Gun Laws & Violence
The news about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado was tragic on so many levels. Here was a night throngs of movie goers were so excited about as they went to view the much talked about, "The dark Knight Rises". The hype about the movie in previous weeks leading up to its release including how much it was expected to generate in box office revenues was staggering to say the least. Yet, the projections were probably not being exaggerated (about $200 million domestically so far at this writing) given the trend of the previous flick in the franchise. Watching press reports and learning about the 12 victims killed and the 58 others wounded makes it even more difficult to wrap one's mind around the fact that it was perpetrated by a neuroscience student, James Holmes. Can you imagine being in a theater to simply watch a movie and then seeing a man in full riot gear, brandishing weapons, pelting smoke bombs into the crowded movie hall and then discharging an assault rifle, shotgun and a handgun simultaneously indiscriminately? Scary. I am not able in my wildest imagination to feel what it was like or even begin to understand the fear, horror and disbelief of the people who were victimized that way. More chilling are the details coming out about the meticulous planning Holmes put into executing his monstrous plans. He even allegedly wrote all about the scenario that played out that night in a notebook sent to the University of Colorado prior to the attack. If that is not a premeditated act I want to know what is. Additionally, this young man even rigged his apartment with explosives and then proceed to blare loud techno music making sure he kept the door ajar with the hope that someone would enter therein and be blown to smithereens. Sad indeed. Well, what about the issue of gun laws and making sure they are strengthened? Why should it be so easy for anyone to get a gun in many States but not so much when it comes to say getting a bank loan or owning a home? Prioritization needs to be readjusted by society surely. Federal as well as State laws need to be more stringent when it comes to gun ownership and usage and extremely harsh on a perpetrator once a crime is committed with a firearm. In this case, Holmes' mother was even said to have confirmed that authorities had "the right man" upon her son's arrest. It is tragic that even though this family had an inkling about his likely unstable mental status they did not take any concrete action to ensure Holmes had the necessary psychiatric help. This man obviously has some major issues that probably render him mentally imbalanced as one could deduce from his initial court appearance with that shocking orange yellow hair and those dead, lifeless blank staring eyes the world witnessed on TV. Could this disaster have been averted? Most likely. Every time such incidents occur, we all go back and play over in our minds time and again what we could have done differently as family members, as classmates, as co-workers, as neighbors, as a society to have prevented that one person from unraveling and striking such a fatal blow. Let's begin by urging our legislators to enact stronger, harsher laws as it relates to gun ownership. The process of owning a gun of any kind should be a marathon and not a sprint. The individual should be thoroughly investigated before being cleared to buy the gun(s). Additionally, there must be increased and more stringent punishment for persons found guilty in competent judicial courts of committing violence using guns. These are deadly weapons that society will be better off without in my opinion. I understand the need and importance of protecting oneself and the family in say their home if threatened directly as in a home invasion or burglary. However, when it spills out into the realm of public space, it sadly becomes an invasion of the rights of others and endangers their lives as we have seen in this case in Colorado and elsewhere over the years. Our politicians should stop making it a time for politics as usual and come out clearly and unequivocally on one side or the other of the debate on enacting stronger gun laws and handing down harsher punishment for gun violence crimes in society. May the souls of those lost in this latest tragedy rest in peace.