Gunman Kills 12 in Colorado, Reviving Gun Debate

Anticipation built in the packed, darkened movie theater. Life and its cares began to recede. Then, just after midnight on Friday, the fantasy became nightmare, and a place of escape became a trap, when a man strode to the front in a multiplex near Denver and opened fire. At least 12 people were killed and 58 wounded, with witnesses describing a scene of claustrophobia, panic, blood. Minutes later, police arrested James Holmes, 24, in the theater’s parking lot. “It was just chaos. You started hearing screaming. You looked up and people were falling. It was like a dream,” said Jamie Rohrs, 25, who was there with his fiancée, cradling his 4-month-old son, Ethan, in his arms as the movie began. It was midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises,” latest Batman sequel, at the Century 16 multiplex in Aurora, about 10 miles from downtown Denver. Mr. Rohrs jumped between the seats for cover, still holding the baby. He stumbled and crawled trying to figure out what to do, clutching his son to his chest as he went. “Do I run out the door? Is he going to shoot the baby? What am I to do?” Rohrs said, his voice quavering. But he, his fiancée and the baby eventually made it out. And so once again, with a squeeze of a trigger, just 20 miles from Columbine High School, scene of 1999 student massacre, nation was plunged into another debate about guns and violence. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, who has waged a national campaign for stricter gun laws, offered a political challenge. “Maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it,” Mr. Bloomberg said during his weekly radio program, “because this is obviously a problem across the country.” Luke O’Dell of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a Colorado group on the other side of debate over gun control, took a nearly opposite view. “Potentially, if there had been a law-abiding citizen who had been able to carry in theater, it’s possible the death toll would have been less.” Some survivors thought at first they were witnessing a promotional stunt. The gunman, wearing what Aurora Police Department officials described as nearly head-to-toe “ballistic gear,” including a throat protector and leggings, plus a gas mask and a long black coat, came in through a parking lot exit door near screen of Theater 9. “He walked in so casually,” said a witness, Jordan Crofter, 19, a Batman fan who had gone with a group of friends and had a seat in the front row. The gunman, still perhaps regarded by some as a performer, then released two devices down the theater aisles emitting what the police said was smoke or some sort of irritant (…..)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/us/shooting-at-colorado-theater-showing-batman-movie.html

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4 Responses to Gunman Kills 12 in Colorado, Reviving Gun Debate

  1. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: Even foreigners with experience of living in the US, the gun question is puzzling. Like a rerun of a horror movie, heart breaking scenes of innocent people being shot at cold blood by a lunatic is shown on TV with increasing frequency. Like a surreal movie, TV commentators and experts discuss ad nauseum questions such as type and characteristics of weapons used (assault rifles seems to be the gun of choice), the psychological profile of the shooter, etc, etc. INCREDIBLY, the American people –so pragmatic in many things but guns — react as if such events are God’s wishes, fate. The most OBVIOUS question is never discussed. Why not ban the sale of guns like civilized societies? Is it because of a bunch of red necks gun lovers belonging to NRA? or, perhaps, the US is still a nation of warlike people that love violence and guns?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/us/shooting-at-colorado-theater-showing-batman-movie.html

  2. With twelve people dead and around fifty wounded, the mass shooting at a theatre in Aurora, Colorado showing the latest Batman movie, has already led to calls for new gun control laws. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the nation’s leading gun control group, declared that victims of gun crime “don’t want sympathy. We want action.” Yet it’s unlikely that anything but sympathy will come from this horrific act. Over the past twenty years, it’s become increasingly clear that mass shootings, no matter how tragic, don’t lead to reforms of gun laws (…..) On the one hand, the failure of gun control advocates to win new laws after these deadly shootings is a shame. Behavioral psychologists say that people react strongly to high-profile incidents, often viewing them as more likely to occur after the fact. A shooting primes the public to accept gun laws that they might otherwise feel less strongly about. On the other hand, what America needs is not a bunch of new gun laws that attempt to respond to yesterday’s shooting. America’s gun laws are already a patchwork of fifty-one different gun control regimes (each state plus the federal government). Because of the easy transport of guns across state lines, that patchwork is predictably ineffective at enhancing public safety. The only gun control laws that would really work would be federal laws that bind every state. What we need is not a knee-jerk reaction to another tragic shooting. As a country, we need our leaders to sit down and think about gun laws in more comprehensive, less incremental terms. Unfortunately, the Dark Knight shootings in Colorado, like the previous tragedies in Columbine, Tucson, and Fort Hood, aren’t likely to inspire such political action.

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/20/why-don-t-mass-shootings-lead-to-gun-control.html

  3. (ROOM FOR DEBATE) Know Your Constituents: Leadership in a representative, constitutional republic demands one to wear the mantle of servitude. Thus, if the citizens are solidly in favor of unfettered access to assault weapons, then it’s the role of the servant leader to find the means of providing the wishes of the electorate and not defy them. Edicts and dictates — especially outside the constraints of the Constitution — aren’t the product of leadership but foolishness. Like an experienced lawyer with a headstrong client, a political leader can certainly attempt to persuade the electorate to adopt a position under the banner of wisdom or humanity. But just as a lawyer refusing to practice in the manner the client prefers can be fired, a political leader not advocating and working for a position the electorate prefers can be defeated at the ballot box. Mitt Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts . He now aspires to be president of the United States and his constituents are of a different sort. My advice to Romney is to be unyielding on Second Amendment matters and reject all calls to expand bans on any firearms — especially in the aftermath of tragic events like the Colorado massacre.

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/07/23/where-is-the-leadership-on-gun-control/a-good-politician-serves-the-voters

  4. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: I am against an armed population as sort of Manifest Destiny. Civilized countries do NOT allow its citizens to buy guns easily as a Big Mac. However, Mr. Claver T. Kamau-Imani — by the way, what has happened to the Charlton Hestons of the NRA? — got a point. ” If the citizens are solidly in favor of unfettered access to assault weapons, then it’s the role of the servant leader to find the means of providing the wishes of the electorate and not defy them.” From a political standpoint, Kamau-Imani is correct in his reasoning. The majority of the American people DO NOT want any gun control policy. They love guns, period. Obama and Romney will not touch gun control in the political debate. The puzzling question to foster debate. Americans also have shown strong preference for drugs, particularly illegal ones. Why then do the US government fights a ‘drug war’ in Latin America? Why guns are OK and illegal drugs are not? economic motives. perhaps, explain the logic behind guns and illegal drugs? Guns are produced and sold internally and surplus exported. Illegal drugs are mostly imported from South America. Colombia and Mexico supply cocaine while American consumers ship back guns and dollars that are deposited in US banks. The balance of trade favors US drug importers, dealers, politicians and law enforcement agents under the payroll of the illegal business. There is more money to go around. Does that explain the gun versus illegal drugs conundrum?

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/07/23/where-is-the-leadership-on-gun-control/a-good-politician-serves-the-voters

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