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writing for godot

“BECAUSE I FELT LIKE IT . . .”

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Written by Wilma Howe-Bennett   
Friday, 20 July 2012 09:27
I, like the rest of the world today, woke up to the sickening events in Aurora, Colorado. I lone gunman went to the movie opening of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and shot up the theatre, killing 12 people and injuring 59 more. He wasn’t trying to commit “suicide by cop”, either – he surrendered without a fight. So, what’s the reasoning behind his actions?

Let me say at this point that I am a member of a group called PINK PISTOLS, which is a GLBT shooting club that is also a member of the NRA. I take my 2nd Amendment rights very seriously; the one recourse that all people of the United States have access to combat tyranny is the right to keep and bear arms. However, an armed citizenry and a RESPONSIBLE, well-educated citizenry are two separate things. Most people aren’t psychologically capable of shooting to wound or kill even in defense of their lives.

I know a lot of people that think that gun control laws in this country are too draconian and far too strict. They believe and often say that they should have the right to have any sort of gun that they want to have, up to and including automatic weapons with ammunition drums, to defend themselves from . . . whatever. A lot of the ill-informed also use those automatic weapons to hunt creatures like deer and so on. I won’t debate the merits of using an automatic weapon on an herbivore, since I bow-hunt. The fact remains that using an automatic weapon for anything other than its’ designed purpose is pretty stupid.

Check out what an automatic weapon is designed to do: Throw multiple rounds at a fast rate of speed at a designated target that is moving quickly. Well, that makes it OK to use for hunting, right? Wrong. An automatic weapon is designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to disable, wound or kill a very dangerous predator, another human being. That’s its’ only purpose. That is the rationale behind the armed services having such weapons. Even if a person armed with an automatic weapon doesn’t kill or wound the person or people that she/he is shooting at, just the sound of the weapon’s firing is enough to scare that person into taking cover.

Most people that have and use automatic weapons haven’t taken a gun safety course, they don’t know how to effectively use such a weapon, and, in most cases, they think that using the weapon means treating it like a garden hose and spraying the bullets around. Thus, we have the horrific massacres in places like Afghanistan, or Iraq, or Chechnya – or Aurora, Colorado.

It’s easy to squall and bawl about our 2nd Amendment rights – but what about our 2nd Amendment RESPONSIBILITIES? We have the right to keep and bear arms, and very few checks on who is allowed to buy and keep them. The only check required in most states is that licensed gun dealers must keep up-to-date records of their gun sales, including the name, address and occupation of the person to whom they sell the weapon and request a background check on anyone buying a gun. The NRA shrieked to high heaven when the Brady Bill requiring a 3 day waiting period and a background check became law – and that was just for HANDGUNS. Professor Paul Campos of the University of Colorado Law School had this to say about the tragedy (http://www.salon.com/topic/gun_control/page/2/): “Today, murder in Aurora, CO. is an interesting topic.”

Yup, I guess that you could characterize this as an “interesting topic.” Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas had this to say about the tragedy (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/20/louie-gohmert-aurora-shootings_n_1689099.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular): “Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that the shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater hours earlier were a result of "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs" and questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter.”

What a chuckle-headed fool. If anybody else had had a gun, all that probably would have happened would have been that far MORE people would have gotten hurt and killed. Just because a person has the Constitutionally-protected RIGHT to keep and bear arms, DOES NOT MEAN that that person has the right to open fire in response to a perceived or real attack. That’s just like yelling “FIRE” in a crowded enclosure. More people are hurt and killed trying to get OUT of the enclosure than are ever saved.

And what about the shooter? What about HIS reasons for doing what he did?

I expect that he’s going to try and plead insanity, and what he did was certainly insane. By any definition of insanity, he was unbalanced to even contemplate what he eventually wound up doing. However, he planned what he did with immaculate precision. Apparently, from the early reports, he had been planning to do something like this ever since he dropped out of medical school in May. And, in my view at least, that makes him sane. I also expect that, when all is said and done, his reason is going to be something along the lines of “I felt like it”, or “because I could.”

How contemptible.

