The shooting early Friday morning at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado has now become the worst mass shooting in American history. As of this writing, 12 people were massacred, and over 70 are wounded, with many in critical condition.
A tragedy of this proportion is difficult to reduce to words, and explanations are hard to find. It's sad, it's senseless, and it shouldn't happen.
Invariably, with each one of these devastating shooting sprees, the discussion quickly turns to guns. Yes, we'll now hear the politicians and the National Rifle Association and the pro-gun lobby with their familiar refrain: Guns don't kill people, people do. I'm waiting for those conservative politicians who will start to recite their talking points about how the founding fathers were insistent that it was the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and those rights can't be infringed upon. They won't mention that when the founding fathers wrote the constitution, firearms were limited to powder and ball, and after each individual shot, the gun had to be reloaded by hand. They won't try to explain why someone can legally go out and buy an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine and be able to unleash 100 rounds. And sadly, those same politicians who will do almost nothing to restrict the sale of these assault rifles, automatic weapons, and high capacity clips and magazines will be the same ones preaching tomorrow about family values, school prayer, protecting life, etc. Meanwhile, we all become desensitized to yet another blood bath of innocent people, in this case, a bunch of folks enjoying a movie.
This is not about the right of the citizenry to be able to legally purchase a revolver or a rifle for self-protection, hunting, or target or skeet shooting. This is about legal access to weapons that can quickly kill and injure large numbers of people in a short amount of time. Does someone need a AR-15 assault rifle, or an uzi, or a machine gun to protect themselves? Does someone need a weapon like that to bring down a deer? How many more Columbines, Gabby Giffords, Virginia Tech's, how many more workplace massacres, how many more school shootings, how many more Aurora's until we, as a society, have had enough? How many more innocent people have to die before our elected leaders will have the courage to stand up to the NRA and say there are just some types of weapons we don't need in this country?
Tonight I pray for the victims of this awful tragedy and for all the lives that will be forever affected by such horrific violence. I will also pray for the day that our states will keep track of such things as people who have legally bought four very powerful weapons in the last six months, and someone from law enforcement will check in on them to make sure everything's ok and see why someone has the need to stockpile such an arsenal. And hopefully, one day, we will find a way to move away from the culture of guns and violence, and embrace a better way.