Beyond Aurora, Part 2

First of all, before we begin, I’m not a shill for the NRA…

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, and other names of places yet to come are both familiar and disturbing.  No one likes to think about what happened or could happen in the future.  This is the reality that we must not only live in, but confront.

I think Carl Cannon ( stated it best:

After last week’s horrific shootings inside a movie house in suburban Denver, Americans did what they always do in such circumstances: We moved in two different directions at once.

Many people decried the ease with which firearms can be obtained in this country by unbalanced people with no business playing with matches, let alone high-powered rifles. Others went out and bought a gun. And some did both.

These are contradictory impulses, but they both make sense. Many ordinary Americans, unlike our polarized and linear political parties, can hold two competing ideas in their minds at the same time. In the aftermath of the “Dark Knight” killings in Aurora, those two thoughts were as follows:

(1) It is far too easy for mentally unstable individuals to acquire deadly firearms in this country.

(2) The only person known to be packing heat in that multiplex last week was the killer, and, God forbid, if a similar situation ever arises, carrying a loaded gun would at least give me a fighting chance.

It doesn’t matter what your position is on the gun-control issue – individuals and criminals with intent to harm will find a method to arm themselves with any weapon, including illegal firearms.  If you don’t believe me, then why do drug lords have fully automatic weapons which are illegal?  I know they don’t have licensing to have those.

OK, I’ll admit that’s an extreme example…here’s one a bit closer to home…

How about the gang-bangers in the large cities like Los Angelis, Chicago, or that city 30-miles to the south of me, Detroit?  These people have weapons outclassing the typical patrolman, and rivaling the military.

Still too extreme?  Then read this post from 2007 describing my experiences with potentially life threatening experiences.  For those who are interested in the conclusion line, here it is:

In the first case, I was defenseless, a lamb waiting to be slaughtered should my executioner deem it was my time. In the second case, I had a chance if it came to the worst possible scenario.

Our politicians / lawmakers with various activists are now calling for more restrictions on the sales of weapons, ammunition, and anything else they can think of.  I’m sorry to state that while that may slow down the number of gun-related assaults, the rest of the law abiding population doesn’t think that’s a good idea.

Gallup published these polls in October 2011 showing the trend:

Somewhat telling, isn’t it?  The citizenry appears to have more sense than our politicians whose usual knee-jerk reaction about blaming everything except the one responsible for the acts – the criminal.

Let’s be honest and frank about this:  People kill and assault other people, and sometimes use guns to do it.  Humans are a violent race – just look at the recorded history, and you will see that we haven’t evolved to a higher, enlightened species by any stretch of the imagination.  The days of universal peace and happiness are about as far off as Sol going nova.

Banning all weapons isn’t the answer.  Neither is unrestricted access.  Enforcing the laws that are on the books is a good start, but the real answer is that each person, each individual, must have and take personal responsibility for their own actions and safety.  Government can’t do that for you, no matter how many laws are passed.  And that, my readers, is the bottom line of this post.

2 thoughts on “Beyond Aurora, Part 2

  1. There is no easy answer to any of this, Tom. But unless we want the entire nation to become like the streets of Chicago and Wash DC, where handguns are illegal yet violent gun crime is rampant, we are going to have to do our best to watch for things like this and prevent them before they happened.

    As we have learned after some passage of time, there is a good possibility the man who did this was trying to reach out to the psychiatrist who he had been seeing. There is some question there, but it is hard for me to believe that there weren’t some tell-tale signs that something was not right.

    The side of that coin is, there have been times when someone might be motivated to say something when something doesn’t seem right. But how many times have we seen this happen, only to have law enforcement say they cannot do anything until after a crime has been committed?

    Authorities cannot ask about mental illness in pre-screenings because it violates HIPPA and the person’s right to privacy. But the ones who do this are usually mentally ill. So, unless they have a criminal record, they are allowed to buy weapons.

    We can try to change that law in this case, but at what cost? Let’s say someone had a tough stretch in their life and found it beneficial to see a therapist for some situational depression. The therapist helps them out of it, They move on with their life, and everything seems fine until they seek to make a legal firearm purchase to hunt or to protect themselves. But, since they saw a therapist for a short-term problem, they are prevented from buying what the rest of us can do.

    Once again, it’s not an easy solution, any way we look at it. We just need to educate people to keep saying things if they are suspicious that anything like this is about to happen. But it’s like terrorism. We must be successful 100% of the time to prevent this, the perpetrators need only be successful once.

    1. The problem I have with gun control is that it is usually the law-abiding citizen, the one who is concerned with keeping his family and person safe, who is impacted by these laws. It is our lives and rights that are inconvenienced and restricted. The criminals have no such problem.

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