Unexpected?

Tuesday evening, just before 7, a huge tree fell half a mile from where I once lived.  A man, who seconds before had been simply sitting in traffic, died when the tree crashed down on him as he sat in his car.  It was a tragedy that could happen to any one at any time.  Unexpected.

Photo Fairfax Police courtesy of The Washington Post

What happened next?  Well, the tree’s twin across the way was cut down.  Arborists are looking at nearby old, big trees, checking their health, determining if these trees, too, are dangerous.  If so, they will be cut.

Of course that’s what they’re doing.

They are protecting human life.  It’s the logical next step following such a tragedy.  Of course, there will be traffic snarls and hassles as the old diseased trees are culled.  It will be a huge pain for commuters.  But, you know, that’s OK.  I and just about everybody accepts a bit of inconvenience if it means that someone else won’t die.  (Which doesn’t mean we won’t all grumble, natch.)

It’s the same with other stuff, too.

In the 60s and 70s, it became clear that fatalities in automobile accidents could be prevented by using seat belts.  They became mandatory after a series of Swedish studies demonstrated that fatalities were dramatically reduced when car occupants involved in an accident had buckled up.  Seat belts protect folks.  Last year in this post  I provided some statistics on the benefits of seat belts:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest statistics state that 15,147 Americans survived accidents in 2007 that would have been fatal without seat belts.  That’s a lot of people saved by a law that doesn’t really inconvenience us all that much.

We do a lot of things to keep ourselves and our families safe.  Of course we do.  And when the danger comes from the unknown?  Well, that’s when we ratchet up our actions to protect ourselves.  It’s common sense.

Remember the Tylenol Murders?  Twenty years ago, Tylenol, laced with cyanide, killed seven people in the Chicago area.  The murders were never solved.  But they did change our lives.  Every time I struggle to open a package of virtually anything purchased in the United States, I think of that bastard, those murders.  I hope he/she has a horrible case of rheumatoid arthritis in his/her hands and therefore has even more trouble opening those damn packages than the rest of us.  I also hope they catch him/her.

It’s common sense to react protectively, isn’t it.  It’s what we do as a species.  It’s part of our evolutionary trajectory.  It is the manifestation of the problem solver in all of us.  Stay alive.  Protect.  Survive.

Well, that’s usually true.

Unless, of course, there is a random lunatic with a gun.  Then, well, logic and common sense are suspended as we all enter the Twilight Zone.

 

Yes, when a guy (and they do all seem to be guys) who gets a bunch of guns (as in lethal weapons) and kills people, randomly, or by specifically targeting individuals, well then we double down on the 2nd Amendment.  WE PROTECT HIS RIGHT TO DO IT!  We let it happen again.  And then, when it happens again, we are shocked, shocked.

Yup, when we should be shouting “STOP THIS MADNESS!” we instead cow-tow to the National Rifle Association and to the cowboys who are oh-so-sure that if they had only been there with their gun, well, then the outcome would be way different.  If only ….

Bullshit.  It is a fantasy.

Remember when Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot?  Nineteen people were shot that day at a local grocery story when a crazy person opened fire.

Did you know that seconds/minutes after the shooting, a man carrying his own gun came out of the store and saw somebody holding a gun on a man?  Yeah, it’s true.  Here’s a smidge of the story:

[Joe] Zamudio was in a nearby drug store when the shooting began, and he was armed. He ran to the scene and helped subdue the killer. Television interviewers are celebrating his courage, and pro-gun blogs are touting his equipment. “Bystander Says Carrying Gun Prompted Him to Help,” says the headline in the Wall Street Journal.

But before we embrace Zamudio’s brave intervention as proof of the value of being armed, let’s hear the whole story. “I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready,” he explained on Fox and Friends. “I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this.” Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. “And that’s who I at first thought was the shooter,” Zamudio recalled. “I told him to ‘Drop it, drop it!'”

But the man with the gun wasn’t the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. “Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess,” the interviewer pointed out.

Yeah.  A big, fat mess.  Mr. Zamudi would have added to the carnage, not helped.  BECAUSE HE DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAS GOING ON.

