A shooting in Colorado leaves 12 dead, many more wounded (including a three month old baby). Josh Bowman tries to understand how something this tragic could happen.
Last night, at the opening night of “The Dark Knight Rises”, a gas-masked gunman opened fire at a theatre full of people, killing twelve and injuring dozens more. From CBS:
The violent and chaotic scene erupted about 12:30 a.m. local time as the suspected gunman, identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, stood at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters at the Aurora Mall where the latest Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” was playing. Witnesses reported that the gunman entered the theater through an emergency exit door and threw a gas canister before opening fire.
He reportedly had a shotgun, two pistols, an assault rifle, gas canisters, and potentially explosives in his home.
This is a horrible tragedy. Children as young as three months old were sent to the emergency room.
What I don’t understand is how it can possibly be alright for a civilian to have access to these kinds of weapons. I don’t understand how these shootings can happen over and over again, and we have state governments who seem to have their hands tied by gun lobby groups like the NRA. It is outrageous. Innocent people are being mowed down because it is incredibly easy for anybody to acquire and carry assault rifles, handguns, and even automatic weapons. In some states, anybody can walk around with a concealed weapon. In other states, you can shoot somebody if they are on your property. I live in Canada, but even here there are clearly enough guns to go around.
Did you know that the United States was recently reported to be the most armed country in the world, with 90 guns for every 100 citizens? There are 270 million firearms in the U.S. alone as of this report, which means it is almost 300 million now. I hate to use an individual tragedy to make a political point, but to me there is a direct relationship between the high volume of gun ownership and easy access to weapons, and widespread gun violence. In the U.S. in 2011, there were an astounding 12,996 murders, 8,775 of which were caused by firearms. America leads the world in school shootings.
Violent incidents like what happened in Aurora, Colorado exist within a larger cultural, legal, and social framework. If we continue to ignore that framework and the root causes of this violence, we do so at our peril. My heart goes out to the victims of this horrible incident in Colorado, I hope the perpetrator is locked up forever, and I hope that we really consider what steps we need to take to stop this violence from recurring again.
Credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski