It's only been 24 hours since the deadly Theater shooting near Denver Colorado.
We don't yet know exactly what happened, and certainly not why - yet we've already had one set of fingers begin to point America's Lax Fear of God, while another set points at our Out of Control Gun Culture, while others think if only They Had A Gun in that Theater Too - the problem solved likety split (except for the Bulletproof Body Armor, and people running into the line of fire and such) and others consider whether the blame lies with The Movie Itself and Comics.
We're still in the midst of the throws of shock I know that. We're flailing about in panic. What we don't have - is a sense of perspective. And we desperately need it.
Let me quickly address the straw men one by one.
God does not scare Crazy People. I mean, he probably does - but not the way he might scare someone else. If we are dealing here with someone deeply disturbed ala Jared Loughner, then all logical arguments are out the window. Spiritual arguments are laying on the pavement under the window.
We are not going to see a dramatic push to address our lax gun laws. This isn't simply because of the overwhelming influence of the NRA. It's because the Gun Rights People have already won. They won a couple years ago with the Heller decision. They had their Roe v Wade and the Right to Bear Arms has now been codified by the Supreme Court as a Personal Right that can not be Removed by the State.
That horse is out of the barn and down the road.
This is what Eric Holder said during his Confirmation Hearing about Heller.
Holder: We're in a whole new world nowIn Heller the SCOTUS found that within "federal enclaves" such as Washington D.C. that handgun bans were a violation of the 2nd Amendment, and that requirements for trigger locks were unconstitutional.
You can't even require that if someone buys a gun - that they have to take steps to keep it safe from unauthorized use. So just what can you do?
Not that much.
On the issue of whether someone else who could have been armed in that theater would have been able to halt or curtail this shooting? What happens when someone with a handgun goes up against someone with a fully-automatic rifle, shotgun and body armor?
This is what happens.
Dozens of Officers responded to the North Hollywood Bank Robbery, the Suspects were better armed than the cops and armored. It was not a fair fight.
Some gung-ho gun carrier in that theater was not gonna go all Wanted/Mr & Mrs Smith and take out the bad guy with one crack shot. Trained Cops couldn't do it, Marines probably couldn't do it - You CAN'T.
On the issue of whether this event is the fault of Comics or Movies. I've written a lengthy comment which discusses the fact that our Comics have been Censored for the Past 50 Years with only a handful of exceptions in the Direct Market. When you contrast that with the completely Uncensored Manga Comics of Japan, or the relatively Uncensored Television of Europe the causal link between our Media and our level the real life violence in our streets doesn't really hold as a correlation.
I don't think this is the fault of God, or a lack of God, or Guns or a lack of Guns or Comics or Movies or Comics about Mass Murderers or Movies about Guns and Bombs and/or God.
It's James Holmes Fault.
Let's first wrap our heads around that.
Secondly I'd like to say we need to get a grip.
I'm not trying to dismiss anyone's despair, or their horror, or their pain, or their loss.
But truthfully, this happens almost everyday. Maybe it doesn't happen to people in a nice Denver Suburb. Maybe it happens to people who on a certain level, are expecting it and therefore aren't nearly as surprised and shocked when it happens.
But it happens.
From where I sit at work, the front window looks directly out toward a Mortuary across the street. This isn't the only mortuary within five blocks, there are at least two others because their business is booming in this neighborhood. I CAN'T COUNT the number of funeral processions I've seen going by - just this year, and my deepest suspicious is that most of those people may not have been 25 years old when they passed. About 15 feet from where I sit, just about a year and half ago a teenager was shot dead on the side walk. Our surveillance cameras picked up the shooting. I had to help LAPD CSI retrieve the footage.
Just one block north of that mortuary is a little motel. The same motel is where the shotgun murder of an entire family took place, a murder that Crips Founder Tookie Williams was convicted and executed for.
When I was a kid everybody told me I should watch out for the Hoover Crips. Back then, which was in the 70's, they might steal your lunch money or beat you up.
