I love threads like this. I've been gone another week and have had no chance to follow this or any other thread, but at least with this one I know two things: Some are very against guns and want them banned when something like this latest murder happens, and others love 'em and don't think bullet-firing weapons are guilty of anything. Am I right or what?
Here's the thing. We live in a complex and unplanned society that worships individualism. And as individuals, we succeed or fail via a multitude of often uncontrolled variables. Hence wconstantly produce losers as well as winners. And some of those losers, either because of social or mental defects, will go, as we call it, postal.
But this is only one of the many selfish ways we kill folks. We don't seem to get to disturbed by all the car deaths we suffer every year. Not many are calling for the banning of automobiles, even though kill 10x more in cars every day than were killed in the theatre. And occasionally madmen (and/or women) deliberately wreck their vehicle and take folks with them.
Industrial accidents, you know, where people do jobs so you can have things to buy, kill 1000 people a year in the US.
People who are nice enough to kill at more reasonable rates still manage, as a group, still kill over 16,000 of us a year. That they are nice enough to do it in less flamboyant ways to smaller numbers at a time is much appreciated, but otherwise their activities are no more socially acceptable.
What we are shocked by here, when we find too many bodies in one place at one time, is the obviously senselessness of the venture. Only the innocent suffered. In large numbers. A guy killed a door-to-door salesman the other day in Florida for trespassing on his property. But he only shot one. Equally senseless, but socially more manageable, numbers-wise. However the dead guy is just as sadly and unnecessarily gone as the people in the theatre.
We react to scale more than we react to reality. But this group killing thing is nothing new. In 1927, a guy in Michigan pissed off about taxes blew up a schoolhouse with dynamite and killed 39 kids. Back when I was in high school a guy in Chicago killed 8 student nurses one night in their rooming house. He used a knife. We are a country of multi-talented people, and a lack of guns will not deter the determined.
We live in a society that is better at producing guys like James Holmes than it is in producing the likes of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. The fix will never be as simple as getting rid of guns (though I'd love to), nor will any one change in our society do the trick. To beat the drum of a simple solution is to make noise and nothing else. I have yet to see anyone ask why we, as a society, don't put some energy into making things a bit fairer for all, and less stressful. Until we can create a society that actually functions for all, we will, as a byproduct, produce the periodic madman.
Actually, I'm pretty amazed that such mass murders don't happen more often. If we can keep out disgruntled mad men down to just one or two a year, that may, by default, be as close to a solution as we ever get.
We should always question. We should always ask. But it does no good to imagine we have the answer when, at present, one does not exist.
Addendum for clarity: I don't own a gun. Never have. Never will. I have no need for one. I have said this here before, but it bears repeating. I would rather spend as much as my life as possible not living in fear (and thinking I have to have a gun) and be killed by a madman at some point than spend my whole life afraid, feeling a need for a gun but never needing it. I've been an adult who could legally own a gun for over 40 years, but I haven't experienced even one minute of wishing I had one.