It’s been a few days since the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre, where a neuroscience dropout killed at least a dozen people at a showing of Dark Knight Rises. The blogosphere has been churning away in the meantime, doing what it does best: collating, aggregating, live-blogging and synthesizing the information that the media has been producing; sorting reactions and likewise reacting; and teasing out details that the media missed or glossed over.
The gunman, James Holmes, carried four weapons — two .40 Glocks, a Remington 870 12-gauge single-barrel pump action shotgun, and a Smith & Wesson AR-15 semi-auto rifle for which he apparently had a drum clip that held 100 rounds. All told, he had over six thousand rounds of ammo for his various weapons. He was well armored, with ballistic helmet and gas mask, tactical gloves, and vest, with groin and neck protection. He began his assault by breaking through the theater’s back door during the first action sequence, tossing two gas grenades (unknown what kind of gas — possibly tear gas), then opening fire. All of his armaments were obtained legally.
Holmes had his hair painted red, and claimed to be The Joker. The media did not bite on calling him The Joker, though he’s apparently done some rather fiendish things, like booby-trapping his apartment with explosives leading police to have to disarm it all to get in and search his place. No real motives have yet been uncovered.
Among the killed was a six year old girl, and an aspiring sportscaster who coincidentally narrowly avoided a shooting in a Toronto mall last month.
Police are ratcheting up security at movie theatres throughout the States in response to this event. It has been determined that there are no terrorism links — the cynic in me thinks, “because he wasn’t a brown person”, and “because he was a Christian”. Some well-meaning religious folks are doing the same familiar bits of prejudicial presumption we see every time there’s a tragedy on this scale. And religious bigots are out in droves, all of them with their own pet theories as to who REALLY deserves the blame for this atrocity.
Flip Benham blames the Democrats.
Fred Jackson blames the media and liberal churches, and God’s rage about gays.
Bryan Fischer blames the removal of school prayer and the Ten Commandments from public schools.
Jerry Newcombe blames the public’s lack of fear of Hell.
Pat McEwen blames the DNC.
Matt Barber blames abortions and God’s rage that they happen.
Greg Stier blames Adam. Yes, of Adam and Eve.
Senator Russell Pearce blames a cowardly audience for letting it happen. And you knew that one was coming — if everyone was armed, then more bullets would have solved the problem. (Or hit more people in the crossfire as a result.)
None of them blamed guns.
None of them blamed a gun culture that has deposed zero tyrants and killed innumerable people for being different, or for merely being in the way of the bullet.
I do not understand the apologetics that swarm out of the woodwork whenever someone on the outside of US gun culture looking in wonders, “why should you be able to buy a 100-round drum clip for an assault rifle as a private citizen?” Or “why should you be able to buy three thousand rounds of ammo for a gun and nobody blinks an eye?” Or “how did a delusional psychopath stock himself up for a killing spree and carry it out with nobody the wiser?”
Or the big one: how did “a well-regulated militia” come to mean “the right to obtain a large amount of weaponry so as to commit wide-scale mass murder at the drop of a hat?”
Or the other big one: why is everyone so blasé about this killing spree? I mean, everyone’s going through the motions about how big a tragedy it is — everyone’s “shocked” and “saddened” but nobody’s tying it together with all the other killing sprees we’ve seen in recent years. Is it because they happen too often to get worked up about every one? Is it because we’re intentionally blinding ourselves to the possibility that there’s a pattern here that we can easily recognize, that might question the wisdom of the entire culture you’ve built in the States?
Is it because change is hard? Harder to change the culture you’re steeped in, even, than grieving the losses of each big event while pretending each is an isolated incident?