Somebody Tell Obama & Romney That Batman Doesn't Kill People, Guns Do
In light of the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado where 24-year-old James Holmes entered a movie theater and shot 70 people — injuring 58 and killing 12 — during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” a conversation on gun laws and why Holmes so easily acquired his arsenal without so much as a red flag going up is increasingly problematic. Holmes possessed two handguns, a shotgun, an assault rifle and full body armor as he proceeded to go on the tragic shooting rampage. Aside from the knee jerk reaction the media has given to the country’s gun law issues, here we are talking about his dyed hair and Holmes’ infatuation with The Joker and Batman comics. Here we are banning costumes from movie theaters. Here we are analyzing his zany facial expressions in a courtroom trying to decipher whether Holmes is insane rather than really digging into how easily he acquired these firearms. That’s right, guns don’t kill people, costumes, Batman and facial expressions do.
This sounds all too familiar because it has happened before.
On April 20, 1999, 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School armed with two 9mm handguns and two 12-gauge shotguns and embarked on a shooting spree that left 12 students and one teacher dead with 21 other students injured. Just like the incident on July 20, the nation was shaken to the core. And just like the Aurora shooting, other things were to blame. Trench coats and “goth-like clothing” were cracked down on. Because, you know, the trench coats were the reason that Harris and Klebold shot those helpless kids. Then video games were to blame followed by the music they listened to. Guns? Yeah, those were discussed but since Americans love their guns, that particular issue was laid to rest as video games, music and trench coats took the blame. Meanwhile, gun sales spiked.
What do these two shootings have in common? They were 20 miles apart. And guess what? Colorado has what NBC’s Today called “some of the weakest gun laws in the country.” Guess what else? It’s not going to change despite the state having two of the biggest massacres in the entire country in the last 20 years. As a matter of fact, gun sales have increased exponentially since the incident. Because, you know, having even more guns around makes the situation better. So much for getting to the root of the problem.
“In this country, we have a strong tradition of gun ownership that’s handed from generation to generation. Hunting and shooting are part of our national heritage. And, in fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners — it has expanded them, including allowing people to carry their guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.” – Barack Obama op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star (March, 2011)
I have been disappointed in our President for barely lifting a finger on this topic considering that he has now had to deal with two major media scrums involving guns in America (the other being Rep. Gabrielle Giffords being shot in 2009). Yesterday, Obama finally broke his silence when speaking to a crowd for a National Urban League in New Orleans. “I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals,” he said. That statement by Obama is an obvious one and it has yet to be seen if he will tackle this issue or let it slide away as he did with the Giffords shooting in ’09.
But this shouldn’t have been the trigger incident for Obama to come out of his shell. Assault weapon attacks are nothing new and should have been addressed when Obama became President after George W. Bush allowed the law that banned assault weapons expired without renewal in 2004. In Miami alone, assault rifle related deaths rose after the ban was lifted. That should have been reason enough to reinstate the ban. But that wasn’t enough of an incident. And let’s not forget the urban youth being killed by guns every day. Something has got to be done and we need not wait for another mass killing to spark the discussion because people are shot with guns every day.
Obama felt the wrath of the gun loving citizens in 2008 when a loose remark about Americans “still clinging to their guns and religion” dealt him a swift and mighty backlash that threatened his presidential run. He still ended up being elected, but he had learned his lesson: Don’t f*ck with the National Rifle Association and people who “cling to their guns and religion.” Since then, he hasn’t so much as uttered a word denouncing America’s gun laws despite still being accused of some “secret plan” to abolish hand guns by those very same people he’s trying to appease.