The shooting in Aurora kept me up for a long time. After all, it’s barely 48 hours from the incident, but I’m sitting here watching a 48 Hours special on it. The extent of this shooting sends a chill up my spine. As a former resident of Colorado and its environs, I can see myself in an alternate existence being at the midnight show on opening night.
More than that, however, was the immediate fighting that extended beyond honoring the victims and families of this shooting spree. The media began their immediate coverage, starting soon after I came home from a midnight showing. By the following morning, we suddenly had programmed theme music for 24/7 coverage. We also had plenty of stupid on the airwaves, from both the left and right, but the real prize was the excuse ABC called a reporter.
First, Brian Ross. He’s an investigative journalist. He’s not a fake morning talk show host who believes in jet-packs or $200 Million-a-day Obama trips. He makes Fox n’ Friends look like 20/20. His job was to find the facts, not create a story. More than that, it’s even less about some nonsensical political leaning to accuse a TEA member with the same name as the shooter. It’s worse, because the simple demographics of TEA often lead to a 52-year-old rather than 24-year-old dropout from med school. And from the other end of the speculum, the same dirt excuses of trying to tie the shooter to the other side. There is no other side of crazy, folks.
Second, the ideas of gun control activists who think laws can separate criminals or criminal intent from occurrence. Roger Ebert comes to mind when he thinks the reason why no one shot back in the theater was because of all the guns he thinks people carry all the time for spits and giggles. Armed response is the reason why people don’t rob banks. It’s easy to see the political version of jumping around for camera exposure with this movie…critic.
Third, the pro-gun folks who are currently blaming private corporations for signs in their theaters. The conflict of logic is astounding, that the current vein of outrage is just plain dumb. Government didn’ t do it, Cinemark did.
But what really caught my eye was this story, an instance that in my view supports a responsible and armed society to prevent further harm to the community.
On April 22nd, 2012, a gunman shot and killed a woman outside an Aurora, CO church, who was then subsequently shot and killed by an off-duty police officer. It’s pretty clear, that if there’s a trained individual in the right circumstance, a weapon will prevent further harm or death.
Now, this example is anecdotal, but makes a lot of sense. The process in which the shoot actually occurred were in a wholly different environment. At the least, the theory is matched to fact. And that’s pretty much a good reason to support (at the least) someone checking the crowd or act in close support.
There are disadvantages. In a crowded, dark theater on the summer’s biggest movie night, could we always expect an armed presence to solve a dangerous situation? And in the chaos and confusion, the fog of CS or smoke could result in a far larger bloodbath than a clean shoot, leading to liability and a lot of pain for the person who responds with the best intentions.
Armed support in terms of security or armed officers on duty in a movie theater still won’t change the crazy, but they can act as a deterrent for some mental case, and mitigate additional harm.
But the real blame should be upon the company that created the term, “gun-free zone” in private theaters across the country. Responding police were the ones who asked theatergoers to put their hands up and identify that they had no firearms. There was no security, and I’m pretty sure the popcorn stand guy wasn’t an air marshal. The fact is that Cinemark claimed they enforced a “gun-free zone”, and really didn’t.
For us in Detroit, this should remind you of the days of theaters and guns:
If you remember the Americana 8 back when Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor presented “Harlem Nights”, you get the same reaction, only with more rhetoric. The idea was simple, install metal detectors in theaters and remove weapons from a theater showing, ensuring a “gun-free zone”. In Fairlane out in Dearborn, it was no secret either.
But at Cinemark, there’s a sign in the theaters that declares the theater a “gun-free zone”. This is a clever corporate trick to ensure that people will not bring guns…because laminated signs are effective. Also, this was a relatively innocent device to ensure corporate policy was followed. It’s this sort of shortcut that should lead to negligence lawsuits, as well as a strong look at corporations who save money by acting like they care.
The rhetoric pouring from the gun nuts (yes, some of you are ridiculous) is that our solution is to return to a situation that allows the presence of firearms in any establishment, regardless of private policy or the rights of business owners who don’t want any excuse for emotion-related gunfire.
Let’s be honest, the reason why businesses banned guns in the first place was because someone got shot the last time around. We reacted the same way, and today we’re just reacting the other way, only with more guns. Eventually, people might realize it.
The first theater in America that installed metal detectors to deter stupid people with firearms was in Southfield at the Americana. We seemed to recognize the problem of guns and theaters, and specifically installed deterrents in response to the environment, social trends, and other life of the city. After all, it is Detroit.
In Denver, one of the first units to respond was the gang unit. They know their statistics, and shoots usually follow the same reasons why someone in Detroit gets shot. But as the facts seemed to point towards a lone gunman, and moreso a domestic terrorist (yes), we should probably think about how today’s online society can arm the individual without any notice or care, or that in Colorado, you can purchase guns outside the state and bring them back in legally without any approval or permit. Heck, you don’t even need a permit to purchase.
The response from the theater business was sad. They decided to ban masks, costumes, and Harry Potter wizard robes from the theater experience. Instead, we need to look at the policies that Cinemark say they have, but obviously don’t enforce. Americana 8 responded by becoming responsible on their end. In the corporate world, we force the customer to save them time and money.
We do have evidence that someone like an off-duty cop would specifically defuse the situation with a few well-placed rounds. This is rare, and unfortunate. And if everyone carried a weapon, we could have thousands of casualties by the end of the year. Ask the plumber in Birmingham who adjusted the Glock in his pants.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg made it simple. In the raw numbers, less guns means less injury/death by guns. This is also the same reasonable reason he used for fatty soda. Of course, I disagree with soda, but for guns, it does make some sense.
It doesn’t mean I’m a raving anti-gun nut, but a reasonable fellow who thinks that guns are best left with qualified users in a capacity for defense. All individuals who can demonstrate this responsibility should be provided the right to arms for the specific purpose of self-defense. I would advocate a training course first before a permit be issued in my neck of the woods. And in Colorado, there really isn’t anything that ensures a responsible firearm user, or even prevents out-of-state import.
If we strive to remain a free society with the ability and right to carry weapons both openly and concealed, we should also have the responsibility to support the defense of those who do not. The right to bear arms is also the responsibility to bear arms. I think you can believe in the Constitution and also promote this ideal.
I support a society that can carry at all times. This right will cost money, time, and probably lives in the end. Most enforcement experts will tell you that if someone is so committed to violence, there is little we can to do stop it. We can mitigate it, and in specific circumstances, actually prevent it with an armed society. But we also have to realize this freedom can be exploited, which requires some sense of regulation that supports a responsible society of gun owners.
The accused shooter bought 6,000 rounds, 2 Glocks, a semi-automatic rifle, and a shotgun legally (according to current reports), and we should at least accept the idea that our system of checks on crazy isn’t working. This was a planned murder, and while we wish we could ignore the insanity of the gunman, we have to understand the motives and the process of planning.
From a homeland security standpoint, we are lucky. It could’ve been a far greater threat who exploited our arms sales system to initiate attacks against more than just moviegoers. The shooter in his insanity revealed just how easy it is to acquire material to wage war on the country. And the murderer did not discriminate as we would a “foreign terrorist”.
This sick man was a terrorist, and we have to really understand it. If we’re really concerned about the safety of our nation, we have to start talking about responsibility again.
For the families who survive.