Dark thoughts contemplating the cinema killings that happened early this morning in Aurora, Colorado.
A recent medical school dropout, a 24 year old white man named James Holmes, surrendered to police without further violence after killing 12 theater-goers and wounding as many as 50 in a bullets and gas-grenade attack on a crowded midnight showing of a new Batman movie.
Little is currently public about the shooter, but seasoned observers (make that an armchair ‘expert,’ me) strongly suspect that Holmes is himself the victim of the onset of schizophrenia, which likely first caused him to drop out of medical school and now, in response to what he may very likely describe as irresistible impulses or voices in his head, has acted out his illness, helped along by the nearly endless supply of firearms and ammunition to anyone with a few bucks to rub together.
If one state’s laws prevent such a person from legally acquiring guns in that state, there’s usually a nearby state with much more lax gun laws all too willing to help out. And then there are gun shows, where sales are often largely unregulated and often occur completely extra-legally.
We’ve tightened up our national security to the extent that it appears to be increasingly hard for foreign terrorists to strike within the US.
But we are still vulnerable to what has often been our own worse enemy as a nation: ourselves.
Think we don’t live in a violent society?
Among the Aurora shooting victims was aspiring newscaster, Jessica Ghawi (who used the professional name Jessica Redfield).
Only last month, Ghawi left a Toronto shopping mall only 3 minutes before a gunman opened fire there, killing two and wounding six.
Ghawi wrote about it in her blog:
“My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm,” she wrote. “After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn’t the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn’t have spent. It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at Sport Chek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would’ve been in the midst of gunfire.”