Where I work is on a border line between one gang territory and another. It's also a border line between law enforcement agencies. On my side of the street it's LAPD. On the other side it's LA County Sheriffs. A lot falls between the cracks on that border.
Working here I've discovered a sad little cottage industry. Memorial T-Shirts for the Slain. Kids don't expect to die at 17 years-old. Their parents don't buy them Life Insurance that early, so if and when they die - they have no money to pay for the burial by places like the mortuary across the street. They make Hagiographic "Rest In Peace" - "In Loving Memory" shirts in order to pay for the funeral.
I've seen and helped make a lot of those. A lot.
Aurora was a tragedy. But not as big a tragedy as the shooting last year by Anders Breivik in Norway.
(Text is from different link, couldn't find it again)
Mr. Breivik has acknowledged planting a bomb in central Oslo on July 22, 2011, that exploded, killing eight people, and then traveling the same day to the island of Utoya, where he shot 69 people, mostly teenagers, belonging to the youth wing of the governing Labour Party. He has insisted that he was and is sane; that he killed in self-defense, carrying out what he called his “operation” to combat the “Islamic colonization” of Europe; and that an insanity judgment would detract from his cause.
By comparison to that, Aurora was lucky.
But not as lucky as the ACLU and Tides Foundation a couple years previously when Byron Williams tried to murder them, but was stopped by the Highway Patrol.
OAKLAND, CA (KGO) -- Oakland police say I-580 shootout suspect Byron Williams was headed to San Francisco to commit mass murder when he was stopped by the California Highway Patrol. He made his first court appearance Tuesday.Just like Breivik and Holmes, Williams was armed to the teeth - and armored. Ready for fight and willing to shoot cops (which he did).
And that's really lucky compared to the 77 U.S. Troops we lost last year in a single bombing
9-12-11: Reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan — The massive Taliban truck bomb that exploded outside an American military base in a restive eastern district injured nearly 80 U.S. troops and killed five Afghans, Western and Afghan officials said Sunday.And by pure body count, that's clearly a far more harsh tragedy than what happened in Pakistan a couple weeks ago.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place Saturday evening in the Sayedabad district of Wardak province. That is the same district where insurgents last month shot down a U.S. Chinook helicopter, killing 30 American troops, the majority of them Navy SEALs, including some from the unit responsible for killing Osama bin Laden.
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (Reuters) - The death toll from a drone strike in northeastern Pakistan has risen to 19, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Saturday.We expect death in war. We expect death in crime and poverty stricken cities. We've reached a point were we don't even blink when this happens in those places. We don't bat an eye. It doesn't stay on the News cycle for a nano-second.
Twelve people were originally reported dead in Friday's strike on a compound in the Dhattakel region in North Waziristan.
Public anger over U.S. drone attacks has helped inflame tensions between Pakistan and the United States.
We don't expect it in quiet suburbs like Aurora, CO. But it COMES.
And when it does, we lose all perspective. We become obsessed with "How can it happen here?", "Why did it happen here?"
It's almost as if the value of those lives lost unexpectedly are somehow greater than any others. We lost 12 people in Aurora. Where's the wall-to-wall coverage for what's happening in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria or right here on our own City Streets? No where, that's where.
For all the families of the dead and injured on either side of a Global Conflict. The pain of loss is the same. For every gang-banger, mistaken gang-banger, teenager on his way home from 7-11 with some Skittles and an Ice-T, every bystander caught in the cross-fire, babies sleeping in their crib hit by a stray bullet, children playing as a Hellfire Missile Lands on the make shift goal post their using to play Soccer with -- whether it's the Unibomber, Oklahoma City, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood, Columbine or someone like Eric Robert Rudolph's Olympic Park Bomb or his bombing of a Lesbian Nightclub, or a Women's Health Clinic - The Loss to the Injured and Survivors Is The Same!
All Lives are Precious. All Death is Horrible.
Expected or Unexpected.
But we don't treat every death the same do we?
While we ponder the why's and wherefore's of this particular horror, we could do well to keep that in mind.
That's one perspective, I think we're missing.