Brace Yourselves…

Last Friday, after the early news reports finally ironed out the major details of the shooting in Colorado (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, send me your address and clear a room. I’m moving in), I have to admit that my interest waned quickly. 12 dead, 59 injured, one shooter, body armor, crowded theater, smoke grenade, and multiple guns. All that was left to report was the shooter’s identity. While I had absolutely no interest in tracking the media tornado sure to develop around the attacker, I was interested to know who had committed such a heinous act.

I wasn’t sure what kind of person I expected it to be. But I knew what kind of person I didn’t want it to be. I did not want the assailant to be in any way perceivably Muslim or Arab for fear of reinforcing the all too accepted and ignorant stereotypes that all Muslims/Arabs are violent people. And I certainly didn’t want another Anders Breivik, where we’d find out that the shooter had been holed-up in his apartment for months drafting a political manifesto and creating the delusion that murdering a theater full of people would somehow provide him the platform needed to share it with the world.

I really needed this to be a crazy act by a crazy person, and I basically decided that since there was no way to make it not happen in the first place, then I wanted the attacker to be some crazy comic book nerd who really wished someone would just make a fucking Aquaman movie already. Aren’t there enough Batman movies by now?

Coming in summer 2028, Brad Pitt returns to the big screen in “BATMAN, The Retirement Party.” Don’t worry. It will be a comedic storyline by then.

By the end of the day on Friday, police had the alleged shooter in custody. He was not cooperating with the investigators (which reduced my Breivik concerns) and he’s not Arab or Muslim. I was done listening to the story. It was a crazy act by a crazy person. Get back to me after the trial and let me know how it turns out.

But it wasn’t that easy to ignore in the days following the shooting. Even without television access, I could not escape the media tracking every move the police made while dealing with his booby trapped apartment, and digging up every possible detail of his personal life, and tracking every blink of his eyes during his arraignment. In addition to all of the rubbernecking, there was also an immediate and overwhelming influx of gun control comments and memes (read: photos/images with simplistic quip printed on them) all over the internet.

I had naively not even thought about the issue of gun control in response to the theater shootings. I’m slow sometimes. And until two days later when a friend asked me specifically what my gun control views were, I don’t think I had ever really tried to express them.

My gun control views are admittedly underdeveloped, but I’m working on it. I think it’s not too different than the “free market” myth. No sane person can say that they don’t believe in any regulation of gun sales and availability. Should someone be able to personally own a nuclear weapon just because they can afford to buy one? How about a surface to air missile launcher? I think most people would say “no,” so we can probably agree that there should be some level of arms regulation. But where do we draw the line? That is where so many people get ridiculous, throw reason out for talking points, and start pretending that any “line” is a tyrannical attack on their constitutional rights. I wonder how comfortable they’d be when I towed a giant 200 mm gun home behind my truck and parked in the driveway coincidently aiming it into the living room across the street.

There is the argument that criminals don’t adhere to gun laws so it doesn’t matter, but by that rational we should abolish all laws. That argument is stupid on its face. Speeders don’t follow speed limits, but we don’t abolish them. Traffic laws provide the parameters needed to maintain a level of safety on the highway and define the limits needed to indentify and stop those who are endangering everyone else with their disregard of those laws.

Organizations like the NRA have muddied the waters of the debate so much that it is almost out of the realm of reason. I recently read an issue of the NRA magazine, and that thing is a political propaganda pamphlet way more than it is a magazine about guns, for gun owners. The cover article of the issue I read was a political fund-raising commercial (selling some silly coin) for the NRA to raise money to fund anti-Obama campaigns, and the fear mongering and paranoia of the article was absolutely ludicrous. I don’t believe that message of fear is based as much on the concerns against an oppressive government as it is based on the fact that it increases national gun sales and fund raising for gun-supporting organizations. Despite the current administration near silence on gun control issues, hyperbole about Obama’s secret agenda has made a lot of people a lot of money. It’s a financial policy more than constitutional politics.

