characterize this as an “interesting topic.” Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas had this to say about the tragedy (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/louie-gohmert-aurora-shootings_n_1689099.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular): “Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that the shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater hours earlier were a result of "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs" and questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter.”
What a chuckle-headed fool. If anybody else had had a gun, all that probably would have happened would have been that far MORE people would have gotten hurt and killed. Just because a person has the Constitutionally-protected RIGHT to keep and bear arms, DOES NOT MEAN that that person has the right to open fire in response to a perceived or real attack. That’s just like yelling “FIRE” in a crowded enclosure. More people are hurt and killed trying to get OUT of the enclosure.
And what about the shooter? What about HIS reasons for doing what he did?
I expect that he’s going to try and plead insanity, and what he did was certainly insane. By any definition of insanity, he was unbalanced to even contemplate what he eventually wound up doing. However, he planned what he did with immaculate precision. Apparently, from the early reports, he had been planning to do something like this ever since he dropped out of medical school in May. And, in my view at least, that makes him sane. I also expect that, when all is said and done, his reason is going to be something along the lines of “I felt like it”, or “because I could.”
My heart goes out to the parents and families of those who died this day, and to those whose loved ones are still alive. I wish that there was something that I could do to mitigate their pain and sorrow. There isn’t – and there never will be.