Like most people, I was shocked to learn this morning of an overnight shooting spree in Aurora, Colorado, that (as of last reports) has resulted in 12 deaths and 59 wounded. When events of this nature have happened in the past, readers have seen a slew of posts over several days as I contemplate the ramifications. While I'm not suggesting this will be the ONLY post I will write on this subject, I thought that I would discuss my initial -- possibly disjointed -- observations and thoughts about this tragedy in one post.
One of the first things that struck me is how American these sorts of violent events are. It's not that murderous shooting sprees don't happen in other countries, but that they are much more prevalent in the US. We seem to have them every year or, at least, every other year. It's gotten to the point in which people in this country are no longer shocked. Surprised or caught off guard, maybe, but not shocked.
In one of the early reports I read, it was noted that an FBI spokesman wanted to assure people that there were no indications that this shooting spree was related to "terrorism." That struck me as odd because it appears the gunman went out of his way to terrorize people!
But it all became clear to me WHY the FBI felt it was important to draw this distinction: the alleged shooter, James Holmes, is a white man from an upper middle class family. With rare exception, white people officially don't commit acts of terror!
You know as well as I do that, if the alleged shooter looked even remotely middle eastern OR he had a middle eastern sounding name, the official immediate presumption would have been that this was an act of terrorism. If he was definitely a Muslim of any sort, the FBI would have announced that this proved that Iran, the Taliban or Al-Qaeda had declared a jihad against America and this would have whipped up anti-Muslim fervor to unknown heights.
I read that one woman told reporters that the shooter aimed his gun directly at her head, but then shot the woman behind her instead. She was quoted as then telling her mother that this proved that "God still loves me." What an odd thing to think or say!
By inference, it suggests that God obviously didn't love the woman behind her...or the 6 year old girl who died at the scene.
As tragic and horrific as this event is, the US government commits atrocities of this nature rather routinely. Almost every time there is a drone strike somewhere in the world, news leaks out (though not in the American press) that scores of innocent people, including children, have been killed.
When Americans learn of those tragedies, it's not uncommon for many of them to do nothing more than shrug their shoulders, IF THAT MUCH. It doesn't cause a national discussion and there are few, if any, outpourings of sympathy for the families.
Since as long as I can remember, I have been a gun control advocate. Every event of this nature underscores for me that the US has insane laws concerning guns. One of the weapons the shooter discharged was an assault rifle. Citizens don't need the right to possess such weapons. The chief purpose of an assault rifle is to afford someone with the ability to kill and maim a large number of people quickly which, as it turns out, is precisely what this shooter used the gun for!
And please don't insult my intelligence with the inane argument that "guns don't kill, people do." The purpose of a gun is to damage or destroy something. You can't bake a cake with it!
Imagine if this fellow didn't have access to guns and decided to carry out this act with a different weapon. Do you really think there would be 12 dead and 59 wounded if, instead of being armed with 4 guns, he had 4 knives? Four slingshots? Four crossbows? Four spears?