Friday, July 20, 2012

Curmudgeon wants more outrage over Colorado shooting spree

We all awoke this morning to the horrific news that some idiot opened fire in Aurora, Colorado at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, the latest Batman movie.

The death toll appears to be 12 now, down from 14 in the reports I heard earlier, but several of the 50 or so that were wounded appear to have critical wounds; the death toll may yet rise.

Youngest Son was at a midnight showing of the The Dark Knight in suburban Chicago. Maybe that's what makes me so cranky.

But I took a look at the President's press release about the event this morning:
Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.
And then I took a look at Governor Romney's press release:
“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
"Shocked and saddened." "Deeply saddened." "Thoughts and prayers." "We are praying for the families."

These are certainly appropriate sentiments.

But they are not enough.

Good God, what kind of a country do we live in where kids can't go out to a stupid comic book movie without running the risk of getting shot up?

I'm not talking about the sick, twisted bastard that brought an AK-47, a shotgun, a pistol and some sort of gas dispersal device into a movie theater. They caught that mope (he apparently left his apartment booby-trapped, too).

I'm talking about the rest of us. Doesn't anyone pay attention to anything?

Hello? Didn't anybody think twice when someone walks into a public place with all that firepower? (I'm guessing it was concealed, somehow. So he's walking in with a steamer trunk or a giant duffle. I can't bring a can of pop from my house into the theater -- it'll be confiscated immediately, because they want me to spend money on concessions -- you mean no one questioned whatever this guy brought into the building?)

For that matter, how does someone sink so low that they'll try and reinvent themselves as a Batman super-villain by shooting up a movie show without someone around him noticing? The President wants to 'ensure the safety of our people.' Hey, I know! Let's pass a law against shooting people in theaters! I know all the usual suspects will be on the evening news tonight braying about how this terrible event shows the need for stricter gun controls. But gun control is a joke -- a dangerous, potentially lethal joke. Chicago has had a virtual ban on guns for decades -- and we have a body count every weekend that routinely beats anything in Kabul or Baghdad, where babies have pistols in their bassinets.

Every time some lunatic shoots up a public place, the neighbors are interviewed and they all say the same things: "He was a quiet young man." "Kept to himself." "We had no idea." What they're really saying is that they never looked at the dope, much less looked out for him.

The first and best protector of your safety is you. I'm not talking about the idiots who complain to airline flight crews that a couple of fellow passengers have swarthy complexions and are speaking a funny language. But when someone is genuinely acting odd, what's the harm in going to the manager or the policeman on the corner and asking if he or she notices anything strange? If I were writing the candidates' press releases, I mention that. I'd also point out that -- while we don't know yet about the shooter's mental state and we can't prejudge the facts -- horrific events like this remind us of the critical failures of our mental health system and the need to get people help before we get people hurt.


Anonymous said...

I just read at CNN that he came in through an exit door so it makes me think he most likely snuck (broke) into the theater. I agree with your way of thinking. It's makes us want to just keep our kids, grandkids and all family members safely tucked in at home at all hours. We are now at the point where we even question if it's safe sending our kids to school, or letting them ride the school bus. It's not safe going to the bowling alleys or to a movie theater. And where you live I don't even think it's safe walking down the street in daylight. Where I live it isn't either.

Where are the answers. A few days ago we read about a guy in his 70s who most likely saved a bunch of people in that internet cafe by taking out his concealed weapon and stopping two armed guys on a killing spree. Thank goodness he was there and armed. For every argument against people having a right to bare arms there are just as many reason for it to be totally legal. If we could just figure out a way to know who was psycho and who was not. We don't have that option though until they do something like this. This country is terrible on identifying our mentally ill and getting them treatment.

It's all so sad and terrible.

Rob said...

But maybe it is appropriate for this to spark a rational debate on gun limits.

People crow all day long that if guns are outlawed, people like this will just buy them on the black market. Really? I don't buy that. I question whether people like this nutjob would have the wherewithal to navigate back-alley gun deals on the wrong side of town.

I suspect that much of the problem can be linked with just how easily guns can be legally acquired.

Kacey said...

I don't know what to think any more. We just went out to dinner with some of our family members, because our youngest daughter and her husband are heading back to Germany to be dorm parents at a missionary kids' academy. This DD is 52 and went to the movie last night with her 25 year old son. I understand the guy wanting to go....he grew up with Batman being a kid hero, but DD is a bit long in the tooth to go to midnight movies about Dark Knights. Another (very bright) grandson went with them. He is 28 and argued with me that this movie is not meant for kids, but for adults. Do adults place this sort of importantance on super heroes? Or, should children be seeing characters getting some sort of balls placed in their mouths and getting their faces blown off? Since all of our grands are really involved with video games where people get killed off and then are alive again the next time the game is played, are our young people able to discern the value of life or what is just make-believe? Our children and grands looked at us as though we had suddenly become senile and stupid for thinking that the movie industry has been heading in the wrong direction for a long time. One of our grandsons has just recently come home after six years of real life spy work after being taught Arabic by the Air Force. I know he is exceptionally bright, but is still living in a make believe world of Video Games and stuff like Batman. What have we done to our way of life in this country and to the value system of our families? I just don't know.

Anonymous said...

Rob, I think this guy was determined to kill a whole bunch of people. I have no idea if he would have obtained weapons from the black market, or not, but I do know it would not have stopped his killing spree. Obviously the guy is also expert at making bombs! He probably would have just set off a bomb in that movie theater making it impossible for those who were actually able to get out to then do so. A killer is a killer. The biggest mass murder in American history happened on Sept 11th. 2001. 2,997 people were murdered and as far as I know not one of them died by gunshot.

Anonymous said...

Rob, I also meant to say to you that I do think they could make it illegal for anyone other than military or police to obtain things like AK-47 ???...See I'm not even sure of the name of them but the assault rifles. The one's where you can get off 50 or 100 shots per minute. No normal citizen needs that to protect themselves or their family.

The Curmudgeon said...

It was apparently not an AK-47, as initially reported; it was something called an AR-15, equipped with a 100-round magazine (over 16 times the shots in the proverbial '6 shooter').

I'm baffled by this article, by Richard Florida, on National It includes a chart which appears to show Illinois as far lower than the national average in firearms injuries.

And, of course, the author cites a perceived correlation between low rates of firearms injury with strict gun control laws -- and Illinois is on the strict side and (as mentioned) Chicago's outright ban was just thrown out by the Supreme Court a year or two ago.

But this assertion does not comport with experience and observation. Gun violence is out of control in many places in allegedly-gun-free Chicago.

Thus, while I'm no fan of firearms myself, I know laws against firearm ownership don't seriously curtail firearm possession.

Also, the shooter in the Aurora theater case was an allegedly brilliant (at least brilliant at one time) science student, a college graduate and PhD candidate. If semi-literate gang bangers in Chicago can find easy access to any weapon made in an area where there has long been a supposedly total ban, why should we think that restrictions elsewhere would slow down a determined kid like the Aurora shooter?

bekahjane said...

As always, concur.

bekahjane said...

By the way, I don't blog much anymore (ever?), but I usually am on FB and/or Twitter.

Anonymous said...

Curmy, here is an idea for a blog post if you would one day be so kind to do one about it. Tell us how it is that someone can murder 12 people but be charged with 24 counts of murder. This isn't because I don't think he deserves anything they throw at him but I have lived a long time and I never heard of this before. I know there is a difference in the wording there between the two counts but how is it you kill someone twice? Also shouldn't it now be 13/26 counts since that woman lost her baby?