As is always the case when the incomprehensible happens, there’s no shortage of sages and, well, anyone with access to a wi-fi signal who are more than ready to share their insights on the event with the world. And just as Governor Menelaus “Pappy” O’Daniel knew so well, mass communicatin’ is a powerful tool – if a double-edged one. But we wouldn’t want it any other way, would we? So here’s a sampling of some of the sublime and the ridiculous that’s made its way into the ether regarding the Aurora shooting in the last day or so . . .
Roger Ebert’s in the film criticism business. Not a bad gig, since no one can really criticize a critic for expressing an opinion. You either like a movie or you don’t. But when he branches out to current events and politics, things get a little stickier. Sometimes there are facts to contend with. Ebert seemed to have missed one particularly important fact when he wrote in the New York Times that the Batman shooting is proof positive that the fact that any Joe or Jane Schmoe can own a gun really is a bad idea and here’s a good reason why:
The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.
Since gun owners are an overwhelmingly law-abiding bunch, Cinemark’s policy prohibiting their patrons from carrying firearms in their theaters pretty much accounts for the lack of return fire that James Holmes had to contend with early Friday morning. Ebert must have missed that detail in all the hubbub. That’s a hearty two thumbs down, Rog’.
On the other end of the spectrum, though, is former TTAG contributor Dan Baum’s piece for Harper’s. Dan puts hammer directly to nailhead with some advice for his fellow liberals: stop blaming the guns and look at the people who are pulling the triggers.
Compare [the US media’s emphasis on guns] to the coverage and conversation after Anders Behring Breivik murdered sixty-nine people on the island of Utøya in Norway, a year ago next Sunday. Nobody focused on the gun. I had a hard time learning from the news reports what type of gun he used. Nobody asked, “How did he get a gun?” That seemed strange, because it’s much harder to get a gun in Europe than it is here. But everybody, even the American media, seemed to understand that the heart of the Utøya massacre story was a tragically deranged man, not the rifle he fired. Instead of wringing their hands over the gun Breivik used, Norwegians saw the tragedy as the opening to a conversation about the rise of right-wing extremism in their country.
He also figures that by calling gun-owners gap-toothed bitter clingers, gun control advocates have hurt a lot of their liberal friends’ assorted pet causes.
The harm we’ve done by messing with law-abiding Americans’ guns is significant. In 2010, I drove 11,000 miles around the United States talking to gun guys (for a book to be published in the spring that grew out of an article I wrote for this magazine), and I met many working guys, including plumbers, parks workers, nurses—natural Democrats in any other age—who wouldn’t listen to anything the Democratic party has to say because of its institutional hostility to guns. I’d argue that we’ve sacrificed generations of progress on health care, women’s and workers’ rights, and climate change by reflexively returning, at times like these, to an ill-informed call to ban firearms, and we haven’t gotten anything tangible in return. Aside from what it does to the progressive agenda, needlessly vilifying guns—and by extension, their owners—adds to the rancor that has us so politically frozen and culturally inflamed. Enough.
Which brings us to venerable ABC News. They blew just about any credibility they had on the story right out of the box when, in a revealing case of mistaken blame assignment, talking head Brian Ross identified the Aurora shooter as a local Tea Party member. Oops, wrong James Holmes. Anyway, a piece by Bill Weir doesn’t do much to rebuild their credibility. Let’s see, ABC is for gun control – no news there.
There are almost 300 million privately-owned firearms in this country — that’s almost enough to arm every man, woman and child — but while there is a gun in four out of every 10 of American homes, only a small percentage of owners have most of the weapons, with the average collection swelling in recent years to around seven guns per owner.
With this massive supply, prices have dropped. The cost of suspected gunman James Holmes’ massive arsenal was $3,000. And with bullets going for around 50 cents a piece, he could fill the 100-round magazine on his AR-15 rifle for around the cost of a tank of gas.
Weir marshals so many incorrect facts, figures and assumptions to support his, um, point that SOMETHING MUST BE DONE, I’m afraid Bruce Krafft would blow a microchip trying to fisk this thing.
Back on the credit side of the ledger, though, is Bob Adelman’s compare and contract exercise at thenewamerican.com holding the Batman massacre up to another shooting in Aurora that occurred just three months ago. One of these things is not like the other…
On April 22 of this year a convicted felon, just out of jail, went to an Aurora, Colorado, church and shot and killed a member of the congregation before being killed himself by a congregant carrying a gun.
The little-known Aurora-church shooting illustrates how a tragedy (in this instance, the loss of one innocent life) can be prevented from becoming a much worse tragedy because one of the would-be victims was armed. The widely known movie-theater shooting illustrates the horrendous loss of life that can occur when the intended victims are not only defenseless but known by the perpetrator to be defenseless. Because movie theater was a “gun free” zone, it was an easy target for any madman wanting to prey on victims lacking the ability to fight back.
The semiautomatic assault rifle used by the gunman in a mass shooting at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie jammed during the attack, a federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press, which forced the shooter to switch to another gun with less fire power.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to in order to discuss the investigation, said the disabled weapon had a high-capacity ammunition magazine. Police have said that a 100-round drum magazine was recovered at the scene and that such a device would be able to fire 50 to 60 rounds a minute.
Leave it to a New York paper to call a pox down on everyone’s houses where guns are concerned. In this case, it’s the Daily News in an editorial entitled, Blood on hands of Obama, Mitt and NRA! – that’s their exclamation point. You fully expect a heapin’ helpin’ of opprobium for the NRA and Mitt (even with his well-documented anti-gun record, Romney is a Republican, after all) but the President gets his own share of the blame, too.
[The President’s] statement about the Aurora massacre was a dodge. Obama said in part: “If there’s anything to take away from this tragedy, it’s the reminder that life is very fragile, our time here is limited and it is precious, and what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things which so often consume us and our daily lives.”
With all due respect, the presidential takeaway should have been a drive for strengthened gun control, if only for the assault weapons ban. In righteous anger, Obama should have confronted the NRA’s political might regardless of polls that show a strong sentiment against restoring the prohibition.
At least they said, “with all due respect.”
Like the Daily News, somebody named Marcos Breton at the Sacramento Bee (who swears he owns a gun) really hearts the assault weapons ban, too. And he’s not afraid to throw the race card onto the bonfire, either.
You would think that reasonable people – even die-hard Second Amendment defenders – would agree that assault rifles have no place in public life. But no, that goes against the principles that open the door for madmen to spray innocent crowds with ammunition meant for combat.
If Holmes were dark-skinned and Muslim, he’d be called a “terrorist” and would be facing the full weight of American justice and public outrage.
Can’t we all just get along?
- Favorite movies: “Too many good movies to have a favorite, maybe Dumb and Dumber, Hachiko, Star Wars, etc.”
- Favorite book: Where’s Waldo?
- Political views: Middle of the road
- Faith: Agnostic
- Penis Size: short/average
- Drinking habits: light/social drinker
- Drug use: “I’d prefer not to say”
- Mind: Blown
As for that last one, if only.