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home : opinions : opinions November 24, 2015

7/20/2012 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Give victims strength through unity, support
The Daily Courier

Today, once again, our heads hang in sadness and disbelief.

In the early hours of Friday, a seemingly harmless venue - a movie theater - where people had flocked to see "The Dark Knight Rises" became an instant nightmare.

Minutes into the screening, authorities say, a lone gunman wearing protective gear stealthily invaded the theater, hurled gas canisters into the air and opened fire on the audience, some of whom first believed they were witnessing special effects to enhance the crowd's excitement, or that someone was pulling a joke or a hoax.

It was not a stunt. Rather, this was a scene of carnage that unfolded quickly in a neighborhood theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora, Colo., killing 12 people and seriously wounding 59 more, one of them a baby.

The shooting suspect, Aurora police say, fired at least 71 shots and had an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and two .40-caliber Glock handguns. People ducked. People hit the floor. People escaped any way they could. Too many could not get out of the path of the gunshots in time.

Unfathomable. Senseless. Heartbreaking. Tragic.

"Why?" we ask. This tragedy in Arizona's neighboring state defies the depth of human understanding. How could anyone commit such a heinous act? Answers may come slowly. Or they may never come.

We take pride in our country's judicial system - that a person is innocent until proven guilty and that everyone is entitled to due process of the law.

In this time of unbearable pain, we must remain faithful to that credo, as difficult as it might be.

Engaging in the worn-out debate about gun control would be a useless waste of breath in the wake of lives lost and changed forever - lives of those who simply wanted to relax and to see a movie about a fictional superhero.

We can't change what happened in Aurora on Friday. But we can remember the sturdy fiber that holds Americans together in crises such as these.

Above all, we must do what we do best - stand by to help and support the people of Colorado in every way possible - and keep them in our hearts as they struggle to recover from the unthinkable reality they suffer now.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Article comment by: an observer

Marine Gunnery Sergeant,
Thank you for your service.

I have 2 guns and 3 rifles but I have common sense(something NRA members do not have).
I do not belong to the NRA and never will. The NRA President makes a good salary(1 Million per year) by keeping its members scared. They have every simple minded member paranoid about President Obama coming to take away their guns,
To NRA members, how many guns has he taken away from you? WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!

Posted: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

@ Ghost of the Real Prescott Patriot

Maybe if you and Madison say it enough it will be true (doesn't work for a 4 year old either).

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Article comment by: Ghost of the Real Prescott Patriot

Assult Rifles have a "Select" option so an AR-15 is not an Assult Rifle!

BTW...there was at least a second person who let him in the theatre!

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Article comment by: Legal definitions are fantasy





"Assault weapon"

to name but a few...

The government said alcohol was illegal, but the people didn't.

The government doesn't say it is illegal anymore.

Marijuana was legal during most of Prohibition, now it's not.

Why does anyone still give any credence to "legal" definitions?

They are not absolute, nor necessarily correct, even for a time.

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Article comment by: Namby Pamby Liberal

Leaving aside for the moment your fondness for prefacing comments with allusions to the effect that I am not worth writing to, YES, I definitely see the difference. What concerns me is the entirely practical matter that you cannot realistically do the first without some form of the second.

Also, you are inches away from lying by implying that obtaining a class II or above FFL is as simple as buying a $200 stamp, and I am quite sure that you know it. Some weapons are more regulated, some less. The ones that are more regulated are more difficult to get, not solely due to their monetary cost, and they pose a much higher legal risk to those possessing them without authorization. I am quite sure that you know that too, but it's a story the NRA doesn't want getting around, because it shows that some forms of gun regulation do work.

As long as we are critiquing each others' style of argumentation, I'd like to use that last point to illustrate that you are obviously in possession of the same facts as me, but simply choose not to draw conclusions from them, because those conclusions may lead away from your comfort zone. Too many facts can do that.

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Article comment by: Gus Patrick

There was no legal definition of "assault weapons" in the U.S. prior to 1994. That was the year Congress enacted the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) or Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. Since that time the legal definition of an assault weapon does not include, as one poster claims, the “selective fire” capability. The law states: Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following: Folding or telescoping stock, Pistol grip, Bayonet mount, Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one, or Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device which enables the launching or firing of rifle grenades, though this applies only to muzzle mounted grenade launchers and not those which are mounted externally).

Since the AR-15 meets those requirements, it is, by law, an assault weapon.

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Bowden

Namby Pamby: I realize I'm wasting my time so I'll just close with this: I see a rather obvious difference in reacting to and doing something (appropriate to the situation) about an individual that has demonstrated mental illness and perhaps violent tendencies, and screening 100% of law abiding individuals by some politically oriented Democrat anti-gun rights panel. Perhaps you don't see the difference, or simply can't understand it. So be it.
Marine/Namby Pamby: A fully automatic weapon can be purchased by any law abiding citizen qualified to purchase a firearm that has obtained a $200 Federal stamp. The reason more people do not do it, and why they are rarely used in crimes is very simple. They are staggerly expensive. The last one I saw for sale commercially (full auto M16 type) was $15K.
Why do I think you probably both know this?
Guess the facts didn't support the spin.