When a tragedy like today’s shooting in Aurora, Colorado, happens, there is only one person who knows pretty much what’s happening – the shooter.  Yeah, the bad guy.  Everybody else is reacting.

And no matter how cool, how brave, how well meaning a would be hero is in a situation, the sane gun owner is unlikely to shoot first.  And if he/she doesn’t, the bad guy will.  And unlike in the movies, in real life, you can’t just get back up.

It is really time that we all just accept the passing of the Cowboy Era.  We have accepted other similar passings:  The Middle Ages, The Age of Kings, The Age of Exploration.  The Teen Years.  Besides, the last gunfight at the OK Corral happened already.  You missed it.  Get over it.  Move on.

How many more massacres are we going to allow before we stop folks from buying assault weapons, multiple guns that can kill multiple people?  How many more deaths will it take?

We changed how every item we use every single day is packaged.  Because of SEVEN deaths from tainted TylenolWe took action to prevent the eighth and the eighth didn’t happen.

What’s the death toll from these random acts of violence with guns?  At last count, it was, ummm, more than twelve.  And that’s just for today.

What will it take for us to come to our senses?

Mr. Saturday night special
Got a barrel that’s blue and cold
Ain’t no good for nothin’
But put a man six feet in a hole

84 Comments

Filed under Criminal Activity, Elections, Gun control, History, Hypocrisy, Law, Politics, Stupidity, Traffic

84 responses to “Unexpected?

  1. John Erickson

    I’m torn on this one. The 2nd Amendment TECHNICALLY only allows us guns in lieu of a militia (which also includes the US Army). However, I do own guns from my re-enacting days, and would have felt justified in using one a couple times. (One time I actually had a sword in hand – yeah, a sword. Face it, they never jam, and they’re always loaded.)
    BUT – and like mine, a big one – I have been trained by several ex-military, including a gent who used to jump out of perfectly good airplanes for a living.
    My two cents would be the following. 1) Standardize gun laws across the country. Here in Ohio I could buy a machine gun if I had the spare cash, with VERY little effort. Back in Chicago, I had to sign my life away, in terms of permits and paperwork, just to get a bolt-action rifle. Yet in Chicago, with some of the strictest gun laws in the country, people are being shot to death EVERY weekend, often with illegal weapons. 2) Mandate a gun license (again, nationwide), and force people to take classes before buying ANYTHING. Use the fees from registration to open a national database so you can track guns EVERYWHERE.
    And before my fellow commenters open fire on me, I come from a very conservative family, used to vote Republican before the Tea Party idiots rose,and do support people owning common-sense weapons. Who, but a total moron, hunts a deer with an AK? What the heck does a civilian need with a full-auto Uzi or Browning Automatic Rifle? (We military re-enactors use blanks. Most of the bang, none of the killing potential.)
    Let the contrasting viewpoints commence! :D

    • Thanks, John. You brought up a lot of the points I had thought of but ended up not putting in because my thoughts went in a different directions.

      There is nothing wrong with someone owning a gun for protection, for hunting. While I don’t do these things, I get it. Different strokes, etc. But your point is why does a civilian need an Automatic Rifle? Why aren’t there uniform laws? Why aren’t we trying to protect people from the crazies while preserving the Constitution. The Constitution, BTW doesn’t stop registration…

      So thanks John, for the thoughtful and helpful comment.

  2. If I was a mean person, I would point my sister to this post. She loves to attack people who attack our right to bear arms (as in, kill unsuspecting innocent people with automatic weapons). It doesn’t help that her son is a Marine, or that her entire family regularly chooses target practice (by gun and crossbow) as their recreational activity of choice. Her and I go around and around and around about gun control.

    National Registry. No automatic weapons. Mandatory training. In my opinion, renewable every year. If you want to own a weapon, you must demonstrate you know how to properly operate the weapon, and you must be willing to go on record as owning the weapon. But the laws just give the criminals a wider group of laws to break. It all seems so freaking impossible.

    It is a horrible tragedy when innocent people can get decimated simply for showing up to watch a movie. Or for sitting in traffic.

    Your reference to the Tylenol incident had me nodding my head (considering I am person with rheumatoid arthritis, that gets to pay the price for their actions, every time I try to open a bottle).

