A reader who lives in the Aurora area writes:

I live about twenty minutes from the Cinemark Theater in Aurora. I pass through that part of town occasionally and have a friend who is a firefighter and responded to the gunman’s former apartment. Fortunately, I was blessed to be spared from the tragedy, although my heart breaks for all those who have been affected by it. I think there are a few interesting things about the tragedy:

1) This tragedy occurred in a “gun-free” zone. Unfortunately, and yet predictably, that did not protect anyone. You simply cannot legislate against evil. Evil – by definition – is evil and ignores, circumvents and scoffs at laws, ethics and morality. No amount of policy, rules, regulations or law will protect us against evil.

2) Colorado has largely been focused on healing (and the Broncos). Vigils have been held, prayers have been said and the community has united just a little more.

3) This tragedy has had far-reaching effects. I don’t mean to belittle the great heartbreak, sorrow and emotional trauma through which the victims, friends and family have and will suffer, but it has affected many others, too.

I saw the same movie the night after the shooting and I couldn’t help but watch the emergency exit. Even though I knew it was a theater employee, my heart raced when I saw someone head to the emergency exit and return. My friends that were there said the same thing – they watched the exits almost as much as they watched the movie.

4) People are taking advantage of this tragedy. Legislators and activists are blaming the “insane” gun culture of the US and crying for tighter restrictions on guns and related products. The thing I find most interesting is that not one of them is proposing a real solution.

The problem was an individual bent on harming others. This is best evidenced by the booby traps he set in his apartment, his slightly open door and loud music set on a timer. Not one of those traps was rigged with a firearm. Are you going to legislate against jars and wire too?

Every time I want to jar of Pallisade peaches, will I have to undergo a background check and have the FBI, BATFE and my local Sheriff’s office alerted that I bought more than a dozen jars? Will picture framers have to have an FWL (Federal Wire License) so they can sell a frame wired to hang? This young man was determined to do harm regardless of the tools he used. What’s most interesting, though, is that none of these cries for regulation have come from Colorado – New York, Illinois and the other usual suspects, yes, but not Colorado.

Coincidentally – and this is only anecdotal evidence – applications for CCWs are up a HUGE amount in Arapahoe County (the county where Aurora is located). Don’t ask me how I know, but the Sheriff’s office is only open from 9am-3pm on Tues-Thurs for CCWs and people were lined up at 8am these past 2 weeks. Middle of the day waits have been 2+ hours just to submit the paperwork and get fingerprints done.

It’s nice to see people getting more serious about the responsibility of personal protection, especially since this litigious society allows the police to neither serve nor protect (BTW, I’ve heard the response time to the theater was phenomenal, yet casualties abounded).

Sorry for the long email. I just had to get it off my chest.

Ryan

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20 Responses to Midnight Movie Massacre: A Local Perspective

  1. What a well written piece. As a huge Batman fan, I was at a midnight showing (in MA) that night. I feel for everyone that was at that theater that night.

  2. Heavy stuff, but very hopeful at the same time. Especially the part about new CCW permits. When I first applied for mine in Kent WA, I walked into the police department and was the only person there. A two hour wait would have been an interesting experience, because I hate long lines but love when people exercise their constitutional rights.

    • King County reported double the normal volume the week following the shooting. There probably were no lines because it’s such a quick process and there are lots of places you can go.

  3. The response time was so good that night because they were already at the theater for general crowd control.

    At least, that’s what has been reported on the news I have seen.

  4. I too was at my local theater that night. My theater doesn’t prohibit firearms, so I carried mine concealed, as I normally do. I found myself looking around at all the people and trying to determine if something were to happen, would it even be possible to use my firearm effectively and safely. Had someone been up on the stage, I believe I could have. Crowds of people in confined spaces sure make you think carefully about what you could do and where you should be in case of trouble.

  5. “What’s most interesting, though, is that none of these cries for regulation have come from Colorado – New York, Illinois and the other usual suspects, yes, but not Colorado.”

    This is the part that spoke to me. The people of Colorado, the people who lived through it, are not claiming for new gun laws because they realize that you can’t legislate away crazy. My message to Bloomberg and his ilk is: You are not smarter than the people of Colorado. They do not need your “guidance.” Mind your own damn business.

    • Matt in FL: “This is the part that spoke to me. The people of Colorado, the people who lived through it, are not claiming for new gun laws because they realize that you can’t legislate away crazy.”
      Exactly this. You can legislate away crazy/evil. Bad people will do bad things, no matter what laws you enact. Couple that with the fact that only the law abiding with follow the new laws, and you have done nothing but give the illusion of security, when in reality you have done nothing.

      Good for the people of Colorado realizing that its time to take their personal safety into their own hands.

    • > The people of Colorado, the people who lived through it,
      > are not claiming for new gun laws because they realize
      > that you can’t legislate away crazy.
      > My message to Bloomberg and his ilk is:
      > You are not smarter than the people of Colorado.

      Or because the people of Colorado already had this debate back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Dave Kopel, a Colorado-based gun-rights researcher, recently wrote:

      After the Columbine High School murders, Colorado enacted eight specific gun-law reforms. Three of these reforms are examples of what people usually call “gun control,” and five of them are in the “gun rights” category. But to many Coloradoans, all eight of the measures are cohesive and consistent. They are all based on the same principles: Guns in the wrong hands are very dangerous, and guns in the right hands protect public safety. Colorado strengthened its laws to make it harder for the wrong people to acquire guns and simultaneously strengthened laws to remove obstacles to the use and carrying of firearms by law-abiding citizens. As a whole, the laws embody a compromise that enjoys broad public support; they settled a gun-policy debate that had raged in Colorado for 15 years.

      Were the people of Colorado “smart” when they voted, by an overwhelming majority, to require background checks on all sales at gun shows; what the anti-gunners call “closing the gun-show loophole”?

      • Anonymous Randian: Yes, they were smart. Not necessarily because I agree with the background check law, but because they voted for laws that apply to them. They rule their own house.

        My point, which you have helped me make, is that they are smart enough to make their own decisions. After Columbine, they felt a change was needed, and they made it. In this circumstance, they feel differently. They are not children, and they don’t need Bloomberg et al. to tell them what to do.

        • Agreed. Very few states actually have a “gun show loophole” – it’s mostly just an anti talking point.

  6. I live about 20 minutes from there as well, and can echo Ryan’s comments.
    The cops got there fast as the theater is about a mile from city hall and police HQ.

    I had applied for my CCW with Arapahoe County in mid June. When I went to apply, there was one person ahead of me in line and one behind me. When I went to pick it up this week, the waiting room was full.

    Our biggest local gun show, Tanner, is this weekend. It’s normally a zoo. I can only guess what it will be like this weekend.

    • The cops got there fast as the theater is about a mile from city hall and police HQ.

      The police where there the entire time during the shooting, as they were doing crowd control for the theater. It shows you how much good they are.

  7. A little further south in Colorado, the Sheriff sets appointments for fingerprinting/photos and taking your ccw app. The week before the shooting, wait time was 2-3 weeks. Now it’s over 2 months.

  8. you would be amazed at the number of people who have asked me to take them shooting since this tragedy. Everyone is starting to think about personal safety.

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