i don’t understand gun violence

Century 16 Cinema in Aurora, Colorado where the shooting took place.

I don’t understand gun violence. I really don’t. It’s something that has always fascinated me and something that I frequently have tried to understand the psychology behind, but I simply don’t. I have watched Michael Moore’s documentary Bowling For Columbine more times than I can count. In fact, I’m rewatching it as I write this. I know it presents a very biased opinion of gun violence within America but for the most part, I agree with Moore’s opinion; it is simply too easy to purchase guns and ammunition.

When I came home on Friday night, I was told by my Dad about a terrible shooting that happened at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, just 30 kilometres from where the Columbine shootings happened on 20 April 1999. For those unaware of what happened, this summary from E! News is a fairly accurate depiction:

At 12:30 a.m. MT, about 25 minutes into the film, 24-year-old James Holmes allegedly walked into Theater 9 at the Century 16 movie complex in Aurora (about nine miles from Denver), toting gas canisters, an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and at least one .40-caliber Glock handgun. Authorities say he wore protective body armor and a gas mask. Survivors later told reporters and authorities that they thought it had to be some sort of a stunt in connection with the movie, whose main villain’s most notable feature is the creepy gas mask he always wears. Holmes triggered two canisters and opened fire with the rifle.

Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates said that Holmes legally purchased four guns within the last 60 days. (He reportedly made his purchases from Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain Guns.) Holmes also bought 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet, all through legal channels.

Police eventually confirmed that 12 people had died—10 were killed at the scene and two were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital—and the number of wounded, some “critically,” was at 58. The 23 people treated at University Hospital ranged in age from 3 months to 45 years, a hospital spokesman said. Medical Center of Aurora confirmed it treated another 18 victims.

Holmes was just your average guy. He was a 24-year-old PhD student who was quiet and mostly kept to himself. People who knew him growing up, in high school and in college, were shocked to hear that he was responsible for the shooting. What confuses me the most about the Aurora massacre is I really don’t understand the reasoning behind it, it seems almost completely senseless. With shooters like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, they were victimising people who, in their opinion, had “wronged” them. With James Holmes, it was a random movie cinema filled with random people who he did not know. But these things never make sense. As Whoopi Goldberg tweeted: ”We gotta stop looking for reasons here there is no reason only irrational acts by irrational people. All we can do is try 2 bring comfort”.

Director of The Dark Knight Rises Christopher Nolan has made a statement expressing his sadness over these events. Studio giant Warner Bros. did not release the box office results this past weekend out of respect for the victims.

A vigil for the victims held behind the cinema

I don’t agree with people, or the media, blaming music, video games, movies or television shows for gun violence. People all across the developed world have access to these things but it doesn’t seem to manifest itself with such atrocious consequences. I believe these actions to be as a consequence of the individual and nothing else. In a 2007 report released by the American Medical Association, research did not show a link between video games and serious crime: ”in spite of the research on the relationship of video game exposure and aggressive behaviour, there is little evidence of a substantial link between exposure to violent interactive video games and serious violence or crime.”

I don’t think harsher gun control laws are the answer. I would like to see them but I don’t think it will fix the problem and I would hazard a guess that not too many would be happy about this. I think the answer lies in something comedian Chris Rock said in a stand-up routine that was featured in Bowling For Columbine: “We don’t need gun control, we need bullet control … If a bullet cost $5,000 there’d be no more innocent by-standers … People would think before they kill somebody if a bullet cost $5,000.” It was said in a comedy routine and people in the audience were laughing, but I think he’s onto something. I’m not saying bullets should cost $5,000, just that they should be harder to obtain.

There is so much more I would like to say as it is a topic I feel very strongly about, but I will stop here. I do not wish to offend others by my views and the real tragedy here is the 12 lives that were lost, the 58 who were injured and the families and friends of these victims who will be scarred for life. Click here for a full list of the victims.

If you would like to watch Bowling For Columbine, click here to be taken to a full version on YouTube. Before you worry about watching pirated copies, Michael Moore himself who wrote, directed and produced the documentary has been tweeting the link to it for others to watch.

I don’t know what the solution is, but this has to stop.

Where do you stand on gun crime? How do you think this problem can be solved?

Pictures from SMH

Originally published on KiKi & Tea

Additionally…

Everyone who knows me and who has spoken to me in person and on social media since the shooting happened will know how strongly I am against guns and that I feel there should be harsher gun control laws. I have been holding back for fear of offending those affected by this terrible tragedy, but I’ve gotten to a point where enough is enough, especially when I have heard that apparently the purchase of guns in Colorado has risen by around 41% since the shooting.

People have said that it’s unfair for everyone else to be punished with harsher gun control because of what ONE person did. But really, it has not ever been just one person. There have been more mass shootings in America that I personally remember than there are fingers on my hands, and that’s just the ones that have been reported internationally and with importance. So no, I’m sorry, it is not just one person.

No one is suggesting that you not be allowed guns for hunting or for protection, I still think you should be allowed to purchase guns, it just shouldn’t be as easy.

Members of the NRA and their supporters have suggested that if everyone in that cinema had been armed, there would have been less bloodshed and the shooter would have been stopped. Let me just point out the flaw in that logic; if a whole cinema full of scared people started shooting in the dark, after teargas had been let off in the room, I can guarantee you that more people would have died.

I know that American’s stand by their constitutional right to bear arms and I know that even though the amendment was amended (for lack of a better word) in 2008 and again in 2010 to include the person use and ownership of fire arms, there is no way it will ever be written out of the Constitution and I’m not asking for it to be. What I feel needs to happen is for it to be harder to purchase guns. There should be a psych evaluation before any purchase can take place. And, as stated above, there should definitely be some kind of bullet control so that no one else can legally buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition.

This is a terrible tragedy and I have been shaking with anger whenever I think about it. This is not having “a go” at Americans, this is me trying to understand the point of view of the majority and failing miserably.

I missed Michael Moore on Piers Morgan on CNN but you can watch it on YouTube here and read his blog post on the matter here.

I am firm on the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” but guns sure help them out a great deal.

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