I speak, of course, about the recent shootings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado that left 12 dead and dozens wounded, some seriously. First off, let me express my most sincere condolences to those affected by this act of madness and evil. Secondly, let me add this to the crescendo of discussion following this event...
You heard me right. Just be quiet for a moment everyone. This is not the time yet for discussion about gun control, whether you're pro or against it. It always seems that its a rush to promote or defend gun control immediately after something like this happens. That's not the time in my book, too much emotion taking the reigns over common sense or logic in times like this. We need to take a moment and reflect on both sides and ask "what is the real tragedy here?". If your answer is that guns caused this, you're wrong. The tragedy here is that there are 12 families missing loved ones right now, that's all. Everything else is a detail of the tragedy, not the tragedy itself. It would of been a tragedy if the shooter had instead decided to ram a truck full of explosives and gasoline into the theater rather than how he did indeed accomplish his act. The fact that he used firearms to accomplish this cowardly deed is just another fact to the tragedy, and not the most vital issue as some would have us believe.
There is too much hype in the media as it is to get "the story" or flash some menial detail of the even as a "new bulletin" to justify us as a whole to add to the drama on either side. I head today some big news, the shooter had a batman movie poster and mask in his apartment. You got that right, a movie poster....that's what passes as critical information in the news these days. We have become so accustomed to being force fed tidbits of information electronically from the media 24/7 that they now fight like dogs over table scraps for whatever information is available before jamming it into our lives, whether that info is relevant, or even correct. In the hours after the event ABC tried to make a connection between Tea Party activists and the shooter by a name on a FaceBook page but it turned out to be irrelevant. Here locally, some news stations grabbed onto the info provided by the father of one of the victims from Ohio that said he was shot by something "1/2" wide and 2" long"...hmmm...don't seem to see anything about a M2 or Barrett being used. Its a shame, you need to be licensed to practice medicine, drive a car, act as an attorney or accountant, even carry a CCW...but anyone can just claim to be a journalist and propagate misinformation and fan the flames of frenzy and its fine and dandy. Hell, by the definition what I do here is considered journalism, although I would not dare claim what I compose here is worth of that title.
I don't think the news story was 12 hours old and the subject of gun control was brought up already in the media with many high profile anti-gun advocate heads on TV showcasing their rhetoric about how all of this could have been avoided by not having guns in society. As expected, the pro-2A side rallied and fired back in fashion about how the gun is a tool and its the person that creates the tragedy, not the gun. While I may prescribe to the second theory more than the first, neither is appropriate in the mass distribution less than 72 hours after the tragedy and before the first body had yet to be laid to rest. Hell, the media was more concerned about what type of guns he used ("AK style" reported, it was an AR I believe) before it was concerned about the victims. I think it shows a deep disrespect to the families of the victims and even our society in general to take a tragedy of this magnitude and convert it to an argument point, pro or anti-gun, this soon after the event. I got on a local radio station Saturday morning (ironically, while driving to Camp Perry to help a friend buy a surplus M1 rifle) and got the opportunity to try and get this point across. Unfortunately, I did not come across with it as eloquently as I had hoped. As much as I wished I could speak as well in public as the show's host, Dirk Thompson, or others on the radio. I don't seem able to get the core logic chipset in tune with the audible release valve and what comes out of my mouth and what is in my head don't always coincide at the right time. Hence the reason some of my videos lean towards sucktastic. My part starts at around 20:45 and goes on for a few minutes..(sorry about the Oakley commercial, the do make some good stuff though)
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I bring up again that both the left and right sides of the discussion are as much to blame for the hype around the event and looking to tie it into their view. Yes, I will say that the anti-gun folks are much more likely to fire the first shot in the exchange (OK, that came out much more ironically than I thought - going to keep it in there). I am especially troubled that when this battle for ideological supremacy begins, many on both sides offer up info or data that simply is not correct or is misleading. Of course data is often and most likely always manipulated to support a position during an argument, but sometimes I just have to scratch my head at some of the nonsense propagated.