    Seat belts. I am old enough to remember when you could squeeze ten kids in the backseat of a car, and still find room for the dog. Geez, I’m old.

    • Well, thanks for not sending Sis my way!
      There needs to be a middle ground. It seems like the 2nd Amendment folks are unwilling to accept that there are some times when guns are, ummm, lethal. That maybe open access to them ain’t such a grand idee after all.

      But it’s the middle ground we need to find. I, personally, would out law them. My fantasy is no more realistic than those of your sister.

      We just need to learn to be reasonable about guns. With the NRA in charge, well, we never will be.

  3. Michelle Gillies

    We do not have the right to bear arms in Canada. Unless you are an officer of the law. I prefer it that way. I am extremely uncomfortable when I visit family and friends in the US that have guns in their homes. That being said…we still have the psycho evil murderer types that take part in these killing sprees. One of the back stories that is being reported tonight is of a beautiful young future sports reporter that was killed in that Colorado theatre was actually in Toronto last month at the Eaton’s Centre in Toronto when a similar random shooting spree took place. To survive one such incident only to parish a month later in a similar circumstance is beyond comprehension.
    It is beyond me to understand which course of action (gun control or no gun control) actually does contribute to preventing these things from happening.

    • I agree that the Canadian way makes more sense, as do the gun policies of European nations and others. You wisely point out that it won’t stop all of these crazy tragedies, because where there is a will there is a way, of course. But if it averts some of these, well then, that’s a terrific start.

      Guns are dangerous. And nobody needs an assault weapon. Period.

      I hadn’t heard the story of the young woman. What a terrible, terrible thing to experience at all. And then to have it happen twice. It is completely senseless.

  4. With you all the way on this one sister, reblogging right now :)

  5. Reblogged this on AURORA MOREALIST ©2011 ~ Writer and commented:
    So well said, had to share:

  6. I hadn’t heard about the bystander with a gun at the Giffords shooting. Wow.

    • It always stuck in my mind, because he acted very responsibly. But he didn’t know what was/had happened. If he had shot first, well, there would have been another innocent body and possibly the original shooter might have gotten his gun back.

      Crazy, isn’t it?

  7. Very disturbing was Wolf Blitzer reporting about 9,000 murders by firearms in 2010, THE LAST YEAR when such statistics have been compiled/released. WHAT? Do we not count any more? Who is controlling this information?

    • Death by any other method is a tragedy, right? Death by gunfire is, apparently, “just one of those things in America.” Right?

      But Georgette, we DO count. And then we wring our hands and shake our heads and say:
      2nd Amendment, 2nd Amendment. 2nd Amendment
      It’s our mantra.

      The US Constitution is a document that has been changed and modified over and over again. The Second Amendment needs modification, too. (To me, that means it’s OK for a handgun (which I think is stupid too, but not completely unreasonable); rifles and shotguns for hunting. Ban assault weapons.)

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Georgette.

  8. Thank you!!! I have been so frustrated and angry about the reaction to this latest massacre: before the bodies were even removed from the theater, I was reading posts about “now they are going to attack our gun rights!”. I’m sorry, I am not at all conflicted about gun ownership. NO ONE has a good reason to own an assault weapon, much less more than one of them. If you want to hunt, you should be able to own ONE hunting gun, registered in a national registry, renewed every year. The argument that gun control wouldn’t stop all shooting deaths is ridiculous: if it saves one child, it is worth it.
    Great post! I would like to see it in the NY Times.

    • Well said, Moms. “IF it saves one child, it is worth it.” Just like inspecting all the trees won’t guarantee that someone won’t be killed by a falling one, it is wise to take precautions. Stupid not to. Which is of course our current gun policy “We’d be stupid to take precautions.” Oy vey.

  9. Perfect. Perfect analogies. Perfect everything.

  10. I don’t understand how in the world, with all this technology that tracks our purchases of beer & cigarettes for god sakes, is one person able to purchase this amount of weaponry and ammunition without one bell or whistle? The 2nd Amendment can still stand strong, but the time for COMPROMISE is LONG overdue and its not unrealistic if all parties agree to meet in the MIDDLE, for the sake of ALL the people, not just their own special interests.
    There are warning labels on everything today…EVERYTHING except the things that actually need warnings. My blowdryer has (2) 4×4 warning tags on it, which prevent me my killing myself with it every day. REALLY?

