|Alleged killer James Holmes.|
My first thought when the news broke about the massacre in Aurora, Colorado was what did you expect? The language of killing is now commonplace in our culture here in the US of A. And it comes from the top down. President Obama carries on the tradition of kill, not capture, initiated by his predecessor George W. Bush following 9/11. We recently learned that Obama sits calmly at his desk in the Oval Office approving a targeted kill list for unmanned Predator Drone attacks in Pakistan and elsewhere.
Our children unquestioningly accept casual killing in playing video games that are won by instantly wiping out as many people-like figures as possible. If young soldiers manage to reach the age of 18 with even a trace of squeamishness about killing the “enemy,” military training with advanced versions of childhood video games will soon cure them.
In the aftermath of the Arizona shooting in which Rep. Gabrielle Gibbons was seriously injured, I posted a blog noting the availability of Glock handguns online. A couple of days before the recent incident in Aurora, Colorado, I noticed that post suddenly appeared in my website’s top 10, and it has remained there ever since the shooting. Yesterday we learned that the suspect, James Holmes, built his arsenal without background checks from online sources. Incidentally, his arsenal included two Glock handguns.
Zealous supporters of the right to bear whatever style of arms they choose – including handguns and other weaponry not designed for hunting animals - are of course rising to the defense of the gun industry. I spoke to one such supporter the other day. She mentioned that a relative died in a motorcycle accident and asked if I thought we should ban motorcycles.
Um, motorcycles are designed for transportation, not as weapons.
In the meantime, Richard Kaufman has a thoughtful post up at the Christian Century in which he attempts to initiate a rational conversation on the topic of guns:
When I turned 12, my parents bought me a gun so that I could go pheasant hunting with my dad. It was a simple 20-gauge shotgun. The first time I shot it, I thought it was going to blow off my shoulder. I wasn’t that great of a marksman. The only time I killed a pheasant was when I was in my 20s
The gun went with me on several moves. But when my children were at the age when I thought they might be curious about guns, I sold it at a garage sale. I didn’t want something tragic to happen to them or anyone else. I’ve never owned a gun since.
I believed then what I believe now: unless you’re in law enforcement or are a hunter, you don’t need a gun. And if you own guns, the guns and ammunition should be locked up and secure so they can’t fall into the wrong hands.