I cannot think of a legitimate reason why the average citizen should need an assault rifle. But I cannot think of a legitimate reason why the average citizen should need a car that goes 200 mph either. Some people just have different hobbies. Some people like to fire a machine gun on a range or on their own property. I’ve done it. But I also don’t see why gun owners and hobbyist see registering those guns, waiting for a background check to buy them, and other regulations as some slippery slope of government threatening their personal liberties. As far as I know, if someone wants to buy a machine gun (depending on the state), they can. They might not be able to do it in 30 minutes at the local Wal-Mart, but it is possible. And if you need a machine gun in a hurry, you probably aren’t going to do anything positive with it. It can be argued that over-regulation has and can lead to a larger black market gun trade, but as with so many things, I believe a balance can be achieved if only the two sides would agree on a common reality. I hate how unlikely that is.

The vast majority of comments and memes coming out in the hours and days following the Aurora shooting expressed a steadfast belief that more guns in the theater was undoubtedly the best way to have prevented or minimized the impact of the incident. And the state of Colorado experienced a huge spike in gun sales over the weekend following the shooting. So clearly, More guns = Safety. More Gun Laws = Dictatorship. It’s as simple as that.

I don’t take issue with the possibility that a legal and responsible gun owner may have been able to end the mayhem sooner (even though the shooter was apparently wearing full body armor). I take issue with the overconfidence of that belief. There is absolutely no guaranty that another gunman would’ve done anything but added more bullets to an already very chaotic, loud, dark, and smoke filled room full of frantic people running for their lives. To deny the possibility that another legal and responsible gun owner could have very well added to the innocent casualties is arrogant and reckless. If everyone is so sure that a second shooter would’ve prevented so much of the casualties, why not put snipers in every theater’s projection booth? Think of the job creation that would be.

According to what I’ve read, the Aurora shooter bought all four of his guns and his thousands of bullets 100% legally. Could he have still acquired an assault rifle if the ban on them had not been lifted in 2004? Maybe. Maybe a 24 year old college student could have found the connections needed to buy a machine gun illegally. But maybe he wouldn’t have. Maybe that ban being in place would’ve been the parameters needed for law enforcement personnel to detect an illegal gun dealer selling assault weapons and prevent that sale. Maybe that ban would have done nothing to slow him down at all. OR maybe the entire assault rifle debate is just a distraction from the fact that the large majority of gun related deaths, and homicides in general, in this country are the result of hand guns and not assault rifles. I do not know. And neither does anyone else. And the more I see and hear people pretending to be so certain that a gun law would or wouldn’t have affected the event, the more frustrating it is.

Is it impossible to recognize the very limited need for certain types of weapons and therefore the possible merits in regulating their sale more stringently? Is it necessary? I fully support the second amendment. It is an incredibly important part of the U.S. Constitution. I’ve shot several different guns, including assault rifles. It is interesting to feel the power of a gun in your hand. I respect that power. I just don’t know if imposing any regulations at all on the access to higher risk weapons necessarily equates to limiting one’s overall right to keep and bear arms. Just like the first amendment does not protect every single word that can be uttered (i.e. yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater), the second amendment does not necessarily protect possession of any and all types of “arms.” I’m not suggesting a new ban on anything. I’m just questioning if a higher level of regulation could better aid in keeping such powerful weapons in the hands of knowledgeable and responsible people. It could be compared to the special commercial driver’s license (CDL) required to drive a tractor trailer. That is a huge and powerful automobile capable of massive casualty if mishandled, and that is why there are more stringent requirements to legally operate one. Is that same idea completely irrational when one desires to own and operate a large and powerful weapon that is actually designed to do massive damage more efficiently? I don’t think so. But I will acknowledge that this could also be an issue of proper enforcement of existing regulations.

No matter the issue, nothing will be done as long as people refuse to be reasonable with each other. I’m not sure when the word “regulation” automatically became synonymous with “tyranny,” but if it is going to be continually cast that way, what is the answer? Anarchy? I don’t think so. I don’t even think the majority of people mischaracterizing all regulation as oppressive are anywhere near anarchists in their beliefs. I just think the rhetoric in all political debate has gotten so far out of control that it’s become very difficult to maintain a reasoned debate about even the most important issues. Everything is either “good” or “evil” and there is no in between.

It is impossible to legislate away the risk of dangerous people doing dangerous things. So far I have heard of absolutely no mention of clues or warning signs in the Colorado shooter’s past. Sometimes those warning are there. Sometimes they are not. The idea that we will ever be able to legislate away the risk of crazy people doing crazy things is unrealistic. It is impossible to guaranty anyone’s safety 100 percent of the time. Hell, we’ve put huge efforts into protecting the Presidents of the United States and six of them have been shot, four fatally. But that doesn’t mean that we should abandon efforts to maintain some level of reasonable control of dangerous weapons and who is using them. There has to be a way to achieve a balanced debate on this issue. Should I be able to buy or build my own nuclear weapon? The government has them, and I have to be able to defend myself against the government. Right?

The image below was the only one I’ve seen since the shooting that I liked. I like it because it is simply an expression of perspective aimed at reminding people that there are in fact A LOT of responsible gun owners in this country that are not hurting anyone, and that do not want to. It seemed to be the only one that wasn’t making an overconfident comment about what could’ve or should’ve happened differently in that theater. I appreciated that.

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8 responses to “Brace Yourselves…

  1. I enjoyed your take on all this and it’s hard to find much issue with the bulk of your commentary. A middle way is certainly preferred over radical measures on either side of the Gun Control issue. Very well written and very entertaining! Your comment on a 24-year old college student’s ability to purchase an assault rifle (if banned) without too much difficulty got me thinking about the money laundering scene in Office Space. Something tells me the “crazy white dude” would have struggled with it, but maybe I’m wrong.

    So, I’ll bite and admit that I am woefully uninformed on the issue and spent a lot of time looking at the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Subcommittee on the Constitution report from 1982 (interesting point in there about the Militia Act of 1792 requiring EVERY free white male to own a gun, ammo, and military material…is that a penalty or a tax? -http://www.constitution.org/mil/rkba1982.htm ) as well as the Federalist Papers (http://www.thefederalistpapers.org/federalist-papers) in the hopes that I could make a rational argument. What you have pointed out so well is that inevitably after an event like the most recent Colorado shootings the public dialogue will turn back to an argument about gun control. Here’s what I think:

    1) In the Gun Control debate, should we choose to have it, the debate should not be about Semi-Automatic or Automatic weapons as the overwhelming majority of homicides are committed by handguns, as you pointed out. While the Colorado shooting is devastating in its brutality, it was still only 12 people who died plus the other 58 that were injured (not minimizing, just making a point). On average, every day, there are approximately 72 handgun deaths in the United States if you believe some of the numbers (can explain how I came to that if need be). But, is that really the whole story? Violent crime rates (I’m talking homicides which I’m presuming a large proportion were conducted utilizing firearms) have fallen to the lowest rates since the early 1950’s. Granted, there were still around 8,000 more deaths by firearms in 2010 than in 1950, but percentagewise it’s the same. Let’s not even get started on the issue of what should be regulated anyway when you consider that Motor Vehicle Accidents (37,661), Falls (25,903), Accidental Poisoning (30,781), and Alcohol-induced deaths (25,440) all rank higher than shootings (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_04.pdf).

