Automatic weapons too easily available, unprecedented violence in our media, and a few unstable people are a recipe for more disaster.
In the wake of the mass murder in Aurora, Colorado, I find myself amazed at the rationalization and logic expressed by some as to whether this event could have been prevented. By a calculus I can’t begin to understand, people argue that violence in movies like The Dark Knight trilogy have nothing– literally nothing– to do with this heinous act. Doubly perplexing are those who further argue that more extensive gun control laws would have had zero effect on whether this event and events like it would ever happen.
I don’t need a PhD in psychology to have watched the previous Dark Knight movie (the 2nd of the trilogy) and to conclude that the movie is gratuitously violent, would have a dangerous effect on a violent and unstable person, and is an abomination of cinematic “art”. It is truly a sickening movie, one which I watched and had a pit in my stomach for days following. Just writing this editorial and remembering it makes my stomach churn, and knowing that my children watched it (and liked it) makes me cringe. What effect did this have on our current murderer? Some? Yes. Lots? Probably. A little? Maybe. But not none. What effect did it have on millions of moviegoers? I believe that movie took away a little of every viewer’s innocence, inner peace, and sensitivity to violence. It was a sick movie. Even the star, who played the Joker in that movie, committed suicide prior to it’s release. Watch the movie and you tell me if playing that role likely contributed to his emotional instability and subsequent suicide.
So here comes the sequel, which the Aurora murderer likely didn’t see before his rampage since it was the midnight premier. What was on his mind? The prequel, that’s what was on his mind. The twisted Dark Knight and it’s “Joker”, the character he dressed up as, arguably a movie character who makes Hannibal Lecter seem like an Eagle Scout.
And now for the guns. Republicans and Democrats, most of whom know better, say that this event and others like it are inevitable whether or not you restrict access to automatic weapons. This is complete balderdash, and anyone who subscribes to this theory is in one of two categories: The first category is “under the thumb of the NRA”, willing to say the most illogical things to rationalize their position. These are usually politicians who collect millions of dollars in campaign contributions from the NRA, willing to accept that money in trade for a few hundred dead American citizens each year. If not in the first category, they fall into the second, which is to support an argument which has no basis in logical thinking.
I am an outdoorsman, a shotgun user, and an aspiring hand-gun owner, all for sporting purposes. But do I need a semi-automatic or automatic weapon? Who does other than our military and law enforcement? And while I know a few people who enjoy automatic weapons safely at shooting ranges, most certainly having them give up their right to these guns would cause little burden on them, and surely significant good for society.
What has our society learned from the Aurora tragedy? Seemingly not much. We will continue to produce movies that provide little benefit while inspiring the unstable to terrible acts, and automatic weapons will continue to be as available as they were prior to this event. The killings were horrible, and our lack of action to prevent further such events is a tragedy as well.