|Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post|
Here's the positions that people will take in the aftermath of this event.
-- If there were less prohibitive concealed carry laws in Colorado, someone with a gun would have bravely stood up, managed to calm themselves enough to shoot, and take down, a man who was wearing body armor from HEAD TO FUCKING TOE and carrying multiple, military grade weapons, which I'm sure he wouldn't use to fire back at this brave Samaritan.
-- Stricter gun laws would prevent insane people from purchasing weapons that exist solely to kill humans. Probably a safe bet, but there is a counter to that argument.
-- As one friend on Facebook put it "There are millions of of responsible gun owners in the United States; people who are intent on violence will find ways to commit it."
True. But at what point does the "right" of Americans to own hand-held killing machines matter more than the rights of people to go to a movie theater, and watch a movie without worrying about a mentally unstable person loading up a fucking banana clip full of bullets and firing them off indiscriminately?
"But he could have killed people with the handgun, or the shotgun he was carrying," people will say. To which I say maybe, but it doesn't appear that either of those weapons was the one used to kill. No, James Holmes used a fucking AR-15 to mow down innocent people. In case you didn't know, that's the same gun used by members of our military to fight wars, and if you want one, all you have to do is head on over to East Peoria and ask the friendly folks at Bass Pro Shops to ring you up.
One of the last arguments you'll hear should be one of the first.
-- Holmes is obviously not right upstairs; something his own mother may have known. But states across the country are cutting services to the mentally impaired/disturbed. The following is from a story I wrote a few weeks back. The quote is from Len Deynzer, a 47-year veteran of law enforcement.
Deynzer says the state's budget woes, in some cases, have resulted in closures and reduced capacities of facilities that gave shelter and treatment to the mentally disturbed. Instead of being in facilities, they are sometimes out on the streets.
"You have to be able to handle the emotionally disturbed," Deynzer said. "If something goes awry, the department is negatively affected."
Granted, Deynzer is talking about liability concerns for cash-strapped police departments, that often cannot afford continuing education for their officers, but I think it goes to a larger point about the state of mental health in our society.
Check the comments on (probably) your local TV news' Facebook coverage of this event. Most of them call for Holmes' immediate execution; very few will note that this guy probably has some serious mental issues that were never properly addressed.
Perhaps this act of violence will make people take a closer look at services, like those for mental health, that are slated to be cut by federal, state and municipal governments.
And yeah, you shouldn't be able to walk into a box store, show your ID, wait a few days and walk out with a weapon that has the ability to kill dozens of people in mere minutes.
It seems so strange that a statement like that is considered by many to be an infringement of basic rights.