    2) Are Gun Laws shown to decrease crime rates? You’re going to see arguments on both sides of the issue, obviously, and all I can say is it’s hard to say because you can’t control any crime rate for gun laws and instead have to accept that the cause for a decrease in crime rates could be anything and everything from the Economy, to Divorce, to Family Crisis…you name it. It’s impossible to control for. What I do think is interesting is that since 2004 when the Assault Weapons ban was lifted, there was a quick bump up in homicides and then a sharp 10% decline in homicide deaths to where the data stops in 2010. I think it’s impossible, given the data, for Gun Control activist to positively correlate Gun Laws to a decrease in gun related crime. You can make the argument, but it’s pretty flimsy. (http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf)

    3) If the issue is really not assault weapons but handguns and the rates of these occurrences are dropping, do we need more regulation? While I am not a huge fan of the NRA, I’m not necessarily against it either. In my opinion they have a bit of an image problem. I’d argue that they are probably some of the most law abiding citizens we have in this country, if for no reason they know that there cause is a political hot button and the minute they step out of line it gives another reason to talk about gun control. Why do I say that? The data tends to show that if somebody wants an assault rifle, they will buy it legally and use it properly, so why not? As you mentioned, the more regulation we put into this, the more the black market will thrive. You want these transactions to take place in the light of day, not in the back alley.

    4) The relative merits of another shooter in the audience are immaterial in this case and wouldn’t seriously give rise to a discussion about increasing security INSIDE the theater. The bottom line is, nobody was there that could do anything. We could have two extreme examples…a trained Navy SEAL with a concealed weapons permit and the other an inept dude like me who fires and misses. Each situation is different and so I think this one is independent of the next…but come on, he was a Comic Book nerd. In example one he either dies or flees and in example two he flees. Given the right sort of setup, the other gun toter probably does save the day, but there are just as many examples where they make it worse.

    I think the data lends itself to show that what we have in place is actually working and if in years to come the numbers say something else, then we can attack it. Should this event be politicized? Only if done in the right way. I see the issue of the random gunmen one of societal decay and less one about guns. In a population dense center like the University of Colorado, how do we still have individuals floating silently along? How are they able to get through undetected? Can we afford to have loners in society anymore?

    • This post was another where I started writing it without being entirely sure where it was going. As it turns out, it didn’t go anywhere really.

      The more I think about it, the more it seems that the gun control debate is kind of based on a level of falseness. If public safety was the concern motivating legislation, we’d be talking about banning hand guns instead of assault rifles. Assault rifles are much harder to conceal and, as we both noted, statistically less prevalent in gun violence. But no one would dare suggest banning hand guns. It has no chance of passing and I know that I can’t think of a way that such a ban would not be in violation of the second amendment. Assault rifles are just impractical enough in relation to their potential danger that they are easier targets for people that want to keep the debate alive; one side suggesting a ban while pretending to care about public safety, and the other defending against any regulation while pretending that any suggestion of gun control is the first step down the slippery slope to destroying the entire fabric of the country as we know it.

      As you noted, there is little concrete evidence that gun laws have any direct effect on overall gun violence in this country. Each side of that debate has their own theories on why, and much of it is speculative. I’m starting to wonder if the debate about gun control is only continued in order to support the industry of lobbyists’ and advocacy organizations’ (on either side) business models. I don’t have any input on the probability of higher legal adherence of the average NRA member. Of course their executives and spokespersons are scrutinized and act with political awareness of their actions, but I couldn’t even guess about the attitudes of the bulk of their members. What is interesting to me is how successful they are at keeping the conversation hot in the minds of its members even during a near silence from the federal government. It can sometimes seem that they are like a group of fire-fighter advocates run by arsonists. Keep the fire hot so that there is something to motivate fund raising and justify their huge political existence and influence. I read somewhere (and I’m too lazy to go look it up again) that gun sales and licenses go up during democratic presidencies. NRA membership goes up during democratic presidencies. In effect, making democratic presidential administrations a financial boon for all involved in the gun business, including those speculating about what the democrats want to change about gun control, even though it doesn’t come up much in reality. And they seem to believe (and often portray) that all “liberals” are America-haters that would blindly support unconstitutional legislation. You know, because if you believe the current GOP superstars, Democrats aren’t even “Real Americans.” (And I’ll add that I fucking hate every time a politician says anything like that about one of their duly elected colleagues—HATE IT!) I think one of the biggest errors the cliché “conservative” makes is thinking that there are no liberal gun owners, and therefore a simple presidential change could automatically threaten one of the most revered parts of our constitution.

