Once again the actions of one have left many grieving and an entire country searching for answers. Last week a gunman walked into a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and opened fire on a mass audience leaving several victims either dead or injured. Since then many media outlets and organizations have had time to digest the events and attempted to offer some sort of solution — if there is one.
Although the general consensus is that people want guns and they want concealed carry, but as you may have imagined most speaking out are in favor of gun control measures.
Die hard gun control advocates are pushing for stricter gun laws while others with a less aggressive stance are hoping to find a compromise with pro-gun groups. On the flip side, others suggest that officials simply hold the shooter responsible rather than put faith in fruitless laws, and pro-gun groups have been either unresponsive or redirect the conversation.
Beginning with an extreme end of the spectrum, the Brady Campaign quickly released a statement on Friday asking that U.S. citizens demand leaders take action:
This tragedy is another grim reminder that guns are the enablers of mass killers and that our nation pays an unacceptable price for our failure to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We are outraged.
… we don’t want sympathy. We want action. Just this past April 16, the anniversary of the worst mass shooting in American history, 32 victims of gun violence joined us to demand Congress take action to stop arming dangerous people.
… We are insistent that our elected leaders take action to prevent future tragedies. Political cowardice is not an excuse for evasion and inaction on this life-and-death issue.
The Huffington Post published a slew of editorials and opinion pieces focusing on the availability of “assault weapons” and arguing against the necessity of them — all watered down by political fingerprinting. A piece that seems to encapsulate the general consensus of Huff Post is “Why Gun Control Is Patriotic” by Sanjay Sanghoee, a contributor who regularly writes on Indian politics, art and culture, as well as business. In the editorial he attempted to delve into the psyche of the type of gun owner who buys a weapon like an AR15.
The right to defend oneself makes sense but that should not encompass the right to own weapons of mass destruction, or to endanger the welfare of society. The belief that we need to stockpile guns of every kind to protect us from our own government is a sign of deep paranoia and madness. And to the people who think that way, let me ask you this: do you really believe that if the U.S. government decided for some reason to direct all its military might against you, you would stand a chance against them?
He continues by blaming the National Rifle Association and gun companies for lobbying to make it easier to obtain these weapons all while taking jabs at republicans. Because they are making it easier for crazed gunman to obtain weapons legally, meaning they are aiding in the destruction by advocating the availability of weapons with high capacity magazines. He concludes:
Just because you believe in the right to bear arms does not mean that you have to follow the NRA’s playbook or that you cannot support sensible gun laws. The Second Amendment was designed to ensure our safety, but the way it is interpreted by the gun lobbies endangers our safety instead.
New York Times
Unlike Huff Post, the New York Times takes a much more tame approach — politically at least — as they suggest a compromise.
In the piece “Mourning and Mulling“, columnist Charles M. Blow describes his upbringing in rural Louisiana and how guns were an every day thing as his family consists of hunters and self-defense advocates. But he goes on to question the reasoning behind “assault weapons.”
While I hesitate to issue blanket condemnations about gun ownership — my upbringing simply doesn’t support that — common sense would seem to dictate that it is prudent and wise to consider the place of guns in modern societies. It has been some time since we have needed to raise a militia, but senseless violence is all too common. The right to bear arms is constitutional, but the right to be safe even if you don’t bear arms would seem universal. We must ask ourselves the hard question: Can both rights be equally protected and how can they best be balanced?
… There are whole swaths of gun owners who don’t use their guns in a criminal way. But many of the people who use guns to commit murder are also law-abiding until they’re not … We shouldn’t simply wait for the bodies to fall to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Blow concludes, as a gun owner, by suggesting his compromise:
One step in the right direction would be to reinstate the assault weapons ban. Even coming from a gun culture, I cannot rationalize the sale of assault weapons to everyday citizens.
… We simply have to take some reasonable steps toward making sure that all our citizens are kept safer — those with guns and those without.
We can’t keep digging graves where common ground should be.
CBS’s Face the Nation
Renowned journalist Bob Schieffer, CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent and anchor of the weekly CBS morning show “Face the Nation”, offered his views in a statement “A new manifesto: ‘Lack of Common Sense’“, a play on Thomas Paine’s essay titled “Common Sense,” which he says he titled because “How else can we account for the current state of affairs?” His argument is that lawmakers should allow actual current events to dictate the debate and, at the very least, begin a conversation without outside influence.
