Sunday, July 22, 2012

Where To Begin?

Well...this last weekend has been pretty rough where I live.

You see, I live right in between Columbine High School and Century 21 Theatres in Aurora. Both are just a few miles from my house.

I have several friends who were at Columbine when the massacre occurred. All who were there still have emotional issues stemming from that day.

And now we have another mass shooting to deal with.

Our Governor, who I have a deep admiration for, said, "We will come together and be made stronger."

I am certain we will. But at what point will be asked to be so strong that we finally break? How many shootings and other calamities will be asked to be strong for? We have been on the front page of too many newspapers for too many horrible events.

Of course, when a shooting of this magnitude occurs, the inevitable debate of whether or not guns are good or bad occurs. I will get to that.

But first I'll mention something slightly less controversial. Regardless of what side of the gun issue you are on, there is another issue that also deserves some serious discussion. That is the issue of mental illness. We have a history in this country of ignoring mental illnesses. Some groups even preach that mental illness does not exist. Perhaps as a society we should stop cutting programs that affect the mentally ill and open more treatment centers. Perhaps as a society we should take care of those who are mentally ill, look for symptoms of those who are mentally ill, and stop pretending like it isn't a factor to many problems we face today. Perhaps that would help stop some of these senseless murders.

Now onto guns. You can't have 12 innocent people sitting in a movie theater and then randomly slaughtered without at least bringing it up.

My emotions are a little raw right now as I try to process what happened. My emotions are raw when I think of my three little girls who are growing up in an area where every few years a psychotic murderer goes on a rampage and shoots down anyone in sight.

There have been several arguments in favor of guns:

1. If somebody else had had a gun, they could have shot him and there would have been fewer innocent people killed

2. Taking guns away from all really only takes guns away from law abiding citizens

3. Guns don't kill people, people kill people

4. More guns will keep us safer.

Let me address each of these issues.

1. What if somebody else did have a gun? This was a dark theater with tear gas everywhere. It was complete chaos with people running around in every direction trying to escape. The murderer was dressed in heavy body armor. If somebody else had a gun, they most certainly would NOT have shot the murderer in a fatal way. They would have been much more likely to shoot an innocent victim.

A trained policeman will deliver a fatal blow 1 in 7 times to a moving target. What would an untrained civilian do in a dark theater with a hundred people running all around?

I am very grateful that nobody else had a gun that night.

2. This guy WAS, indeed, a law abiding citizen. Until he decided not to be. Everything he did was perfectly legal- until he decided to go and kill a room full of people.

When people are allowed to buy guns (even military grade assault rifles) they are also buying the choice to kill people. Even if they are "law abiding."

3. This argument just makes me sick. It is so absurd I don't even know where to begin. Let's say this man was armed with pencils. Let's say that's the only weapon he could get a hold of. Would he have murdered 12 people and injured 70? Of course not. I would much rather that he had gone into the theater with pencils instead of military grade artillery.

4. Colorado has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country. It is incredibly easy to get a gun here. And look what is has gotten us- 3 mass attacks where 33 innocent people have been murdered in the past 15 years (in addition to Columbine and Friday's attacks, there was an attack at a church where 7 people were killed in 2007).

I am ready to try a different approach. It is apparent that relaxed gun laws have not made us safer in this state. Why not try something different? Remember the definition of insanity? Well, how many people do we have to have die while attending innocent public events before we try something different? If you want to arm every person in your state with a gun, fine. But not in MY state. Not in Colorado. I am tired of guns in this state.

Will drug dispensaries in elementary schools stop drug abuse? Will open borders stop illegal immigration? Will having more abortion doctors stop abortions? If you answer "no" to these questions, then how can you possibly believe that more guns will stop violence?

I love the state of Colorado. It is beautiful and the people here are wonderful- except, of course, the psychotic ones.

But right now I want to leave. I want to go to a place that is safe. I want to go to a place where people don't think that more violence will solve the problem of violence. I want to go to a place where I don't have to worry about my children being shot while trying to have fun.

Canada is starting to look really good right now.


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