      I do kindly want to say that there were so many more possible examples than the two you provided (SEAL vs. “inept dude like [you]”) as well as many more possible outcomes-even against a comic book nerd. That was the basis of my whole frustration in the days after the attack. I do agree that a trained SEAL would’ve likely been able to shoot him. You might have also been able to. But I don’t see fleeing happening in either of those situations. He was armored, CRAZY, and just spraying the place. It is entirely possible that he wouldn’t have noticed another shooter without actually being shot. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, but depending on his location in the theater and exactly what the visibility limitations were of his mask, I think any unarmed man or woman of size probably could’ve tackled him just as easily as any of the other expressed hypothesizes could’ve worked. He doesn’t look very big, and as Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” One person getting him off his feet, and the shooting stopped probably would’ve ended with him being severely beaten by a mob of other patrons.

      Again: I have no confident suggestion of what could have prevented a crazy person from doing something crazy. And I was blown away by how many people were 100% sure they had the answer. And of course so many of those answers conveniently fit into their existing political narrative on gun control. Weird.

      When I finished scribbling my post, I think I came to a similar idea that new restrictions are probably not needed nor are any reductions in regulation necessary. I like your idea about this event maybe being more representative of societal decay. It’s easy for anyone to float through society undetected. So many people are circling their wagons around only those people that share their exact opinions and beliefs, and refusing to acknowledge the existence of those that don’t share those beliefs. Or worse, some acknowledge differing viewpoints just in order to target them for ridicule and condemnation. It’s hard to say what the root cause of that decay might be. But I suspect it is the result of people refusing to even permit an opposing view to exist. Everything is all or nothing. And that all or nothing attitude is infectious, dangerous, and way too accepted by society. If everyone that doesn’t agree with you is “evil” and evil must be destroyed, then where are we? And what is going to happen next?

  2. Wow, misfired on the number of deaths per day due to hand guns. Should have written 32 and not 72. 1 death is certainly too many, but wanted to make the point that more people die everyday due to handguns than in this one isolated event.

  3. Let’s digress into something else and then I’ll come back to the gun control. The book, On Killing, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman studied all aspects of killing in war, and while an individual going on a homicidal shooting spree has different motivations than somebody forced to terminate an enemy during an engagement, the psychology of pulling the trigger is similar enough that I thought it was worth discussing. While you and I are in agreement that every shooter situation is different and therefore it’s hard to come up with a cookie-cutter standard response such as the heroic gunman in the theater that saves everyone, it is worth talking about the psychology of the gunman bent on killing innocents.

    The act of killing, itself, is an unnatural act. The closer that the shooter is to the victim, the more difficult the act of pulling the trigger. Take that a step further to the point that somebody has a knife and it’s harder still. The military struggled with this during and after WWII and into Korea and one of many things they discovered was desensitizing the gunman was one of the best ways to get a soldier to pull the trigger (along with adding more distance between the hostiles). In other words, put a lot of blood and guts and abhorrent events in front of them and they are less likely to freeze and feel sympathy for their target. I think it’s safe to say that the gunman (I don’t even want to say his name, he’s that low) had probably played a lot of video games, watched a lot of movies, and in general…was able to disconnect himself from the bloody end to his actions. So why the body armor? Why the protection? It doesn’t appear that he had any military training and even with some rather ho-hum revelations in recent days, nothing that would make him sound much different than the average 20-something struggling through life in the United States today. He didn’t care about others, but he sure seemed to care about himself. Your quote from Mike Tyson is brilliant. He didn’t want to get punched in the face. If we want to take a step back and project this event onto the rest of America, maybe the takeaway is that we really shouldn’t be talking about the guns, but the daily events on the radio, on TV, in the movies, and on the Internet which has desensitized much of us to the sight of death and destruction. BUT, back to his body armor, how many of our peers have been “punched in the nose”? The gunman was wearing body armor because he didn’t want to get hurt, and he certainly didn’t want to die. After all, the Joker never dies even though he murders countless victims in comics and movies. It’s the guy or girl that walks into the theater and starts shooting that ISN’T wearing any body armor that I think makes the situation that much more dangerous. I think the Navy SEAL or me scares this crazy person away, but I don’t think anybody stops the guy without body armor until they are incapacitated or dead. There are plenty of examples where a defender saves the day, in this situation in Aurora I think the proponents of a concealed weapon are right, but only because I am pretending that I can see inside the guys mind. We’ll never know. Those citizens are dead regardless of our speculation.

