Where does it stop?


I live in Colorado. I am frequently in Aurora. I don’t personally know anyone involved in the tragedy in Aurora, but I know people who do.

The feeling in the air here is one of sadness and disbelief that someone could commit such a hateful act. A fear that something like this could happen to any of us at any time – a sense of dread that our kids could go to see a movie and not come home because of a senseless act of violence.

I share this sadness and my heart breaks for the parents and friends and family who lost loved ones.

But I do not quite share the disbelief. How many times does an act like this have to happen before our politicians will be willing to take leadership and do something about the proliferation of guns in the United States?

There is an excellent article by Roger Ebert in the New York Times called We’ve Seen This Before that is worth a read.

The alleged perpetrator of this crime bought four guns, including a semi-automatic weapon, and a massive amount of ammunition over the course of three months. Shouldn’t someone have noticed? Not with the currenty gun control laws currently on the books.

I understand the need to not turn a tragedy like this into a partisan debate. But I do not understand saying this is no time to discuss the politics of this event.

This should not be a partisan issue. This is about saving lives and stopping the killing.

State and federal legislative bodies in the United States simply must act to pass smart gun control laws. I am not saying that people cannot own guns, although I can certainly understand and empathize with this viewpoint. I would certainly feel safer if I knew that there were fewer guns in the hands of the public.

But we should be able to track better who has guns and for what purposes and to limit where these guns can be carried. It is a simple matter of life and death.

What do you think? Why is there such fear on the part of politicians to address this issue head-on? What do you think it will take for our leaders to take leadership on sensible gun control laws?

I know this is a sensitive and controversial subject, but I would love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading.


Filed under Colorado, Culture, History, Parenting, Peace, Politcs, Poverty, Role of Government, Terrorism, violence

49 responses to “Where does it stop?

  1. This is a good blog and we are all reeling from this event. I am sure not as much as the friends and survivors.

  2. Barneysday

    Local, state, and federal politicians are more afraid of the NRA and its monied lobbyist than they are concerned by the killings of those in colorado or Virginia tech or columbine. Follow the money trail and it stops at the feet of spineless politicians.

  3. We do live in a house of cards. By that I mean that smarter regulations on gun ownership mean smarter, and clearly enforceable, regulations in election finance, which would, in turn lead, to smarter regulations on yet another issue…How to cut through all this? This is my opinion:

    It is up to us, each and every one of us living on this planet, to stand in the power we have. The power to speak up and say to our elected representatives what we think. Not just on election day, but EVERY day. We have phones, e-mail, faxes, blogs, street protests…a myriad of communication tools available to us to say what we agree with and what we don’t agree with. It’s time for us to stop being a silent majority and go to being a vocal majority.

    We keep hearing about the power of money, and it seems I’m opening an e-mail beseeching me for my $3 to help beat the other candidate’s fundraising efforts. And yet the parties doing the beseeching are not listening to what I’m saying. Maybe there aren’t enough of us saying something. Anything. They still need the votes.

    Money does, indeed, influence, manipulate, and spin perceptions. And it is up to us to use the power of our voices to guide those we elect to what we wish to see expressed.

    Idealistic? Perhaps. I don’t see that “reality” changes anything. Ideas, on the other hand, do…when acted upon.

    Okay, ’nuff said! Thanks for the soap box! xoM

    • Well said. Sounds like the start to a great letter to the editor, by the way, which is a great forum for a thoughtful soap box. We need to make a stand and say enough innocent people and children have died. Every one of us should contact our members of Congress and state legislators and make that link, if only out of respect for the people who lost their lives. Thanks so much for the very thoughtful comment.

  4. I finished reading, “We Need to Talk about Kevin.” a few days ago. Though a very heavy/dark novel to read, I appreciated that Shriver tackled this problem and placed it in our laps to ponder. The strain that difficult/sullen/quiet/brilliant children place on their families is sometimes an awkward one,and yes, it’s easy to look back and spot those problem moments with more clarity on retrospect… on a day-to-day basis, who knows how to recognize and stop the dysfunction, as all families have dysfunction (right?) — All parties that were directly affected will carry those scars to their death, and my heart goes out to them.

    The final paragraphs of Holmes’ article were chilling, and I then read Jessica’s story… Her inner voice nudged her out of harm’s way once, but wow… my jaw dropped open and will remain that way all day.

  5. The US has more death by guns per capita than any other country in the world and I do think your gun regulations need to be revisited. I’m in Alberta and there are many ranchers and farmers that have long-arms and believe in their right to own them and I do not want to deny them this and I’m not really sure how I feel about guns. The arguement here always is that bad people get guns from the black market not from legitimate sources….did the shooter you speak of purchase guns and ammo from a store or did he get it from the streets?

    • Two stores within a pretty small radius. And some ammo from the internet I believe, which complicates things. But there has to be a better way to keep track of guns, ammo, people with guns, etc. Thanks for reading and taking time to comment! I know this is a complex and fairly charged issue.

  6. Nice blog. I figured you would have an interesting perspective — being so close to Aurora and also to Columbine! I blogged on this today, so I will not say more. But even though people will still get guns if they want them (as the argument goes) we still need stiffer regulations.

    • I read yours and really enjoyed it. I will comment in a few. I was blown away by the baby too. What was that person thinking?? I completely agree that we need stiffer regulations and that we need to speak up and connect the dots here. I am sorry to say it but as much as this makes me sad, it also makes me angry at the inaction on this issue. There is no excuse.

  7. Such a tragic and senseless thing to happen. I personally believe that the politicians won’t act to do anything about the gun laws is because the NRA will see to it that they are voted out of office. They are more afraid of their jobs than they are of guns getting in the wrong hands of the sickos.

  8. Unfortunately, i don’t think anything will be done about gun control until we decide that violence is unacceptable for an enlightened free country. Our kids, especially boys are exposed to so much violence from movies to video games to culture, with the underlying belief that the only way to counter violence is with more violence. I’m afraid Roger Ebert is correct that we will keep seeing this played out to our horror and sadness.

  9. There is [also] another op-ed piece in today’s Times by Charles M. Blow….entitled MOURNING and MULLING, please find it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/opinion/blow-mourning-and-mulling.html?ref=charlesmblow

    His closing sentence: “We can’t keep digging graves where common ground should be.” Please read.

    We have all the tools we need…our voices. It is [now] time we were heard.

  10. The power of and funding by the NRA is staggering. At the end of the day, we don’t enforce the meager laws that are on the books, and I wonder how we can effectively regulate gun ownership, if there is such irresponsibility in the follow through that is permissible – and that is at it the most fundamental level. I wish we could take the money behind the lobbying out of the debate, and then see where we are.

  11. Playsmart made the following comment on one of my previous blogs. But I thought it worth passing along. I think she has an excellent point: “So true; as I monitor stories (like this midnight killing spree) from my tropical off-the-grid vantage point, I continue to wonder, ‘Why are these killers so angry, and why do they aim that anger at innocents?’ An incubating internal pressure forces the cork out of the bottle and forever taints all it touches. It’s more than restraining easy access to guns, as the anger would still be there; how can we find solutions for short circuiting the anger?”

  12. We are subject to warming labels on household products. Seriously, I should be scared to death to use my blow dryer, yet no flag or warning is raised when one person suddenly purchases a small arsenal. Why? Our “leaders” need to stop worrying about the NRA and start worrying about the people of this country, the ones the REPRESENT. The 2nd amendment can stand strong, but the realization that we no longer live in a society with muskets, we live in a society of masterminds and missiles. Yes, I’m on a soap box! I will keep all of these victims, including the parents/family of James in the light for healing and peace of both mind and body.

  13. Poignant and pertinent post. This is an unspeakable tragedy and, as a parent, I am even more bothered that these could have been my kids that went to a movie and never came home. Yet, the greater tragedy in America are the killings that occur on a daily basis where the victim knows the perpetrator. Access to guns has led to more homicides, suicides and shootings and with 260 million guns in America at last count, it will not change. What may have been an argument or someone who was despondent now turns into a death due to access to guns. People said we should arm students after Va Tech. That is idiotic with the number of college kids who get depressed. I will say what needs to be said from the roof-tops. The NRA has too much power in this country and they wield it better than anyone for one purpose – to sell more guns. No civilian should own an assault weapon. That should be illegal. There is not enough background checks on buying guns and people who say there is have a vested interest in the decision. The bullets should all be coded (why this was not done is amazing) and the police advocate for this. Yet, the NRA does not. I am sorry to be on a soap-box, but this is one of the things elected officials do not want to talk about and they are wrong not to. Thanks for posting.

    • I couldn’t agree more. And you all know I love soap boxes!! I did domestic violence policy work for 8 years, so I know that you are right about the everyday gun violence. We used to cite a stat that said something like, in a domestic violence situation, the victim’s gun will be turned against her or him in 9 out of 10 times. And I kid you not that I had a legislator respond, well I bet that gun was pretty helpful for the one that didn’t have it turned against them. Such dangerous weapons. It is cowardice to me that keeps politicians from taking this on head-on. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

  14. I was watching Meet the Press this morning and some real good points were made, one of which was gun control. Apparently some politican said that if more people had been carrying concealed weapons more lives could have been saved. This comment was countered on the show by someone saying that if more people had concealed weapons in the theatre, with all the smoke and chaos going on, a whole bunch of people shooting, some at a heavily armored assailant who the first responding cops were even outgunned and armored by, the outcome could have been much worse! Another good point was people doing more see something, say something. If someone we know is suddently isolating themselves, acting erratic and otu of the ordinary and has suddently acquired a love of guns and bomb making…for goodness sake NOTIFY SOMEONE! Steeper gun control, metal detectors etc are just band aids on a deeper problem that needs to be addressed to solve the problem.

    • I agree about the insanity of arming everyone in the theater. It would have been much worse than it was. But the point about people watching people smacks of Big Brother and that makes my skin creep.

      • I think there is a way where we can all take some responsibility for the mental health of the people in our lives without it becoming too big brother. But I am with you on the ridiculous arguments about arming more people.

    • That argument amazes me. It always makes me think of the wild west and an increase in shootouts. Is that really what we want? And I agree, if we know someone whose personality changes dramatically and who starts buying up guns, we should speak to someone about it. I am not sure what that looks like, but it would seem to need some intervention. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment!

  15. Your work with domestic violence victims (who are fortunate to live) is very telling. DV victims cannot resolve their situations with a gun, as the risk of what you described is greater. They need to get the heck out of Dodge. We must keep hammering home the obvious, unfettered gun use is the problem, not the solution. Unfortunately, both major parties are funded by the NRA, with the GOP wearing their logos, so no one will stand up against this lobbyist monster.

  16. Why is there such fear on the part of the politicians to address this issue head on?

  17. And from lobbies being the problem with their influence peddling, we go to the Supreme Court ruling that money is free speech insuring that lobbies can continue to ‘speak’ freely.
    And around and around we go.

  18. Ah, this is such a controversial issue. I’m afraid the answer is not gun control though. We can pass as many gun control laws as can be, but people with evil intent don’t care about laws. Bad people will find guns and they will murder if that is their intention. Gun control laws regulate good, law abiding citizens (the ones that should be carrying the guns), not the bad guys. Think about it – if one good guy was carrying a gun in that theater he could have stopped the whole massacre before so many people died and were injured.
    But say the gov could control all the guns in the world (which is impossible)…what then? The bad guys would use other ways to murder and plunder. We can not regulate morals. The root of the problem is so much deeper than gun control.
    As a nation, we have rejected God and His ways. Because of that, we suffer. We will not see His blessing again as we did when this country was founded until we take heed to His words.
    “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
    Ecclesiastes 8:11 is another verse that indicates where we have gone wrong as a country – “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”

    • Yes, this is a controversial issue in our country, which is a shame. I certainly believe that having laws on the books that enable us to track who owns guns and restrict who can legally purchase guns and to track bullets would help law enforcement quite a bit. And I don’t personally believe that someone else having a gun would have helped in a smoky room filled with panicked individuals. But the moral issues you raise are much more complex to tackle and probably even more important that we grapple with to look at the root causes of why these things happen. Thanks so much for weighing in.

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