The anti-gun crowd immediately seized on this tragedy (I have read in many places since Saturday the phrase "never waste a tragedy" - that sickens me) as an example of how the proliferation of guns in society was a cause of this tragedy. There was even a local spokesperson for an Ohio anti-gun group that was shocked that a 24 year old could get access to an assault rifle. One of the news outlets had a reporter go in an buy a AR in a shop (of course they passed NICS) to show how easy it was to buy one. Of course they fail to mention the thousands of transactions that are denied every year due to the system and mindful shopkeepers (that is unless of course the Justice Department and BATFE is allowing the transactions to occur for some sting operation...like that has ever happened...or backfired).
The pro-gun crowd immediately come back with that if there had been a CCW friendly policy in effect someone at the theater could have stopped the attack. Dare I say that if someone had actually been carrying and stopped this guy that the cry would go out for more expanded CCW laws nationwide (don't get angry with me here, playing Devil's advocate). Yet, armed with a pistol against a rifle, in a dark room with the noise of gun shots fired indoors and flickering light, after the attacker had exploded some type of tear gas and explosive devices, people scurrying for cover....would you be able to identify and engage the target? The shooter chose an location where his targets would be penned in closely by each other, in the dark and (thanks to the theater's policy) most likely unable to defend themselves. That is a lot of information to assimilate and process in the heat of the moment. I know a lot of you are saying yes, but how many of you (outside of you "operators" ) have actually trained in low light and those same conditions against a target that is not right in front of you and marked but also has the ability to fire back? Not many I would supposed. So I state here that I don't know if a CCW would of done much to impact this event. I would say though, that at this time you would indeed find out whether at your core you are a sheepdog (again, Ram in my case) or sheep when you find a wolf in your midst.
I would also say that why I can state a CCW enabled individual may not have been able to make a difference in the outcome, the total lack of one being there did surely ensure the one that ensued.
I don't have all the info in this story yet, much of it is still yet to be discovered. But from what I have gathered it was an act of planned madness. Don't try and understand madness for if you do find yourself trying so hard to do so that it makes sense, than you yourself have then gone insane. In truth, a gun did not cause this incident and a gun probably would not of made a major difference in the lives of the first few people killed in the massacre. What would of made the difference is the people involved. If the shooter had not decided to commit this heinous act in the first place we would not be talking now. If the first responders had not dedicated their lives to that type of service to their communities the cost in lives may have been much greater.
Don Henley got it right 30 years ago with his song "Dirty Laundry" about how news outlets sensationalize and tabloidize events. But why?
Its because of us.
They produce what we, the consumer, want to hear, read and watch. The Mad Ogre spoke of the violence inherent in the human species a scant 48 hours prior to the tragedy. Its a good read and shows why we may have such a blood lust for stories such as these. We are seen as a more violent nation than others by many in the world. Yet, we do not possess the history of mass genocide and murder by our government to the degree that some of European "betters' do (with all due regard and respect to the callous treatment native Americans received at the hands of our government, before my time but I recognize the injustice). Others in the world (and lately the UN) are aghast at the sheer number of firearms that are in the possession of "mere" citizens in this country, yet millions and millions of those privately owned weapons did no harm nor posed no threat yesterday.
As a nation, we have always existed with firearms and the firearm has been a crucial tool in the history of our country as a means of expanding our borders and protecting our population as well as tool for its intended purposes. More importantly as a nation of gun owners its important to remember why we are. Its our right. The people that forged our Constitution had just fought a war of oppression against a omnipotent government and did not want their descendants to have to do the same. The entire Bill of Rights is to ensure that the individual retains their rights of liberty over a government. It has been said that the 1st Amendment is the most important because it allows free ideas to be expressed, hence the cornerstone of liberty...a free mind leads to a free body. It has been also said that they put the 2nd Amendment there to protect the first, and the rest. A lot of people get hung up on the "well regulated militia" portion of the wording. I, and most other free men (and women) under the clause are part of the recognized, unorganized militia as defined in the USC. So go suck it antis.
I have ranted long enough and strayed off of my intended course. The original point of this post was this, I don't care which side of the gun control argument you are on, shut up. Give the families that grieve at this time the opportunity to process their losses without finding their loved ones being used as political agenda fodder for either point of view. There will be a point in the near future that discussions will surely ensue over this tragedy. For now hold your tongues, posts and witty internet meme for later. We are all Americans, we owe this common respect to them for the time being.