    My opinions on why and when we talk about Gun Control are probably skewed because of a recent podcast I listened to that dealt with election issues that actually motivate voters to do more than just complain. I think the bottom line is that Gun Control is probably a fringe issue in the political dialogue of our country. We all agree that we want crime to go down, and in general it has, but there aren’t as many people waving picket signs about gun control as there are on the Economy and other things. I haven’t paid enough attention to it so I might be completely wrong, but I think that politicians can ignore this until a major event like an Aurora shooting happens. Then when the event happens they comment and after a couple of weeks it goes away because it’s just not that important to voters compared to other issues. In the meantime, your opinion on why the NRA and other organizations keep the pot stirred mirrors mine. It’s about money. The correlation between rising gun sales and a Democratic Administration is not a myth. Money invested in gun companies leading up to a strong Democratic contender will be rewarded with a Democratic Presidency and a skyrocketing stock.

    If somebody is rotten to the core, gun control laws won’t change that. If history has taught us anything, it’s that a motivated killer with time and resources (even a restricted amount) can come up with ingenious ways to eradicate their target. If this guy was that hell bent on death and destruction then he was going to have it short of some human in the loop that could have somehow seen it. Preferably it was someone that could step in and keep this individual from becoming what he ultimately became. As a parent I’m sad for his, if they truly did their best. I would be heartbroken if this happened at the hands of one of my children. It’s a worthy cause for us as a nation to discuss how these things can be prevented. I’m willing to talk Gun Control, I just don’t think it’s the answer.

    • Good “Digression.” And since I pretty much agree with what you’re saying I’ll try to be quick.
      I think it would be hard for anyone to deny that desensitization towards violence makes it easier for someone to commit violence. And the distance between adversaries helps disassociate one from a violent act as well. Pushing a button that launches a weapon that lands miles away destroying the yellow dot on the map you’re looking at has to be easier than stabbing someone in the neck who is standing right in front of you. Disassociation and desensitization to one’s own acts are dangerous whether those actions are violent or just rude. They reduce the feeling of accountability.
      I can acknowledge some effect of video games and movies on a person’s view towards violence and a lessened sensitivity towards it. But I’m reluctant to place too much blame there. I think those entertainment mediums are the scapegoat for the accepted violence in all other media (including the news) and the vitriol in our politics. The political debate in this country uses violent rhetoric and insane exaggeration so regularly that it has to expect that some people are going to become more volatile and reactionary to perceived dangers, especially when every single disagreement is portrayed as a terrorist attack on the core thread of the country. How many more ridiculous communism references do we need? Socialism? Nazism? These are all very loaded terms that incite very different levels of anger and disgust. But we accept it. We’re desensitized to it. It started with fringe pundits, then mainstream talking heads. Now we’ve got elected officials calling large groups of the opposing party “communist.” Those people are representatives of the U.S. citizens elected them. Every slang and slur hurled at a duly elected politician is an insult at the people that elected that person. And people don’t like being called Nazis.
      There have been violent video games for decades and gratuitous violence in movies for a generation and I’m sure they do desensitize people to an extent. But the overabundant amount of time spent singularly involved in these acts contribute to a disassociation with general society that I think is also a contributing factor to violent acts like the Aurora shooting. I think the knee-jerk associations made towards entertainment media are also excuses made by a society that doesn’t want to admit that someone capable of such heinous acts could have blended in so undetected. People like to refer to attackers like this as “monsters” or “mad men.” They don’t want to then turn around and admit that they’re society is so vile that such a monster was undetectable. And they certainly don’t want to admit that they didn’t notice him because they didn’t care.
      That kid was probably just another nerdy loner that no one cared about until he started shooting strangers in a theater. And you’re right; he didn’t care about anybody else either. There was definitely a disconnect between him and society, and it was probably very mutual.
      And no amount of gun control isn’t going to fix that.

