Addressing the Aurora Shooting Tragedy
July 20, 2012
My editor has asked me to weigh in on the shooting at the Batman premiere. In case you haven't heard about this, James Holmes walked into a crowded midnight showing of Batman and opened fire, and at least 12 people are dead.
I was asked to give my opinion on this, because my editor predicted, "The left will blame guns, and the right will blame violent movies and video games...crazy trumps it all."
My perspective on this crime will not be popular with some: There's nothing that could have been done to prevent it.
In modern America we always want to second-guess everything, and throw blame around like confetti. We also seem to have this crazy idea that certain circumstances could have been prevented, "if only'¦."—but that is both immature and irrational. Let me repeat—there's nothing that could have been done to prevent it, and the only person to blame is James Holmes.
CNN's Piers Morgan has already called for more gun control. That's great...I'd been worried he was out of ideas on how to lower his ratings even more. And I'm glad to see he's breaking new ground; how often do Brits call for gun control? Morgan works for CNN, a network that has lost most of its audience over the last fifteen years, specifically because of its unrelenting left-wing bias.
James Holmes, the perpetrator, reportedly had no criminal record other than a traffic ticket, and no history of mental illness. There would be no legal way to prevent him from owning a gun except an outright ban on privately owned guns.
Let's, for a second, assume that guns are the problem, and banning them would have prevented this. Gee, where do I start? First, the ban would have had to go into effect decades ago to get all the guns off the street, and guess what—you'll never get all the guns out of the hands of private citizens in this country, not even if you enacted a total ban and sent the cops/military door to door. Personally, I think we're in the middle of a cultural civil war, and attempting to forcibly confiscate everybody's guns would kick-start this cultural cold war into a shooting war, but that's another blog.
Second, the gun banners seem to think that once all guns are banned, people would behave. I'm a little fuzzy on my history there—is it true that no human was ever murdered by another human until the invention of gunpowder?
If there were no guns available to him and he still decided to go on a killing spree, he could have used a knife, a baseball bat, a can of Progresso soup'¦..my point is that you can't legislate against crazy, or homicidal. We are all assuming this guy was crazy, but you know what happens when you assume. Maybe he's perfectly sane and rational, but believes the world is drastically overpopulated'¦.I don't know, and neither do you.
Sane people occasionally go nuts. Some get better afterward, some don't. If you propose that we prevent anyone from ever owning a weapon, just in case they go nuts, for our own protection, George Orwell would like a few words with you.
Should we blame violent movies or video games for desensitizing our youth? No. Stop blaming objects or things. People are responsible for their own actions. I like violent movies and video games, and I've never felt the urge to go on a murderous rampage, much less actually done it. Some people are crazy and homicidal, and some of the crazy homicidal people may like to watch action movies or play First Person Shooter video games. There may be overlap, but there is no cause and effect.
What's the premise of Batman itself? A vigilante who takes care of criminals, because the cops can't be everywhere. Wait, what? The cops can't be everywhere? That's not what the news media tells me.
Sarcasm aside, I can't think of any rational idea which, when implemented, would have prevented James Holmes from going into that theater and shooting people. More laws? I think the "don't murder people" law is pretty clear, and he had no problems breaking that, so any lesser laws against carrying concealed weapons or whatever would be moot. The only thing I can think of which would have cut short his rampage was if one or four of the moviegoers were armed and started shooting back. People, however, would still be dead.
The media will bombard us with calls for gun control, and endless odysseys into the shooter's childhood and the "why" of this event. The why does not matter. The fact of the matter is that this is a senseless act of violence, that could not have been prevented, and the only thing or person to blame is James Holmes. Mourn the dead, because the loss of even one person is a tragedy.