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I was shocked and saddened this morning when I came home from the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises to the news of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado, leaving at least 12 dead and 38 injured.
In case you haven’t heard yet, a gunman ran into the theater, unleashed tear gas on the crowd and began opening fire. He is now in custody as police try to disarm his booby trapped apartment.
As always with these incidents, people are rushing in with their solution on how this tragedy could’ve been prevented. Unfortunately, no one ever wants to talk about the very scary and depressing reality of these mass murders: there is no prevention.
The first instinct of people from my political viewpoint is gun control. I do believe in gun control and our gun laws are so relaxed that the rest of the world looks at us in utter horror. But while gun control is an admirable goal, it won’t stop these situations. Stricter gun laws could go a long way in keeping firearms out of the hands of your run-of-the-mill criminals and perhaps even some wannabe militia building a small arsenal in their basement for the incoming “government insurrection” or whatever tinfoil hat conspiracy Alex Jones told them to worry about between their trips to Burger King, but you’re not going to stop the truly depraved.
You can outlaw all the guns, but they’ll steal them, buy them on the black market, or just rig up a pipe bomb instead. If a mad man wants to kill a dozen people, he will find a way. It’s a scary fact of life.
On the other side of the political aisle, I wasn’t surprised someone like congressman Louie Gohmert (Scumbag-TX) just three hours to wonder, “was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?” Yes, because when a gunmen bursts into a dark, crowded, loud room and fills it with tear gas, crossfire is a great idea. I’m not saying guns should never be used to protect yourself, but if you think armed moviegoers was the solution here, you’re psychotic.
I also read this morning that the suspect’s mother is not surprised that her son did this, leading people to call for better mental health screenings. I certainly agree with this goal as well, but let’s not kid ourselves, denial is an extremely powerful force. Hindsight is 20/20 and we’ll wonder for weeks (or until the media finds a new toy to play with) why this guy wasn’t in a padded cell, but in many cases, we don’t know or don’t want to admit we know until it’s too late.
But it won’t stop us from looking for something to blame. Since the suspect is a young, white male, that rules out terrorism, so I guess next we’ll have to see what video games he was playing and what music he was listening to; perhaps since it was at a theater, movies will be the culprit. It’s been awhile since we could pin something like this on such an easy target, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack Thompson came out of forced retirement or if we decided to publicly crucify Marilyn Manson.
Whoever or whatever takes the blame, it’s a lot easier than facing the horrific reality that crazy people are going to do crazy things regardless of motivation and there’s not much we can do to stop them. Perhaps it’s crude to quote The Dark Knight given the circumstances, but “some men just want to watch the world burn.”