      (side note: I love that you refused to mention the shooter’s name, and for the exact same reason that I intentionally didn’t use it at all in my original post. I don’t want to contribute to the celebrity status that his name will acquire and that he does not deserve. I also hope/believe that if I continue to ignore his name, it will eventually exit my memory entirely. I already don’t remember his first name.)

      • It could very well be that something else is to blame. I’m willing to concede that if we look at straightforward proportions, it may be that these events are not occurring at any more frequency or with a different sort of mind planning it. I’ve argued with my parents for years that I don’t think that evil doers exist as a larger segment of the population as compared to when they were kids, they are just better reported and the way society has changed they have a greater impact. We are venturing into Freedom of Speech a bit, but I’d love to see what happens when we take two populations and allow population 1 to immerse themselves in modern US culture and population 2 in something a little more restrictive as it pertains to guns and violence (and yes, sexual content) and see which group has more issues requiring a therapist to assist with. Certainly not the definitive measure by any stretch and it doesn’t factor in all the other stuff that can happen in life (all my other posts about controlling for variables), but I know the effect it’s had on me and I’m projecting that onto everyone else.

        If we aren’t willing to lay blame on anyone that might be responsible (entertainment mediums), then we certainly won’t get to the point that we recognize that that group WAS actually to blame, and I’m using entertainment as a scapegoat here. It could be other things like bullying, single/dual parent households. You name it, it should be looked at and assessed rather than the knee jerk reaction to throw in another law that hasn’t been proven to work.

        I’ve said it several times before, it’s easy to look at today’s political landscape and say, “oh my, it’s never been this bad before” and in some respects, that’s true, but not in all. Political campaigns have run the entire landscape. It’s amazing to me how brutal the election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was and how bitter many other big elections were. I just don’t think we have enough reputable scholars with big screen persona that are talking about how bad politics have always been. In my mind the hyperbole is nothing new. We’ve had people in our government calling other people in our government Communist since Post-World War I. I know you remember Senator Joe McCarthy so I won’t go into it. It’s still up to American’s to figure it out, someday maybe that will happen with an unbiased media, but until then, I’ll just have to continue watching Newsroom on HBO, haha.

        I believe that most of society is exactly like my neighborhood – good, hardworking, caring people that try to look out for each other. I don’t believe that society is what I see on TV. Bad things happen everywhere and sometimes for no real reason, but for the ones that have a reason, we should try to root them out. The lack of caring in urbanized areas may be a product of the move from the country to the city. I’ll acknowledge that. My community is sorta rural, but I’ll admit I don’t know all my neighbors. And I have to admit that sometimes when I should go say Hi, I don’t because I just don’t feel like it. I guess I gotta start with myself first!

  4. Of all of this, the NRA’s propaganda regarding Obama’s “secret agenda” is perhaps the most alarming. Obama has made no moves whatsoever to tighten gun control laws but is still being used to induce fear, paranoia and outrage from the oh so willing to hate ranks of the far right. This is the new political reality in our country, when special interest groups simply fabricate a nonexistent persona or position to fuel the fires of radical irrationalism.

  5. Had to come back and look at this again…pretty easy to argue this point when I can be so de-sensitized to the death of an adult. I’ve held my kids and cried at least three times since Friday and it’s hard not to throw numbers and logic out the window when the victims are so young. I’d give up almost everything I have for my children…so in that sense I’m also prone to take away almost anything from anyone else if it meant their safety. There is a gun issue, a mental health issue (which I would still argue is largely affected by media), and an access issue. I refuse the God issue in this…it’s a man made issue and one that can be solved by man, but I’m struggling on this one, my friend!

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