    • Good point, Tops. Beer and cigarettes aren’t the only things that are tracked. So are virtually all our purchases. That’s how the grocery stores offer you your own personal deals.

      So why don’t we know who’s buying what?

      Also, our society has become so “hands off” that we no longer pay attention to our neighbors (if we even know them) to see who has fallen off a cliff and into the deep end.

      But do be careful with that dryer, Tops. Please add a warning to it for me: “Do Not Use This Blow Dryer While Showering.”

      • The wind is blowing through my hair this morning up here on the soapbox.
        I notice everything, therefore my neighbors are very fortunate. If your car isn’t movie for 2 days, I’m checking for a body.
        The NRA and company really needs to look at the bigger picture. We are no longer talking about muskets being used in unpopulated areas, we are talking about anyone having the ability to have an arsenal in their homes that would make a military base cringe.

        • I would love to have you as a neighbor. I never see mine. I was recently contacted as part of a security clearance for one of my neighbors, and I had a hard time figuring out which one it was (granted they butchered her name, but still). Then I didn’t have anything to offer when they asked if I’d noticed anything peculiar (“Well, her husband has a leaf-blower fettish, but other than that …)

          The NRA will never look at the big picture. Because their most powerful members make the guns.

  11. Reblogged this on Life With The Top Down and commented:
    Well said in the shadow of the Colorado tragedy.

  12. I’ve never been more ashamed of our country – never – than the response to the Columbine shootings. I’m probably going to do a post on this, but I’ll mention it here, too. Congress said that this was an unbearable horror and we had to do something about our culture of violence. And then along came the lobbyists and and the strategists… and then Congress said to ensure that these horrors never happened again, every classroom would post the 10 Commandments. (knowing, of course, that the Supreme Court would say that that’s a 1st Amendment violation). It was an act pathetic cowardice.

    • Yes, there is nothing like God in these instances. I’ve heard he’s just like Superman, able to stop bullets, right? Apparently God is not a Batman fan.

      I agree that the reactions we have had to these completely expected recurrences are so cowardly, so lame, so ineffectual. And that is, of course, by design.

      And this time it will be no different. The 2nd Amendment rights folks will double down this election on anyone who might suggest that, perhaps, permitting sales of assault weapons is not such a hot idea.

      This is an issue I feel incredibly strongly about. Guns kill people. Period. Fewer guns = fewer gunshot victims. Duh.

  13. I think the solution to the problem lies in education and political will.
    Education on both sides (guns aren’t the evil they are frequently made out to be), and political will to do what’s right over what’s paid for by a lobby.

    Unfortunately, as polarized as we are, I don’t see that happening.

    • Sadly, many of the folks who cling to their guns are the same folks who try to restrict science in school, who put the 10 Commandments on the courthouse walls, who think that they would be able to stop any bad guy with their own bullets and bravado. That makes the “education” issue that much more difficult.

      Sadder still, the folks who should know better don’t fight harder to get saner gun laws enacted. I would be happy with a simple revised ban on assault weapons. Then we can have a reasonable discourse.

      And I agree that both sides have some valid points. You feel the need for a gun for personal protection (even though I believe that owning a gun makes a death in your household much more likely), then that’s OK. You hunt? OK. You want to shoot people? Not so much.

      Thanks for your comment, Guap.

  14. Pastor Rick Warren: When students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like it.

    Pastor Rick Warren: When students are taught they follow the word of God, no act of cruelty cannot be justified.

    These were tweeted directly after the mass murder in Aurora, this is part of the problem. We have a culture that encourages, even validates violence all in the name of God, Guns and the 2nd Amendment.

    • What does that second tweet even mean?

      Damn I am so sick of the holier-than-thou crowd. You are right that they are a huge part of the problem. And the chances of negotiating with them is well, slim.

    • Thanks Lisa. This issue makes me angry down to the tips of my toes. I don’t know anyone who has been personally impacted by gun violence (except for my blogging buddy, Val, above). But it is just so fundamentally wrong.