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Article comment by: Namby Pamby Liberal

Tom Bowden- You seem to be saying two conflicting things:

1. We should identify and screen out people mentally disturbed enough to commit mass murder.

2. We should not implement an entity to screen out people mentally disturbed enough to commit mass murder.

So... I don't know what you are saying. Maybe you're not sure either. I do know that restricting someone's rights based on their potential rather than their actions goes nowhere good. In fact, I would say it flies in the face of everything we consider just or free. You say that there were probably signals of the shooter's mental health- I fully agree, I'm sure that there were. So after how many signals does a panel set up by gun-control loving Democrats get to restrict your constitutional right to keep and bear arms?

To your other point, about holding hardware responsible, why are machine guns so heavily regulated? After all, any buffoon with a clean record can buy a semi-auto, and any buffoon with a semi-auto can repeatedly squeeze the trigger, allowing him to get off just as many rounds as with an automatic, just in a fraction more time. So why can't any buffoon with a clean record simply buy a fully automatic weapon? Is there a good reason, or are we just focusing on a particular receiver configuration?

It's remarkable how rarely machine guns and other heavily regulated weapons are used in crimes.

Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Article comment by: Marine Gunnery Sergeant

Mr. Bowden

I am also a realist, and I know that there is no solution to stopping the mentally deranged from doing things like this. My point is, we CAN limit their destructive capabilities. If they have to reload (which takes practice to get to the speed your youtube videos show), that gives a window of opportunity for action - people can escape, or attempt to subdue the attacker (as was the case with Jared Loughner).
We CAN stop making it so easy for them to gain access to these weapons.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Bowden

To Marine Gunnery Sergeant: The "Master" was just a mistake (I was Army), I apologize, it was in no way meant to offend. And my point remains that time spent on restricting/controlling inanimate objects (a Glock 17 comes with a standard 17 round mag, if you "outlaw" 33 round mags that just means one mag swap is required, surely you know how fast that can be done - if you don't, check youtube) is not time spent on addressing the real problem. I personally have no issue if they disappear tomorrow, I don't own one, and never will, that was never my point. It's just that, again, in my opinion, you will have not accomplished anything of real significance (the next mentally ill shooter will just bring 2 of 17 each) in terms of stopping these events from happening. You will, in effect, have held a particular magazine configuration responsible for what happened. I just think that's the wrong focus. It's the easy one, but it's the wrong one.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Marine Gunnery Sergeant

Mr. Bowden

That is Gunnery Sergeant not Master Gunnery Sergeant.

Well, Tom, my sons are in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army...yet, what they do has no bearing on what I know about self defense...as your son's being a cop has no bearing on yours.
But to the point - There is NO need for you to have a high capacity magazine for self-defense. Because:

1. A high capacity magazine for a pistol inhibits the carrier’s ability to conceal it or effectively carry it holstered. It is easier to carry the weapon without the magazine inserted. But, remember, "When seconds count..."

2. If you want to use a semi-auto military style rifle with a 100 round drum magazine for self defense, then...well, never mind, you wouldn't get it.

3. My point was, and still is, if you need 30 rounds in a pistol, or 100 rounds in a semi-automatic rifle, for “self-defense” then you are in a situation that is beyond simple “self-defense”.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: A gun totin' Libertarian

Marine Gunny: I try to avoid most of these pointless arguments, but I can't help noticing you just ignored Tom's reasonable question and instead used fairly childish sarcasm to avoid any real dialog on the subject. So, how many rounds do we each get allocated for carry in your world? Does it make no difference what the actual situation might be? How many bad guys there are? That bad guys now are sometimes wearing body armor and so on. Tell me: Are there Marine Gunny's that spend their entire career as what we used to call REMFs? It would explain a lot.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Bowden

Master Gunnery Sergeant: And, clearly you're a person that avoids real discussion by simply adopting the attitude that you are far smarter than anyone else, and just dismissing any conflicting opinion as ridiculous on its face. I'm a veteran (US Army), my son is a cop, and I have been shooting my entire life. I actually know a little about self defense, although I freely admit many know more. I suspect (even more so now) strongly you are not one of them. In my other post, I was respectful of you and your opinions, while disagreeing with some of the specifics. I see now that was a mistake. I gave you more credit than you deserve. Live and learn.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Bowden

Namby Pamby: Maybe it's just me, but I think there is a huge difference between being "odd", and being mentally ill enough to have the potential for this kind of violence. One of my points was that someone who had never even met the guy felt he was dangerous enough to keep him out of his gun club. That's pretty darn revealing. It says to me the problems were far from subtle. What have the people that have really known the shooter well kept to themselves over the years, for fear of being "offensive"? There have often been repeated signals, and significant problems, that were noticed, but nothing was done (Virginia Tech, Fort Hood). My second point is minor in comparison, but I think magazine capacity and other such issues are a distraction. Identifying the truly mentally ill BEFORE they kill or wound 70 people should be the goal. And yes, I know, it would not be easy, but is that a reason to not try? I have no easy answers about exactly how we do that, while also protecting people's rights, but I fear if we don't figure it out, history will continue to be repeated.
PS: To be clear, I never said there should be a mental illness "screening" by some government board or whatever, as an across the board requirement. Those were your words, not mine.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Marine Gunnery Sergeant

@ Tom Bowden

"as many as might be needed"

Sorry Tom, but that statement tells me you work on the "spray and pray" principle of marksmanship (the more lead you pump down range the more chance you have of hitting something).

