Friday, August 3, 2012

Aurora shooting

No posts in the past two weeks as I had to work all the days leading up to last Friday so that I could leave for a one week vacation.  As a result, I am only now getting around to post about the horrible shooting which occurred at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado on July 20 that left 12 people killed and dozens injured.

While a more timely post would have been more appropriate, perhaps it is good to have had the benefit of some time between the event and this blog.  All too often, horrendous acts as this massacre produce knee jerk reactions that do less to delve into the meaning/reason behind the action, while only adding to the confusion surrounding the issues related to the event.

So, here are some observations.

The alleged shooter seems to have systematically planned his killing spree.  From the series of ammunition deliveries in the months preceding the attack, to the protective gear he was wearing during the attack, to the booby-trapping of his apartment, it seems abundantly clear that his plan was to inflict as much damage as possible, and survive.  By all accounts, he was a very smart individual but had been experiencing some difficulties in the recent past.  Regardless of motive, his carnage is a result of a premeditated plan with killing and injuring as the intended result.

In some of the discussions I had with various people while on my vacation, there was some agreement that, despite the objections of the Ted Nugents of the world, a good guy with a gun would not have stopped the shooting.  A well armed lunatic in a dark theatre is not the example "everyone should have a gun" advocates can use to promote their belief.

But, there was also agreement that this horrible tragedy would not result in any significant new gun control laws.  Recent surveys indicate that Americans positive opinion of gun ownership has steadily increased in the last 30 years.  And, of course, since the Republican party, which has been in lock step with the NRA on suppressing any new gun laws is now even more influenced by a tea party movement which is incredibly distrustful of President Obama, combined with a Democratic party that does not have the inclination or inspiration to push for more stringent gun laws, there will be no blow back, politically speaking, to this event.

So where do we stand?  Gun and ammunition sales are booming since the election of Obama.  Some of this can be attributed to the mere fact that a Democrat occupies the White House, some as a bigoted reaction to the president's race, some due to propaganda that emanates from the NRA about Obama's desire to ban all gun sales, some of it due to a groundswell perspective that we should all be more responsible for ourselves, and that includes self protection.  Fear seems to on the rise.  But does that perceived fear match reality? 

The link below will present a chart of the murder rate in the US for the last 60 years.  Surprisingly, the murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants, as well as all of the more serious crimes such as aggravated assault and rape, has been dropping since the mid 90's.  The United States is actually a safer place to live than 15 years ago yet I doubt that most Americans know or believe this fact.

But, we still have a ways to go.

This next link details the homicide rate for about 125 countries.  We are in the top third which, in this case, is not a positive but a negative; 80 countries out of 125 have lower homicide rates that America.  While America is one of the most desirable places on earth to live, it is still less safe than two thirds of the remaining world's countries.

I have no qualms about stating my opinion that we need stricter gun and ammunition laws.  Perhaps if a law existed that limits the purchasing of rounds of ammo, the Colorado shooter would have had to plan for longer to execute his heinous action, but it certainly would not have stopped him.  So, while I won't use this tragedy as a reason to advocate the limit of how many guns and how much ammunition someone can buy, it doesn't mean I won't reiterate my belief that we need reasonable gun laws that balance the rights of Americans to obtain a gun permit while reducing the prevalence of weapons that are only designed to kill and have nothing to do with hunters or sportsmen. 

Perhaps some day, a generation of Americans will strike this balance.  Perhaps they will spurn the Hollywood image that the good guy can always identify the bad guy, and can always shoot straight to take him out. 

Or perhaps come to the conclusion that ultimately, it is the culture of violence that we need to address.  Without controlling the belief that violence is a legitimate path to solve personal or societal problems, the debate on more or less gun laws, or more or less guns, is missing the point. 


  1. The culture of violence combined with the acceptance of degeneracy and the intentional blurring of the lines between right and wrong are definately the problem in society today. Add to that the fear mongering by the media as they constantly search for a villian to create fear with, be it the so called "terrorists" or whatever. Then there's the constant struggle to survive amidst a climate of a rising cost of living contrasted against the steady lowering of wages, and that's only for those who still have a job. We can't forget the growing numbers of unemployed, even though the government seems to hace forgotten.
    America makes up 5% of the world's population yet consumes 67% of all anti-depressants manufactured worldwide. If that doesn't produce a clear picture that the U.S. is one SICK place, I dont know what will.

  2. JP,

    Always good to hear from you, although while I agree that America takes too many prescription and recreational drugs (especially alcohol), I still maintain and will always believe in the good within each person. We shouldn't judge the whole of a nation, over 300 million strong, based on the crimes and actions of a very small minority, even when that minority is splashed all across our various entertainment and information sources.

  3. What do you define as good? While the vast majority of Americans are not evil in the way that a Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dalmer, Hitler or Stalin are evil, they are not truly good as a collective whole and here are some examples:

    Are people who not only did NOTHING when Robert McNamara confessed that the Gulf of Tonkin incident (which started the Vietnam war that killed 55,000 soldiers and millions of Vietnamese) was a LIE, but allowed the same lies of WMD to start the current illegal wars in Iraq & Afghanistan good people?

    Are good people those who hear about U.S. troops being poisoned by their own goverment with radioactive fallout (Trinity Experiments), LSD tests of the 1960s, Agent Orange exposure, Gulf War Syndrome, etc., etc., and not only do nothing but pretend it never happened as they chant moronic slogans & mantras like "Support the Troops" or "USA!! USA!!! USA!!"? Are those good people??
    Are good people those who act like it's good when the corrupt politicians they vote for side with the corporations and send our manufacturing base overseas forever. I say forever because never again will an American make $17 an hour to make a computer board that a 10 year old asian kid locked in a sweat shop will do for $2 a day. And would good people not mind buying products that they know were made under literal slave conditions while swearing up and down that the U.S. abolished slavery when in reality all it did was OUTSOURCE it like it outsources everything else.
    Would good people ignore the fact that Obama signed into effect NDAA 2012 with the Indefinate Detention clause that literally allows the U.S. government to disappear a citizen under the undefined definition of being a "terrorist"? Americans, as a whole, ignore this fact even though it's been ALL OVER the news.
    Would good people wish death to Julian Assange the way a lot of Americans have done for Assange's having done what any real journalist with integrity would do? Assange hides from America the way political prisoners tried to flee the former Soviet Union and the way Jews had to hide from Nazi Germany, and yet most Americans are not sickened to the core of their souls like they should be IF THEY TRULY WERE GOOD PEOPLE. Instead they're vacant minded, soulless louts who deserve the horrific things that'll be coming down the pike for them, things they brought upon themselves.

  4. J.P.,

    Wow, how do you really feel?

    All your points are well taken and I would not pretend to argue that, on the face of it, you are not justified in throwing us all under the bus.

    I have often said in this blog that if Americans knew enough about their democracy as they do sports or reality TV, or spent as much time researching the votes of those they elected as they do online following Snookie or the Kardashians, we would elect a better cross section of representatives.

    Lets agree then to define us as "not good" and "not evil" but with the capacity to do great good and great evil. And unfortunately, the tendency to ride the train of life in the back with no concern to its direction or even path.

  5. As a result, I am only now getting around to post about the horrible shooting which occurred at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado on July 20 that left 12 people killed and dozens injured.shootingtargets7