In Shooting Reminiscent Of Superhero Storyline, Gun Control Is Most Important Issue
I guess a part of the reason I am so affected by it is the deep irony of where it happened—news reports have been quick to mention that at first, audience members thought that the gunshots and smoke were a part of the movie experience. But what doesn't seem to have been reported, probably because it's not an actual fact, is that this is the kind of thing Batman and other superheroes exist to prevent.
Don't get me wrong, I don't believe that Batman or any other superheroes actually exist, and I'm not pro-vigilante crime fighters, but the inherent irony strikes me. All over Facebook and Twitter, I've seen my friends and acquaintances reacting to what happened, and most of them cannot fathom how someone could do something so terrible. But all you have to do is look at Heath Ledger's Joker in "The Dark Knight" to see that there are some people who, inexplicably, "just want to watch the world burn," to quote Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred.
Sure, the Joker is a character in comic books and a movie, but the sad reality is that sociopaths exist. Ted Bundy was real. The man who shot dozens of people at a midnight screening is real. And while I fully support creating a supportive environment for everyone so that tragedies like this occur less and less often, I think there's also a much more obvious response: better gun control.
People are quick to point out that even with gun control, there aren't any laws in place to prevent people without a history of violent tendencies from legally purchasing firearms that could then be used in a spree of violence, and that's true. But it seems to me that if it's more difficult to obtain guns, in general, gun-related violence will go down. People who are pro-gun rights may point to the second amendment of the Constitution and argue that the ability to carry weapons leads to civilians stopping crimes in their tracks before the police can even arrive at the scene. To them I say: first of all, you're interpreting the second amendment incorrectly - it's about arming a militia, of which you are not a part. Secondly, the state of Colorado allows citizens to carry concealed handguns with a permit, and that didn't exactly do anyone much good—because people are not expecting to get shot when they go to a midnight screening of a movie.
Sadly, the information that has come out so far indicates that James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora shooting, obtained his arms, including an assault rifle, legally. I can't be the only one who finds it absurd that people can just walk into a sporting goods store and walk out with an automatic rifle capable of killing dozens of people in a matter of seconds. What purpose does that serve? I can't see how it would be useful for hunting or self-defense, especially when equipped with a drum clip (a magazine capable of holding up to 100 rounds)—the result of which really only seems to be violent, offensive crime.
And then there's the issue of illegally-obtained firearms. If you want another example from a superhero movie, just look at "Iron Man." Tony Stark was one of the biggest arms manufacturers in the world, only to find his own weapons turned against him - literally. Stark then went about systematically removing access to his weapons, which were being used illegally.
Again, Tony Stark isn't real, Iron Man isn't real, and I'm not endorsing individuals doing what his fictional character did. But isn't it time for our government and its agencies to "suit up" and do more to prevent the flow of all arms, legal and illegal?