      We have now legislated smoking — where it may and may not be done — because it harms the health of non-smokers. We fought Big Tobacco to do that, too. For health reasons. It is sensible, and I for one am delighted by the change.

      But we can’t do that for guns? Oh? Why the hell not?

  15. Again Elyse, you took the words right outta my head. When a gun is capable of firing off rapid-fire rounds, its only use is to kill, kill, kill. Not ‘protect’. I agree with what Momshieb said. I also wish your post would be published elsewhere, Elyse. Very well written and a solid argument.

    • Thanks, Darla. This issue gets to me every time. Innocent people going to a movie should not be gunned down; folks going to school or to a grocery store or a mall should not be gunned down.

      Why do we allow it? And why do we elect folks who keep on allowing it and indeed promote the gun culture?

      AHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  16. Very skillfully written and eloquently expressed post, in which you make some excellent points, Elyse.

    I have no use for the NRA at all, because they have grossly distorted the original intention of the second amendment when it was first written, so most of their membership can go stark raving gun crazy.

    Two years ago, right here in the Western part of my home state of Massachusetts, a father at a target range allowed his four year old son to fire a semi-automatic Uzi sub machine gun pistol. The Uzi has a very powerful recoil when fired, and even strong full grown men have to be careful to brace their arms while firing an Uzi, to keep the gun’s recoil from bucking out of control.

    That little four year old boy never had a chance, when his Dad gave him the Uzi to shoot, and as he pressed the trigger, the Uzi’s recoil bucked up and back, putting two rounds into the child’s head, and killing him instantly. This is a tragedy of madness that I still can’t comprehend to this very day.

    On the other hand, when I was younger, I owned both a hand gun and a rifle, and also a 12 gauge shot gun. I often enjoyed shooting both the hand gun and the rifle for target practice, but not for hunting, because I’d rather shoot animals with a camera.

    I no longer have the hand gun and the rifle, but I still currently own the 12 gauge shot gun, and yes, it’s to protect my home, if God forbid, my home is ever invaded by violent criminals, which I admit, is highly unlikely in our neighborhood.

    But there was a time back in my early to mid 20s, when I lived for four years in an apartment complex located in an area that was not safe, and violent crime was not uncommon. I remember vividly the night that I spent the night in the apartment of my best friend, who was receiving death threats via his phone from his wife’s ex boyfriend, who had a history of violence, and who had also just been released from a maximum security prison.

    When this criminal sociopath called late at night while I was there, and made an obscenely worded threat to come over and first rape my friend Kevin, and then kill him, I grabbed the phone, and in a calm, emotionless voice, I told the guy that there was something he needed to hear. What he heard, was the unmistakable “ca shink click” sound of me pumping a cartridge of buck shot into the chamber of my 12 gauge shot gun, as I held the pump loader of the gun close to the receiver of the phone, which was on the kitchen table. I then picked up the phone, and calmly asked him if he understood my message. He responded by hanging up immediately.

    He never called again that night, and he didn’t show up at my friend’s door. Yes, I also called the police, and the cops came by and made a report. But they didn’t know where this guy was, and unlike me, they weren’t willing stay up with my friend in his apartment, all night long.

    Guns and gun control are very complicated issues…

    • It is an incredibly complicated issue. I don’t have a problem with personal protection — in fact, you handled that situation admirably. I don’t get hunting, but I get that others do. That is tradition, etc. and I wouldn’t interfere.

      But nobody needs an assault weapon for personal protection. If they are involved in drug running and/or any other illegal activity, we shouldn’t make it easy for them to obtain these weapons. If they are planning something nasty, we shouldn’t make it easy for them to obtain these weapons to enable them to maximize casualties. If they are “a bit off balance” and are hoarding weapons and food waiting for the black helicopters to appear in their back yards, we shouldn’t make it easy for them to obtain these weapons. Or the ammunition to enable them to get the biggest bang.

  17. This is such a complicated subject for me – the right to bear arms. I don’t like when we fuck with the Constitution but take umbrage when I read the kid in Colorado bought 3 grand worth of ammo on the internet. Didn’t anyone wonder about that? When the Founders penned that mighty set of edicts did they ever think the world would become this crazy?