My heart goes out to the parents and families of those who died this day, and to those whose loved ones are still alive. I wish that there was something that I could do to mitigate their pain and sorrow. There isn’t – and there never will be.
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0 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-07-21 11:20
Thank you Wilma Howe-Bennett as a gun club member for your fresh air on the gun issue. I have something similar to reach people and change minds. But since you are a gun owner I will tailgate your blog post
George Zimmerman's right to follow people around in a way many of those followed found threatening was his membership in town watch. If he had a suit or a guard outfit on, Trayvon Martin would have less reason to think he was about to be mugged and felt he had to defend himself. Zimmerman might have well been a rouge undercover cop who was told to stop looking for hidden illegal weapons in a extensive legal collection and ending up shooting in self-defense the way a bank robber would shoot before a security guard aiming a gun at him shot first.
Most killing is some sort of self-defense. So the issue is legal or illegal self-defense. What is now driving more servicemen batty then in past wars is that today far fewer of them were in fear for their lives when they were told or expected to start shooting.
So a gun owner defending George Zimmerman is defending a rouge police, or other official, being around the gun owner in a threatening way, and ending up killing the gun owner.

However arresting Zimmerman's wife and high bail makes gun owners less identify with Trayvon Martin who was killed because he wasn't a pacifist and decided to defend himself.

Let's try to persuade instead of to try to make those we disagree with do what we want.
 
 
0 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-07-23 05:48
Some in the NRA differ with Howe-Bennett believing that if gun owners were in the theater less lives would have been lost. However, James Holmes was covered with body armor and threw tear gas which clouds vision which would have prevented a gun owner up close from shooting at his face.

His booby trapped apartment meant that had to feds trailed him because of his many gun purchases they would have been zapped. The only way to stop future James Holmes, highly skilled and success motivated people who can only find a job at McDonald’s and then decided that if they can't be a success being good then they will be successful at being bad, is to inform them that there are highly skilled jobs in India that pay McDonald's wages. Some of them could have let James Holmes work from his computer at home.

If guns were outlawed clearly he would have used chemicals and explosives. However like the Weathermen he might have killed himself by accident. Outlawing automatics and one gun a month rules such as Philadelphia tried to pass but was througted by the state, would have delayed even stopped some of the deaths.

We need a conference preferably in a locked room where gun advocates and gun control advocates could try to work out a compromise.
 
 
0 # RICHARDKANEpa 2012-07-23 21:30
I thought it over and now I doubt Wilma Howe-Bennett's assumption that banning assault rifles would have saved a lot of lives in this incident. James Holmes was determined to represent pure evil and wouldn’t be satisfied to plan a few deaths. In case he was being tailed by the Fed's he when he left that morning a tape suddenly blasted loud music so that anyone tailing him would have a legal excuse to break in. He threw tear gas so any gun owner in the theater eyes blurred by gas wouldn't be inclined to aim at an air hose or other venerable breaks in his armor, and if they shot at him and he wasn't hurt most would fire rapidly as soon as Holmes aimed a gun back at them.

He always wanted to be a success listening for hours to the canned cheers as he played guitar hero on a fake guitar. Getting good grades in hard subjects like neurology. But since he thought that the most prestigious job he could get was at MacDonalds he decided to succeed at being evil. What would have stopped him and any future copy cats is to mention that he could have sent his resume to India and got a highly skilled job at below Mac Donald's wages, perhaps working from his computer in the US.
 
 
0 # ilenewells 2012-10-25 11:32
James Holmes hS schizophrenia and was acting on his delusions. Had their been tighter gun control laws he may have resorted to driving his care into a crowded market.

The way to prevent these tragedies is to invest in research for earlier interventions, better medications and other forms of treatment, more facilities in which patents can be treated, more humanely, and safely, and more and better permanent supportive housing needs to be available.

Please share this with your gun owning friends. I support the 2nd amendment, but i support sensible gun control laws too. However, gun control laws are not the issue here.

Ilene Flannery Wells
Paul's Legacy Project
www.paulslegacyproject,org

Please see the article on this site entitled "Better Treatment, Not Just Gun Control, is the Real Answer"
 

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