John Cole at Balloon Juice makes this observation:
It occurred to me tonight that we live in a country where the Supreme Court has decided the 1st amendment does not give you the right to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theatre, but the 2nd Amendment gives you an unfettered right to amass enough guns to shoot 71 people in the same theatre.
And he points out that we are now a broken record when it comes to America’s reaction to gun violence:
R- Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
D- Yes, but guns make it very easy to kill people in large quantities. He would not have been able to stab 71 people.
R- Stop trying to politicize this tragedy! What we need are not fewer guns, but more guns. If only someone else in that theatre had had a gun, they would have been able to stop him in his tracks.
D- Yes. Nothing could go wrong with crossfire in a dark theatre. This is absurd. There is a clear lesson here, and we need to do something about the ease with which people get firearms.
R- There’s no lesson to be learned, the guy was crazy. You can’t stop every crazy person.
D- We could try to make it harder for crazy people to walk around with a shotgun, a rifle, two handguns, and gas cannisters.
R- I knew Obama and you liberals were coming for our guns. Second Amendment!
Despite what happened in Aurora, Colo., Thursday night, where a lunatic with a lot of guns killed at least a dozen people during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises,” nothing is going to change. We went through shock yesterday. Today, we will mourn. Tomorrow, we’ll listen to the argument that you shouldn’t adjust gun policy because of the actions of a crazy person. And by Monday, we’ll look at new reports about massacres in the Middle East or Africa and pat ourselves on the back because we live in a civilized country.
Someone will say this isn’t the time to talk about politics. But here goes.
1) Our legislators are cowards. They know nothing is absolute in the Constitution (look at how we’ve bastardized free speech) but they appear to think the Second Amendment is actually the Second Commandment of the Book of Exodus. They’re not going to do anything to restrict guns, because they’re in the pocket of the National Rifle Association and they’d rather remain in office than protect Americans from armed psychopaths.
2) The gun lobby is killing us. We can be shot by people who feel threatened by a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles. We can be shot by a two-bit hood on a city street who was sold a gun in a back alley. We can be shot by a goofball who went to the local gun fair and forgot to put on the safety as he jokingly and unwittingly waves a loaded gun in our face. If we’re cops, we can be shot if we enter someone’s house in Indiana. And the NRA‘s answer is that we need more guns.
3) When you’re driving along the highway and see a cop pull a car over for no apparent reason, you’re going to see a black guy behind the wheel. When an Arizona cop stops a person on the street and demands to see identification, you see a Latino searching through his pockets. When you’re at the airport and going through security, the woman who’s pulled out of line for a more elaborate screening is going to be a Muslim. But when you pick up the morning paper and read that a gunman went nuts at the local mall or a teenager packing heat rampaged through his high school, what do you think the shooter is going to look like?
Some idiot in the White House press corps today asked the president’s press secretary if Aurora was a terrorist attack. What the moron was asking was “did a brown person do it?” Because in this country, only brown people are perceived to be terrorists. The answer from the press secretary was: no.
But it was a terrorist attack. Just like the attack in Arizona on Congresswoman Gabriele Giffords. Just like the attack years ago at Columbine High School (which isn’t far from Aurora). Just like the attack earlier this year in Oslo when the white supremacist murdered more than 70 kids at a youth camp. But we don’t call white guys with arsenals terrorists. We say they’re “deranged.” And that is our racial profiling lesson for the day.
4) To our friends on the right. Despite your paranoid fantasy, Obama isn’t going after your guns. And that’s why he disappoints our friends on the left. If he had trampled your god-given right to have as many guns as you have fingers and toes (at least the ones you haven’t shot off yet), Aurora might not have happened.