    I’m deeply disturbed by what happened at that theater.

    Glad this was reblogged. So well written, thank you.

    • Thanks, Susannah, and welcome to my blog.

      The issue is a difficult one, and everyone feels so strongly about their own opinion (who, me?!). It’s a red button issue.

      I had not read that he bought the ammunition online. That is truly crazy. I had heard that he was preparing for several months, but there should certainly be restrictions on what one can buy online.

      I’m not sure if the issue is that the Constitution needs to be amended. However, it was intentionally written in such a way as to expect, permit amendment. The Constitution itself contains the mechanism for amending it. The founding fathers were smart enough to know that things would change, and they drafted a living document. And they put it on sheepskin, not stone.

      But this is an issue of interpretation. Does the right to bear arms mean you can arm yourself so that you can wipe out hundreds of people should you get the urge? I don’t think so. That doesn’t say “FREEDOM” to me as the gun folks claim. That says “NUTS” to me. I do not have the right to kill in other ways that are regulated, either. Guns should be no different. And the Constitution does not say “There Shalt Be No Gun Registration,” either.

      I believe that the clause stems from the British Empires practice of forbidding various factions from having arms — I’m thinking particularly of the prohibition for the Scottish Highlanders, although I would bet there were others.

      • I marvel at your knowledge of history. I’m not a fan of the NRA. I think things are getting worse and something big needs to happen. it sounds overly simplified but the New York papers are positively replete with horror of all kinds – Colorado is only one. I loved what you penned.

        • Thanks, Susannah. My last bit of history is a guess, however. I don’t know that the British experience was behind their thinking, although there is a certain logic there. It would be interesting to know what language the Brits used, actually. But I’m not a historian, so I’ll leave it to someone else!

          Sadly, I fear that once again nothing will happen. And of course there will be another tragedy involving guns before too long. The NRA has too much money and too many politicians in their pockets. The ones that aren’t in their pockets are afraid of the money and power the NRA has. There were right-wing folks proclaiming that “Obama wants to take your guns” before this even happened. It’s crazy.

          • Moe

            Elyse – that bit about the Scottish Highlanders rings true to me. The Scots-Irish as the came to be called were an especially warlike people and frightened their neighbors. They were also the victims of govt witchhunts for decades – centuries.

            Masses of them immigrated to the US from the early 1700’s on . . . they settled the Ohio valley, Appalachia and must of what became the southern Confederacy.

            Their warlike culture, anti authoritarian to the extreme, has had an enormous influence on American culture.

            I receommend (Sen.) Jim Webb’s book, “Born Fighting”. It’s about the Scots Irish in AMerica. Terrific read.

            • Actually, I think I’ve read everything Jim Webb has ever written. I especially recommend the Emperor’s General, which convinced me to work for him in the 2006 Senate Democratic primary. I worked my tail off for his election and was very disappointed when he decided not to run again (well, until yesterday when he voted with the GOP on the tax cuts) — grrrr.

              But the more I think of it, the more it makes sense that this was in the forefront of the forefather’s thinking. The timing is spot on, and they knew their history. Banning arms for the Highlanders (which meant muskets and swords and knives, not sub-machine guns) happened several times, including after the 1745 Jacobite revolt (Bonnie Prince Charlie’s return.)

              Thanks for the comment, Moe.

  18. That was a unexpected , horrible tragedy. It reminded of the current senseless massacre in Aurora Colorado. The victims were young people, with a bright and promising future. In minutes, an evil man took their life, their dreams and that of their families. An unexpected terrible, traumatic event for all the victims. Life is short. Life is a borrowed time. A reality that we all face everyday. Great post.

    • Thanks for your comment, IT.

      The trouble is, it shouldn’t have been unexpected. When guns are plentiful, available to anyone (and when a ton of ammunition can be purchased over the internet), things like this will happen. And they will continue to happen until we do something about our stupid gun laws.

  19. Moe

    “It’s common sense to react protectively, isn’t it. It’s what we do as a species. It’s part of our evolutionary trajectory. It is the manifestation of the problem solver in all of us. Stay alive. Protect. Survive.”

