Monday, July 23, 2012

The Aurora Shooting

Sorry this is so late, but there were some things I couldn't confirm that I wanted to be sure of. I don't always blog, but when I do, I prefer to be accurate.

The Aurora theater shooting was a tragic occurrence. I cannot speculate as to the perpetrator's motives, since he hasn't said much to anyone at all since his capture that night. All that has been consistently reported has been the shooter's dyed-orange hair and his "dazed" appearance at his first hearing. The Aurora shooter's odd behavior had been noticed by others, notably Glenn Rotkovitch, president of a local gun club, because of the disturbing outgoing message on his answering machine. According to the article Mr. Ratkovitch
gave [the] staff his name ... and told everyone here to get me if he shows up at the range. I wanted to know who he was before we considered doing anything with him, let alone make him a member. He was flagged.
 So, even the so-called "gun nuts" could tell he was disturbed. Interesting.

Roger Ebert wrote a lengthy column for the New York Times wondering why, since Colorado is a "shall-issue" state, no one in the theater bothered to return fire and stop the shooter. That would be because the permit-holders in the audience, assuming there were any, were respecting the theater chain's policy of being a "gun free zone," as law-abiding citizens are wont to do. There have been other tragedies in so-called gun-free zones, such as Virginia Tech, Columbine, as well as the increasingly bold and violent robberies at Georgia Tech.

If nothing else, the folly of gun-free zones should be completely debunked by this event, but it probably won't be. Gun control zealots will ignore the fact that the guns were carried in places where guns were not allowed, and call for further restrictions on carry by permit holders. In the interest of disclosure, I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and I do so whenever I leave the house. I actually carry openly, since that is allowed in my state and is more comfortable, but I carry nonetheless. I find myself leaving home without my cell phone far more often than I leave home without my weapon. However, I too leave my weapon in the car on those rare occasions I am patronizing a business that does not allow me to carry on their property. These are normally places who have no carry-friendly competitors in the area or places where the staff (such as gun shops) are all visibly armed to the teeth and are not hesitant to defend themselves and their customers.

In my last entry, I called on concealed carry permit holders to respect the wishes of business owners who thought labeling themselves "gun free" would make the world a better place, and as a result of the information I've discovered while researching this post I will not be patronizing any Cinemark Theaters unless and until their policy is changed. I do not know what I would do if I found myself in the midst of a mass-shooting situation. I suppose no one knows for sure how they will behave in a crisis until they find themselves actually in one. I hope that I would evaluate the situation, and if able, take action to stop the shooter as quickly as possible. In a dark theater, under fire and with a smoke/tear gas grenade fouling the air, I do not know if I could get close enough to make an accurate shot, but I hope I would have the nerve to try.

Astute readers will notice I have not mentioned the name of the Aurora shooter in my post, and I have done that on purpose. I don't want to add to his search engine results or prolong his fifteen minutes of fame. I think it more fitting to honor the victims, and I list their names here:

Jonathan Blunk - US Navy veteran who shielded his girlfriend from the gunman
Alex Sullivan - who was celebrating his birthday and first wedding anniversary
Matt McQuinn - dove in front of his girlfriend and her brother to protect them
Alex Teves - also placed himself between his girlfriend and the gunman
AJ Bolk - freshman at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design
Veronica Moser - at six years old the youngest of the victims
Jessica Ghawl - survivor of a prior mass shooting in Toronto
Micayla Medek - student at Aurora Community College
Rebecca Wingo - customer relations representative
Jesse Childress - US Air Force, active duty
John Larimer - US Navy, active duty
Gordon Cowden - Father of two

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