DaddyBear has his thoughts on the Aurora, CO mass shooting.
Other than comment at the speed with which Teleprompter Jesus interjected himself into this tragedy, I haven't said much about this shooting. There's still a lot of unknowns, and quite frankly, I doubt we'll ever know exactly how it went down. There are conspiracy theories about there being a second person involved; there are other, different conspiracy theories about this being planned to drum up support for the UN small arms treaty; and, naturally, the blood-dancing of the anti-gun folks.
What happened is horrific, there's no question. 12 dead. More than 50 wounded. Dozens of families whose lives are now forever altered by this event, all because they wanted to see a movie. This is something that happens in other countries, not here in the US, right? The media, naturally, is focusing on the weapons used - an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle, a pump-action shotgun, and a handgun. All run-of-the-mill firearms - I've got a representation of each, as do I would imagine a large number of my readers.
There's been a lot made of the amount of ammunition the shooter ordered - ZOMG! 6,000 ROUNDS! - as well as a 100 round drum magazine (which, as it turns out, jammed partway through the attack). 6,000 rounds may sound like a lot to the media, but to someone like Caleb, that's a week's supply. I'd wager Tam went through close to that this past weekend at the Crimson Trace Three gun shoot. Hell, I'll probably be looking for about that much in advance of the Northeast Bloggershoot.
We may never know the reasons why the shooter chose this course of action. Maybe he was deranged. Maybe it was a pathological need for attention. Maybe he wanted to be famous. I don't know if we'll ever know for certain; although that won't stop the media from speculating. One thing is certain, though: it wasn't the guns, or the gear, or the ammunition. He could have wrought just as much death and destruction - if not more - with a gallon of gasoline and a Zippo lighter.
It's scary to think about that, though. It's frightening to think about how many ways one determined lunatic could kill a large group of people. Plow a car into a crowd. Douse a crowded nightclub with gas and light a match. Fire a rifle into a movie theater. The problem is that we've been sold a faulty bill of goods here. We've been told, with each atrocity, that we need to give up our essential freedoms in the name of safety. From the Assault Weapons Ban to the TSA, we're being asked to forgo the rights we are supposed to enjoy because a tiny subset of the population has exploited our freedoms against us.
There's a quote I used for a sig file many years ago: "There is no safety this side of the grave" - spoken by Jubal Harshaw in "Stranger in a Strange Land." The unsettling part of being a free people is that there may be some that misuse that freedom, often at the expense of others. We have Hobson's Choice: We either give up our freedoms - which is a tenuous gamble at best, as there are plenty of places much less free than the US that have mass killings - or we can accept that, once in a great while, something bad might happen because not all the bad people are in jail.
Some of us carry guns to guard against the second option.
Now, a lot has been made about the movie theater chain being of the persuasion that requires its patrons disarm before entering. I've seen calls for the theater to be liable for the damage caused because patrons weren't allowed to carry arms, and, quite frankly, that's hogwash - every one of those patrons had every right to refuse to patronize that theater or wait until the movie came out on video. While it's possible that a CCW holder or holders might have been able to return fire and either disable or at least distract the shooter, we'll never know - for every Jeanne Assam, there's a Mark Wilson.
We'd all like to think we'd have the courage of either Jeanne or Mark should we find ourselves in a similar situation. Fortunately, the vast majority of us won't be put to that test. It's natural, I think, in the wake of a horrific shooting like the one in Aurora, to think about one's reaction in that situation; we all go to the movies from time to time, and it's scary to think just how vulnerable we are in a dark, crowded movie theater. My Bodyguard 380 isn't going to be as effective as a rifle or a shotgun; it's even less effective if the theater chain has made me choose to leave it home.
One thing I'd really like to see, though, is for the media to stop deifying the shooter in these mass killings. In 24 hours, we now know more about the college background of the young man who shot up the movie theater than we do Barack Obama's tenure at Columbia. His face has been plastered all over the media, and his name is a household word. Why grant these monsters the very thing that they crave more than anything? Deny them the fame - and being infamous is just as effective as famous in today's overexposed world - and doom them to the same crushing anonymity they had before they ruined other people's lives.
There's a lot to be learned from this shooting - even if it's just how much we all have to learn about ourselves...
That is all.