Of course, there are legitimate reasons for people to own guns, for both sport and protection. But doesn’t common sense tell us we must keep guns away from people like the Colorado shooter?
Don’t we all agree on that?
Finding a solution to fix that won’t be easy. But if that is the goal, shouldn’t that be where we start the discussion? Where’s the common sense in not starting there?
This is not about ideology; it is about the safety of innocent people, and going to the movies without fear of being killed.
He then narrows his argument by pinpointing something that he sees as a problem:
… we’ve allowed the lobbyists [like the NRA] and the partisans and the ideologues and, yes, the people who make money out of politics, to take control of the argument and shift it, from common sense to endless hairsplitting, meaningless rhetoric and ideological talking points designed to avoid blame — and fatten campaign war chests.
Common sense doesn’t really fit when the goal is not what’s good for us but what’s good for my side.
In his column in Taki Mag, an online political magazine, titled “The Joker’s Razor“, author and columnist Jim Goad doesn’t attack guns, gun control, the victims or Cinemark, the company that owns the Century 16 movie theater.
In the wake of Friday morning’s bloodbath at a Colorado movie theater, America struggles to figure out who or what to blame.
They’ve obviously ruled out the shooter.
He continues criticizing the left, right, up and down for pointing fingers without actually knowing what they’re talking about, but he also explains why comics, movies and gun laws aren’t to blame.
Look away from the fact that Mexico has stricter gun laws than the US and a higher gun-homicide rate. Ignore the fact that Switzerland has some of the world’s highest gun-ownership rates and a negligible gun-homicide rate. And don’t even try to compare gun-related murder rates in urban areas that have restrictive gun laws alongside low gun-homicide rates in rural areas where firearms ownership tends to be highest. And blot from your memory banks the fact that there are likely millions of privately owned AR-15 “assault weapons” in America that have never been used to commit mass murder.
Famed gun writer Massad Ayoob was one of the few major gun advocates to write on this event. In his blog on the Backwoods Home Magazine, a publication on self-reliant living, he made a point to chastise CNN, but mainly discussed gun free zones in his posting “And It Happens Again…”
Overlooked by most is a point discovered by famed Constitutional lawyer Don Kates: the theater in question forbade firearms inside. They themselves made it impossible for even one good person in the theater to draw a lawfully-carried handgun and put a bullet through the monster’s brain, to stop the horror and shortstop the tragedy.
Once again, we see that “gun free zones” are hunting preserves for psychopaths who prey on humans.
And a couple days later Ayoob followed up by citing references of where he learned the Century 16 was a gun free zone.
(Note: Ayoob cites anecdotes posted in forums that are several years old. Guns.com contacted Cinemark several times to confirm the company’s official policy, but has yet to get a response. To see the references, click here and here.)
In his follow-up, Ayoob makes a very pragmatic point:
When you make potential rescuers unwelcome, do not blame those potential rescuers for not being there when the disaster happens, and the death toll mounts because what could have stopped the killing has been banned from your establishment.
National Rifle Association
Pro-gun groups like the NRA and Gun Owners of America offered very little in terms of debate or defense.
In the midst of all the finger pointing, an NRA spokesman told Guns.com that officials might make a formal statement “when all the facts are in,” but they are not giving interviews about this topic right now.
In addition, over the weekend the organization removed several official Facebook accounts. Guns.com inquired about this, but also was not given an answer. They restored the pages in the afternoon on July 23.
However, the NRA tends to shy away from addressing topical issues at times when its advocacy would probably be questioned, but widely distributes statements on public policy.
Gun Owners of America
GOA published a statement Friday afternoon saying, “Last night’s shooting in Aurora, Colorado was extremely tragic, as more than a dozen people were killed in another Gun Free Kill Zone.” And continued, “…the theater in Aurora reportedly has a “no guns” policy” (Citing the same forum as Ayoob).
And continued saying that the national media latches onto this tragedy — an event that has amassed numerous pro-gun control editorials and comments — while ignoring “stories where the good guy stops the perp!”
Certainly there’s only one person to blame here and it’s the shooter. It isn’t guns and it isn’t a system. But in order to prevent another tragedy like this there has to be some type of solution, but who is going to give it? Who is going to give a sensible answer? And who will listen?