We need to talk…
We need to talk…
The media have taken to calling it the “Batman Massacre” — James Holmes’ rampage in a Colorado movie theater that left 11 dead and more than 50 others gravely wounded, not to mention the post-traumatic stress that the smell of popcorn will trigger in the survivors for years to come.
It’s as good a name as any for the country’s latest lone-gunman episode of unprovoked slaughter, and a name given to the tragedy by the media is as American as firearms themselves.
Also predictable are the twin outcries, one side bemoaning the lack of gun control in this country and the other claiming that, had everyone in the vicinity been armed, this would have been over before it started.
The difference between these twin narratives is that one of them spins off into the ether, gaining no traction whatsoever among those who have the wherewithal to do anything about it. And the other is insane.
This is the second such event this year — in April 43-year-old One L. Goh, after being expelled from Oikos University in Oakland, Calif., unloaded a semi-automatic handgun in a classroom, killing seven. There were two of these episodes in 2011, with a death toll of 15. There was the Appomattox spree in 2010, with eight dead; the Geneva County Massacre in 2009, killing 10. Before that was the Virginia Tech rampage, Red Lake, the Beltway Sniper. The list goes on.
This one was a little different.
THEREIS NOT — OR SHOULD THERE BE — A SERIOUS MOVEMENT TO TAKE AWAY FIREARMS FROM THEMILLIONS OF LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS WHO CARRY THEM. BUT SURELY THERE IS SOME MIDDLE GROUNDHERE.
This one was a little different. On May 22, Holmes bought a Glock over the internet. A week later he bought a shotgun. The next he ordered an AR-15 assault rifle. Over the next two months, more than 50 packages came to his apartment and the medical school he attended, containing body armor, explosives, more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition, gas canisters and a 100-round drum magazine for the assault rifle that allowed him to fire nearly a round every second. These purchases were completely legal.
Owning a gun is a cherished right in this country. And there is not — nor should there be — a serious movement to take away firearms from the millions of law-abiding citizens who carry them.
But surely there is some middle ground here. Second Amendment purists, the nation’s most powerful lobby, the National Rifle Association, chief among them, will say there is not — that access to military-grade weapons is exactly what the Founding Fathers enshrined in our Constitution. One internet commenter said that an event like this is “the price of freedom.”
But we think it’s time to begin a serious discussion about our nation’s gun policy — not to ban them outright, which would be ridiculous and impossible — but to bring some sensible limits to a system that currently enables a mentally ill person to amass enough weaponry to play Rambo in a shopping mall.
At this newspaper, we are bound by the First Amendment, which we cherish. But we talk about limits to the First Amendment all the time as it pertains to religious speech, private employment, campaign contributions, libel and slander. There are definite boundaries to free speech.
You can’t shout, “Fire,” in a crowded theater. You shouldn’t be able to open fire in one either.
YES! WEEKLY chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration .