The main story dominating the news here in the States is the horrific mass shooting in a suburban Colorado movie theater. To me, sitting in my safe Northeastern home, the mass killing is a surreal nightmare... a bunch of suburban "heartlanders" gather to watch a violent movie which takes place in a dystopian riff on NYC's outer boroughs, even though New York City is one of the safest communities in North America, and fall prey to an unhinged gunman. It's a weird thing, the discrepancy between where actual violent crimes occur, and preconceived ideas about high crime areas. Meanwhile, the reactionary representatives blame "godlessness" for crimes which largely occur in the parts of the country they hold sway over.
On today's Ed Schultz Show, a psychotic wingnut caller blamed the shooting on "bloodthirsty" liberal gun-control advocates (yeah, what the fuck? was my reaction as well), and spun a typical right-wing fantasy about armed moviegoers taking the gunman down as soon as his spree started. At the mothership, sadlynaught Thread Bear sums up my feelings rather well:
Also, the scene that plays out in my head that the wingnuts just can’t come to terms with is:
A lunatic steps into a dark, crowded theater, throws out a couple tear gas cannisters and opens fire. Unfortunately, this guy picked the grand opening of Atlas Shrugged in the middle of Wingnut City, so everyone in the theater is armed. So naturally a wingnut pulls out his gun and starts firing back. Immediately followed by 60 other wingnuts pulling out their guns and firing at whoever they see firing a gun. It would only take a few minutes for all these armed wingnuts to take down all these armed wingnuts and the only one left standing would be the lunatic who had the foresight to bring body armor. Heck, after the wingnuts do all the dirty work for him the lunatic would have plenty of ammo left over to slip into the next theater at the multiplex and start all over again.
Of course, in the wingnut mind, no real American would ever be confused or scared by the dim light, the smoke or the suddem surprise of such and attack. They know that every God-fearing, gun-toting American would automatically target only the bad guy and with pinpoint accuracy find the weakness in the body armor and bring the lunatic down.
Predictably, the right wingers think the solution to the periodic mass murders which occur in our country with distressing regularity is GUNS! GUNS! GUNS! Any talk of sensible regulation is characterized as tyranny.
The most influential gun lobby in the country is the National Rifle Association, which claims to champion Second Amendment rights, pointedly omits half of the amendment from the facade of its headquarters. Let's take a look at the actual Second Amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The vast majority of gun ownership advocates ignore the first part of the amendment, the bit about a well regulated militia. Personally, I think that gun ownership should entail stringent background checks and periodic training, preferably handled by state governments. Unfortunately, current interpretations of the Second Amendment throughout much of the U.S. allow for woefully lax standards for the ownership of consumer goods which are, on a fundamental basis, designed to kill human beings. Until our society develops a sane gun policy, these horrific incidents will take place with shocking regularity.