    Oh Elyse, that’s it exactly! Exactly!

  20. Moe

    Also, reblogging this

  21. Moe

    Reblogged this on Whatever Works and commented:
    On that Aurora massacre: Elyse has it exactly right. Exactly.

  22. I’m afraid I lack your faith in humanity. Cynical me tends to think that a law banning guns would only be followed by law-abiding citizens. Can we say…Chicago?

    I LOVE your wish for the Tylenol poisoner – ditto, ditto, ditto!

    • John Erickson

      Peg- Forgive my sieve-like memory, but are you from the wonderful Windy City? Or are you just pointing out the fact that since I left, the city is no longer safe? ;)

      • I used to live there, now I’m about 2 hours south, John.
        I am struck by the irony that, with some of the toughest anti-gun laws around, Chicago has become the murder capitol of America. The whole state misses you and your eagle eye sighting down a length of oiled blue steel.

        • John Erickson

          Anywhere near Danville (a buddy’s first wife was from there) or Rantoul (though the airbase is closed, I hear there’s a good air museum there)? Not sure I could live that far away – I had planes from O’Hare in my skies for so long (about 38 years’ worth), I actually kinda miss having the wallboard rattled loose every 90 seconds or so! :D

          • No, we’re in the middle of the state. We used to live in Des Plaines, however, so the planes practically landed on our roof. It got so I never expected to be able to hear the TV in the summer time with the windows open. That part, I don’t miss.

            • John Erickson

              We lived for a time in Niles, near Milwaukee and Golf Road. Then we moved out to a little town called Addison, just west of O’Hare. My wife and I moved into a house in WoodDale in 1989, and only had our living room windows opened once – September 12, 2001, our 9th wedding anniversary. Kind of a nice gift, but a truly LOUSY way of getting it.
              Oh, and many, MANY thanks for your patience, Elyse. I’ll quit hogging your blog now. :D

    • I am presuming that the crime rate/gun murder rate in Chicago is high, by your comment. (Last I heard, that current honor went to Philadelphia, but I don’t know for sure who gets that dubious prize.)

      I’d wager that the problem in Chicago though is not limited to Illlinois. Here on the East Coast, there is a terrible problem in NYC and Philly in particular. Guns are transported from out of state and used in crimes in those areas. Why? Because it is easier to get guns in some states and simple as can be to stick them in the trunk and drive them where they can be sold, traded, used.

      Virginia, where I live, has some of the loosest laws pertaining to purchasing guns. You can be a homicidal maniac and will be permitted to buy all kinds of guns at a gun show with less trouble than if you try to buy Nyquil with decongestant (which can be made into crystal Meth). And then you can have a road trip!

      That’s why FEDERAL, nationwide restrictions are necessary. The 2nd Amendment doesn’t give anybody the right to murder random folks in a movie theater. Or to get guns and ammo on the internet.

  23. Well said. So many great points here. You’re right in the comment above. I feel like a criminal every time I buy Sudafed. Some things are way too easy and I’d gladly give up some of my rights so insane people will have less power.

  24. As someone from Aurora, someone who lives 2 miles from the movie theater where the shooting took place, and 2 miles from the shooters home, as someone who has been to that theater more than once, as someone who didn’t know any of the victims, but who knows people who did know some of the victims, this post of yours, obviously, hits close to home.

    I don’t like the idea of guns at all, but, I also don’t mind that other people have guns. What I mind is why people need to have semi-automatic weapons, why someone should be able to by 6000 bullets, why someone should be able to own an arsenal of guns. As I said, I don’t care for guns, but, I believe that people should be able to own weapons for hunting and protection if they so desire. It’s what’s called compromise — I don’t believe in guns and hunting, but I don’t want to deny you those things. Why someone needs a gun that shoots hundreds of bullets a minute is beyond me.

    I know that gun regulations are a touchy issue for many, and they shout about their right to bear arms. Yet, somehow, what gets lost is that I want to know that my right to attend a public gathering is protected from crazy men with guns. Here’s a thought: maybe people with guns should pay fees and taxes on them, in order to fund security and guards to protect the rest of us. I can see that happening… yeah, right.

    Of the many, many, many words I’ve read about guns over the past few days, both for and against gun regulation, I’m struck by the words of Wanda Sykes, who Tweeted this the other day “Sumthin’s wrong, this mentally ill man was able to buy guns and explosives, and I get carded just for a box of ClaritinD.” As someone who buys pseudoephedrine, (Sudaphed) regularly, during allergy time, this is inconvenient, for one, having to run to the store every other week because I can’t buy 30 or 60 days worth to get me through allergy season, all because some people use it to make meth with… hello! some people use guns to kill people, and it’s no big deal who gets to buy one, but, watch out for those crazies who buy Sudaphed. Weird, just weird.

    As much as I wish that this tragedy here in Aurora resulted in some different regulations for weapons (these semi-automatics, are, as we’ve seen more than once, true WMDs), I don’t think we will see much change soon. At least, not this close to an election. And, maybe not any time soon. Seven deaths from Tylenol all those years ago, and all the changes that resulted, are happenings of a distant time, back when there was still some sanity left in our country. But, now, in a country where Bachmann, Palin, et al, are considered serious candidates for public office, well, sanity is long gone. Maybe it will make a return. I don’t think it will be this tragedy that will change things. People talked about higher airport security for years, and a few hijackings here and there never made us make changes. Look what it took to make America realize the need for tighter security. I think it’s going to have to be something much bigger than what we here in Aurora have gone through to make people really pay attention.

    Sorry to be so long-winded, and probably not too logical. The whole issue is still just a little to fresh to be able to try and talk rationally, without knee-jerk reactions getting in the way.

    • John,
      My sympathies for you, your town and the loss of peace that you and others in your community will now live with, even without being or knowing a victim. Your piece was long and quite elegant. Always feel free to vent here. That’s what these boxes are for.

      You are probably right that not much will happen, especially during this charged election season. The right was hollering that Obama wants to take their guns even before this latest tragedy — and those cries started back up as someone said before the bodies had been removed.

      I do a lot of work with legislation, and one thing I learned is that we and our legislators don’t act, they react. Hopefully, soon sanity will return and folks in Congress will do what they need to. But I am an optimist.

      I also wish for love and peace and stuff like that.

  25. Bill Moyers weighs in: http://nalert.blogspot.com/2012/07/bill-moyers-nra-enabler-of-death-video.html?m=1Rebecca

    The sound of the pull back click of a 12 gauge shotgun is probably enough to scare off any robber, so if you must, get one for a ringtone for heaven’s sake. It is bizarre that voters blithely go along with the idea that easy access to AK 47’s is necessary for freedom. The ad agency that thought that one up for the gun manufacturers deserves a place in the Hall of Wonders. There is a new Cabela’s store in our town. Fully a third of it is dedicated to guns, and it’s always busy. More mass murder episodes coming our way! (Had one here in 1998).

    • Thanks for the Moyer link. Isn’t it nice to know that there is one journalist left?

      No matter how many times I hear the word “FREEDOM” I will never get the connection to why it means someone should have an assault weapon.

      Thanks for your comment, and for the link!

  26. Well said. I hope this post deserve a place in an international magazine with worldwide readership, it was so beautifully and thoughtfully written. I can’t disagree with you on a single word you have written here.
    There is no way we can justify a person firing bullets randomly on so many innocent people.
    Every day I watch governments campaign videos on television to raise awareness among our people on various issues. The message they try to spread is very simple, which is “We are the one who can save ourselves”. But to be honest, somehow we (including me also) much care about them, we take them as the interval between the movies or a show we are watching to go to toilet or do any other stuff which we believe more important than wasting our time to give a thought on that issue.
    Great post. One of your best for me.

  27. Hi Elyse, I just shared this on my Facebook page. I loved what Bill Moyers said, and I think you said it as well in your own way. Thank you for adding another voice of sanity to a very hot topic.

    • Thanks, Naomi.

      This issue really makes me crazy. Why do we let it continue? Why do some folks double down on guns? There is no common sense in that!

  28. Pingback: The Voice of the Problem | FiftyFourandAHalf

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