Tragedy in Aurora (A Little Political)

This morning I heard news about the horrific tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. You can read the article on if you want more information. An armed man entered a theater full of patrons who were watching The Dark Knight Rises midnight showing. He wore a gas mask. After he entered, he threw tear gas into the theater. He then proceeded to shoot, killing 12 and wounding 50 people. The  descriptions of terror given by the victims horrified me. They also made me so very, very angry.

What in the world possessed this man to take the lives of so many people into his hands? What made him so disturbed that he felt the need to perpetrate so much destruction? Who made him the person who chooses who gets to live and who dies?

I know that mental illness causes people to do commit atrocities and that, sometimes, we don’t discover the motivation behind such acts. He may not even know directly why he broke. It just isn’t fair. Those people were excited to see a movie that they’ve probably been waiting a while to see. They stayed up all night, waiting in long lines, and enjoying the comradeship that comes with being around other fans. Families, friends, and strangers were drawn closer together because of the time spent in anticipation of the opening of this movie. So much synergy destroyed by a single act of violence.

I have never been one who advocates gun control. My family is from the country. Usually hunting and country go hand in hand. My husband has guns; he was in the military and hunts on occasion. I’ve been around guns for as long as I can remember. I have chosen not to have my own guns because it never really interested me. The thing is, gun safety has always, always been taught and we are doing the same with our daughter. Respecting the power of firearms is the only way to be safe around them. Now, though, I wonder if anyone focuses on that anymore. Should there be stricter rules for owning a gun? Should there be a limit on how many guns a person can own? Should a psych evaluation be required?

This is the third time in my life that I’ve asked these questions. (Political viewpoint coming up, bear with me.) I am not big into governmental control over certain things. Growing up around so many responsible owners of firearms gave me a sense of security. If everyone was like my family then there would be no need to control guns. I am doubting that now. There have been entirely too many instances of mass murder by one person with guns. Where do we draw the line? I am not saying that guns should be banned. I think they are entirely too easy to acquire. I don’t have the answer about how to fix this problem, though I wish I did.

Then I started thinking about what people will say about this tragedy. Right now it is fresh, but in a week or two, it will be over. There will be another event somewhere that makes this one fade. That is when the comments will come, making light out of the situation. I know that humor is a way for people to deal with input that their minds are having difficulty processing. What about those who have lost family and loved ones? This will NEVER be humorous to them. Ever.

I know people who had family involved in the Columbine shootings. One of my friends used to coach swimming there. Her mother worked at Columbine when the shootings occurred 13 years ago. She still cannot talk about it because the pain is so close to her heart. You can see it in her eyes. Our students were babies when the shootings happened. They sometimes joke about another Columbine. It is not real to them and therefore it is a source of macabre humor. They don’t know how much it hurts.

I guess the point of this rambling post is that we should not forget this. There has to be something we can do to prevent events like this occurring. I don’t want to live in a world where fear permeates every thing we do. I refuse to be afraid.

13 thoughts on “Tragedy in Aurora (A Little Political)

  1. So perfectly stated! I agree 100%. I didn’t grow up around guns, my family never had them in our home. My first experience around guns was on a camping trip in high school with my best friend’s family. All of them are NRA members and very responsible gun owners! They taught me about guns and gun safety and I am truly thankful.

    I too am very sad and angry that these mass shootings keep happening. I lived in Tucson when Gabbi Gifford’s was shot…I still get very sad whenever they show her or talk about her in the media. The sadness could be felt in the air for days, it is something I will never forget. I agree…something needs to be done to better prevent this from happening. I refuse to live in fear!

    • I know it would never happen, but don’t you think it would be a good idea to have a gun safety class during junior high or high school? Imagine if everyone had knowledge of what a gun could do and how to treat guns with respect? Education can prevent so much.

  2. I feel the same way – I grew up with people who knew how to handle guns, safely, and was taught how to handle them safely myself. I have a healthy respect for them due to being brought up with them, and I can hit whatever I’m aiming at if given one, too. So, yeah. It kills me that it even comes down to having to possibly ban them, due to things like this, because there are people who are responsible with them. But there has to be some sort of solution. Like you, I don’t know what it is. I wish I did. My heart just aches whenever something like this happens.

    • It baffles me when people don’t use guns respectfully. There is so much power there– how could you not? I just don’t get it.

      My heart is still hurting. I have only been able to look at and reply to comments today because the thought of revisiting it hurt so much.

  3. I don’t see the need for anyone to be able to get their hands on an assault rifle. But I am not a powerful lobby.
    I think in a country this large we will always have these sorts of things happen. There will always be random horrific violence like this.
    I don’t really see an answer for this. I wish I did.
    Thanks for writing such an eloquent post.

    • Exactly– even hunters don’t need an assault rifle. Why would the average person ever need a gun with so much power? Because they want one is not an answer that satisfies me. I agree that we’re always going to have random violence and it makes me sad.

      As ever, thank you so much for stopping by.

  4. Like the word “feminism,” the phrase “gun control” is tainted by decades of people with an angenda treating it like an obscenity. “Gun control” doesn’t mean “the government is coming for your guns.” It means that people should have to prove that they’re mentally capable of bearing the responsibilities that come with owning a gun. We don’t let people walk into the DMV and walk out with a driver’s license just because they paid for it. There are classes and tests of various kinds involved. Cars aren’t made to kill, but they often do, so as a society we’ve decided that we need to make certain that anyone who gets behind the wheel is competent. Notably, there is no powerful lobby in place that wishes to ensure everyone’s “right” to drive a car no matter what their mental capacity. Guns, on the other hand, are made to kill and they do have a powerful lobby behind them. There are a lot of very rich people who are afraid they won’t get richer if we don’t let anyone with a Visa card walk into a gun shop and walk out the same day with a shiny new killing machine. And they use fear to promote their agenda–fear that if you let us, the lefties will take your guns away and leave you defenseless against everyone but criminals who obtain guns illegally.

    “Gun control” simply means passing laws that ensure public safety the same way we’ve done with cars. I think it’s important that we make the distinction in order to counter those who have turned it into a dirty word.

    • I agree with you. I guess one of the elements that frightens me so is having the wrong people in charge of the tests and classes it would take to purchase a gun. I guess I don’t really trust ANYONE in power right now.

  5. I too am so troubled by this. Nicole & Ashok live there. They are in India now and they probably wouldn’t have been at this movie if they were home, but I’m sure they would have been working, since they both work at the hospital there. Are there no safe places to go for a few hours of enjoyment?

    • I didn’t even think about them having to work after this tragedy. I can’t imagine how horrifying it would be to deal with so much destruction.

  6. A thoughtful post, Elizabeth. What do we do? Is there a real way to guard against “crazy?” The person that did this was educated, he knew better—in spades he knew better. I’m not letting him off the hook, but something went very, very wrong in his mind. Could this “something” have been identified by someone paying attention and this hideous crime averted? I don’t know. . . .

    • I do believe that, if we had a better mental health system, more of these types of catastrophes could be averted. I know how difficult is has been (and still is) for me to get the medicine I need to keep my chemistry balanced. Also, if it had not been for my husband, I might never have noticed that I was not behaving as a typical person would. I needed someone who I trusted to point it out to me.

      There is such a stigma surrounding mental health. It makes me sad because we’re all “screwed” up in one way or another.

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