Friday, July 20, 2012


James Eagan Holmes walked into a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado late last night, threw tear gas canisters, and opened fire. When he was finished a dozen moviegoers were dead and at least fifty more injured. He carried four guns, all of which had been legally purchased, including an AR-15 Assault Rifle with a drum magazine holding 100 rounds of ammunition, a 12-gauge shotgun, and two Glock pistols similar to the one I once owned. The assault rifle and drum magazine were both illegal under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that was allowed to expire in 2004.

You probably have seen and heard enough about the massacre to make you ill but I have a few random things too add.

As always happens in these situations every politician and political commentator had something to say today. Only one is worth repeating here, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it's time that the two people who want to be President of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it. Everybody always says, 'Isn't it tragic' .... there are so many murders with guns every day, it's just got to stop. Instead of the two people, President Obama and Governor Romney, talking in broad ways that they want to make the world a better place,
okay, tell us how."

It may sound cold but please spare me the political grief and flags lowered to half staff. Since 1968 more than a million Americans have died in gun related violence, a level of carnage we as a nation found unacceptable on our highways but somehow manage to tolerate in our homes, schools, and public spaces. In 2010 alone there were 8,775 gun related deaths in the United States or an average of two dozen a day. Our flags could very easily be kept at permanent half staff.

Next time you look in the mirror ask yourself a question, ask yourself if you really care about all this, if the grief is real. If your answer is that you really do care about it you're probably lying to yourself. There are 300 million Americans and only 4 million of them are members of the NRA. If you really cared, if we cared, the carnage would stop but instead, for now, we'll just wait for the next massacre.

Finally, in some states it is now easier to buy a gun than it is to vote. That says more about the current sad state of our nation than even
James Eagan Holmes did.