So apparently there was a shooting at a movie theatre in Denver last night, don’t know all the details but my Twitter and Facebook feeds are already filling up with smug Canadians crowing about “American gun culture” (never mind that Canadian criminals are shooting out a little turf war in Toronto as of late) and people calling for tighter gun control laws.
As if that ever made a fucking difference.
Think about it: there are already laws against shooting people and killing them. Someone who is willing to break those laws isn’t going to give a flying fuck about obeying any pesky gun control laws, whether it’s a matter of cold-blooded criminality or whether it’s a matter of insanity.
Considering that I hear tallies of as many as 50 victims (don’t know actual numbers yet or how many we’re killed versus wounded), that takes a lot of ammo and indicates that the attack was quite possibly premeditated. IE: criminal. In which case I would point out that even now criminals don’t usually buy guns legally because they don’t want a paper trail (and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Toronto gunmen were using black market handguns since obtaining legal ones involves chatting with the RCMP and assorted background checks as well as mandatory gun club membership in order to purchase restricted weapons such as handguns – not really a criminal or gang member’s idea of a good time).
Gun control laws will not affect their supply or their demand; criminals already operate outside of the laws.
An aside: I must say I was surprised to see one of my more liberal friends making the comment on Facebook about it being to bad that no one else was packing heat in that theatre because it could have been ended sooner and lives saved. (I would have thought he’d be leading the “ban ’em all!” war cry).
It’s an interesting thought experiment, and I’ve heard of survivors of such shootings comment about wishing they’d been carrying arms at the time, took – one that sticks out was a Texas shooting in a McDonald’s where the woman who said it had left her gun in the trunk of her car because why would you need one at McDonald’s? Her parents were killed in the shooting along with others and she said later she wished she’d had the gun in her purse to stop it.
Thing is, I doubt it would have mattered. Shooting at the range is a whole other ball of wax from having to make a crucial shot under fire, that’s why military and police snipers have to go through so much additional aiming, and they’re usually shooting from a distance, not up close where if they miss they’re going to get killed next. In the heat of the moment if you’re scared, your hands will probably be shaking too much to make your shot unless you’ve got a shotgun and can take the guy’s head off, and no one carries a shotgun around as a concealed carry piece. Best case scenario there is someone coming up from behind the shooter and hitting him in the head at close range, all in all unless you’re an ex-Marine I don’t think it would actually work. But anyway…
I don’t pretend to have an answer about how to stop such random violence. Eventually as the story comes out it may be that people close to him saw warning signs or it may be the guy’s a loner who kept his plans quiet.
I will say this: in the United States there are over 100 million gun owners. The vast majority of them are peaceful and law-abiding. If mass murders such as those one were as common as people imply when they talk about “violent crazy gun nuts” there wouldn’t be any Americans left at all, gun-toting or otherwise.
But I’m sure the pundits are giving thanks to sweet baby Jesus for this incident, which they will consider a gift, and in an election year no less!