Another psycho. Another tragedy burned into our collective minds that will be referenced against the inevitable “next time,” when yet another psyche cracks, and despite all odds—after all the violent video games, movies and evening news broadcasts—we find it in ourselves to somehow still be shocked and horrified.
The mass murder in Aurora, Colo., was immediately framed against Columbine High School’s madness and the Fort Hood, Texas, massacre. And once we were able to close our mouths, slackened with disbelief (if just for a moment), and the impulse to shed a tear was no longer present, body counts were compared almost like sports scores, and the heart of American culture beat on.
And in the aftermath? We seek legislation.
Politicians and activists are in high gear to figure out how we can prevent this from ever, ever happening again—and what better way to solve all problems than to write another law. (And if that law already exists? Not a problem; they’ll “amend” it.)
In Aurora’s case, it’s already starting. They are dissecting how a 24-year-old intelligent person with no criminal background could have ever purchased a gun. “Madness!” they say with clenched, raised fists. “How could he have been allowed to purchase these guns?!”
Oh, we know now that he was seeing a shrink, but it would be an invasion of privacy and “mean-hearted” for a shrink to put him on a dreaded “list” saying he may just be too crazy to buy a gun. We have to keep the feelings and rights of crazy people intact after all, even if that means we can’t do the one thing that would keep someone exhibiting signs of madness from buying a gun. So since we can’t risk hurt feelings, we have to take away the guns.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave an extremely rare interview to Fox News Channel and touched on the topic of the (rightly) feared 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. While this amendment clearly indicates that we do, in fact, have the right to bear arms, he brought up something I hadn’t considered before and pointed out that this specifically refers to weapons that can be held by human hands. That is why owning a tank is not constitutionally protected. You can’t “bear” it. Clever, eh?
But what choice do we (the politicians and anti-gun lobby) have? We can’t waste a perfectly good tragedy without making symbolic moves!
This veritable circus continues, all the while ignoring the fact that murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault are already laws on the books that don’t prevent either Jack or shit (except to the lawful), and legal gun purchases by lawful owners are not the problem. As a cop subject to getting shot to the point I actually have to wear body armor under a dress shirt, I can say that I don’t just support legal gun ownership, I encourage it.
The “blame the gun” crowd only hurts lawful, sane people. If James Holmes wanted an AR-15, he didn’t need a gun store. And the 32 oz. Big Gulp New York Nanny-Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to ban didn’t make kids fat any more than a spoon gave me a body mass index that matches my blood alcohol level on a Saturday night.
In short? James Holmes wasn’t following the law that night. So, why do we expect creating a new one or amending an existing one would help prevent this?
Hindsight being 20/20, only two things come to mind that would have prevented him from his rampage that night: The ability to realistically deal with “crazy people” when they’re identified, or a lawful gun owner in that crowd.
(I look forward to your hate mail. XOXO.)
Alex Teach is a full-time police officer of nearly 20 years experience. The opinions expressed are his own. Follow him on Facebook at facebook.com/alex.teach.