But that's okay, Tom, just admit your not that confident in your marksmanship skills and that will explain why you need that many rounds get the job done.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Namby Pamby Liberal

Tom Bowden- Can you possibly be saying that the rights of American citizens should be restricted on the basis of people thinking that there is something "off" about them? That's a bit out of character, isn't it?

Being crazy is not a crime. You can be as crazy as can be and you have a constitutionally protected right to have all the guns you want. Consider for a moment what your response would be if the Democrats proposed mental health screening as a requirement for gun ownership. Who's politically correct now?

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Bowden

It's legal: I'm just curious, how can you folks (you're clearly not alone) continue to argue there is never, ever, a need for a non-LEO civilian to have to defend themselves from violent attack. Again, in CO, we have absolute, irrefutable truth that you are simply wrong , as a matter of fact, not opinion. I am amazed by people that refuse to allow reality to influence them, and actually ridicule those that do pay some attention to what happens in the real world. I know it takes all kinds but, wow, it's not like you have to be really smart to know things like CO happen, not to mention one on one violent crime which is far more common.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Bowden

To: Marine Gunnery Sergeant: So, exactly how many rounds should someone be allowed for "self defense". With all due respect to your service and personal opinion, I would argue that number is "as many as might be needed" and since no one can say what that number is......well, hopefully you see my point, even if you don't agree with it. IN any case, I think as long as we are arguing about whether a magazine should be allowed to carry 8 rounds or 15, we are not looking at how to identify those with mental illness and staggeringly violent tendencies and stop (or at least greatly reduce) these events from happening in the first place. For instance, reportedly the owner of a gun club, with no personal relationship with this shooter at all, was able to identify him (simply by his application and listening to his voice mail greeting) as someone he would not allow to join his club. Are you going to tell me that no one else, all of whom knew him far better (friends, family, teachers, class mates, colleagues), didn't know something was "off" with this individual? How about we set political correctness aside, and start identifying these people early enough to intervene? You are letting yourself be distracted by those that are always quick to make political hay with these events. The same people that always want more gun control, magazine capacity control and so on, (which as someone else said is a lot like slapping a band aid on a broken arm and kidding yourself you have solved the problem) also always want political correctness to always trump public safety. That's a mistake in my opinion.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Why not be honest

Attentive Listener: So the truth is unimportant, and instead we should substitute what you term "popularity" (which in this case, let's be honest, is driven almost solely by political agenda and simple ignorance)? Repeating an untruth doesn't make it true, no matter how many times it is repeated. In this case, and in all others, we would be well served to just be honest. An assualt rifle has a full auto capability, by definition. The truth may not as self-serving as those of a particular political persuasion would like, but it's the truth.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Take some responsibility for the safety of you and yours

Thank goodness the theater was a "gun free zone", otherwise someone might have been actually been able to defend themself and their family when attacked. Wouldn't that have been horrible? Some of us are clearly happy with that right being not available, and to continue to argue that "just run for it and hope for the best" should be the only choice people ever have in that situation. I say we all deserve more than that.

Everyone has the right, and they should be allowed the means, to protect themselves and their family. If they chose to not do so, that's fine, at least they made the decision, but, don't let a movie theater (or a liberal politician, local, state or federal make it for you.

And, I just don't follow the "there should be another law" thinking. Here is a very short critical analysis: People that are willing to mass murder other people are obviously not concerned with violating relatively minor gun laws.

And, lastly to "Staunch Conservative" - no offense meant, but to state the obvious, just calling yourself one doesn't make you one. Your positions on the key issues makes you one, or not, and if you hold liberal positions, well, nuff said.

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Marine Gunnery Sergeant

@ Hey Sarge

Are you J. Madison in disguise? If not, I wasn't talking to you.

But, since you asked, my premise was/is that military and law enforcement (I point to the North Hollywood shootout) have more viable reasons to posses high capacity magazines than a civilian has.

So, instead of tying to deflect the question, how about a legitimate answer?

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2012
Article comment by: Staunch Conservative - but not on this issue!

@ They disappoint but never suprise

Perhaps you should read my comment before slamming the "local liberals"

P.S. It is surprise vise supise.

Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2012
Article comment by: They disappoint but never suprise

And the local liberals are quick to use another tradegy to further what a political agenda. How about at least waiting until the dead are buried?

Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2012
Article comment by: R J

Tragedies like this are becoming all too common. Time to try and find out why.

Posted: Sunday, July 22, 2012
Article comment by: Hey Sarge

Why does "law enforcement" need high-capacity magazines? Self-defense or sport?

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