Saturday, July 21, 2012

Colorado Shooting and Gun Control in America

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Jessica Ghawi - May her soul rest  in peace

I love the cinema and especially for seeing big budget blockbusters on the big screen. And this summer, there is no bigger movie than The Dark Knight Rises. Right from the first previews, I knew I was going to watch it and I would have been seated at my local Cinema today watching it, if not for the fact that unforeseen circumstances brought us to Nigeria. The plan was to see it immediately I got back but the dream is now tarnished by the recent event and news coming out of America.

At the Colorado midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises on Friday, a lone gunman, suspected to be James Holmes, dressed in costume, opened fire. He killed at least 12 people and injured about 58 others including a 4-months old baby. While I do not live in Colorado, this shooting is no less closer to home than all the others including the Oikos University Shooting which I blogged about.

Jessica Ghawi, one of the victims of the Colorado shooting,  had also been present in a Toronto mall in June where another gunman opened fire on innocent bystanders, and had just minutes before left the venue. In a blog titled, Late Night Thoughts on the Eaton Center Shooting, she talks about an odd feeling inside her chest, and how with that and pure chance, her life was saved.

In part of the blog, she wrote;

“There was a shooting in the food court,” kept being whispered through the crowd like a game of telephone. I was standing near a security guard when I heard him say over his walkie talkie, “One fatality.” At this point I was convinced I was going to throw up. I’m not an EMT or a police officer. I’m not trained to handle crime and murder. Gun crimes are fairly common where I grew up in Texas, but I never imagined I’d experience a violent crime first hand. I’m on vacation and wanted to eat and go shopping. Everyone else at the mall probably wanted the same thing. I doubt anyone left for the mall imagined they witness a shooting.

I read her blog post and felt nauseous too.

Of certain events that can lead to mass deaths, there are radical political or religious terrorists, and there are natural disasters. I do not understand them either but the concept of gunmen of unknown motives mowing down innocent people is even more distressing to me. How can these people obtain guns so easily?

James Holmes had four guns, purchased from three different shops. One of the shops has said they followed all protocol to sell the guns but what does that mean when we keep hearing about these mass shootings? There has almost been one for every month I have lived in the USA. [Timeline: Worst mass shootings in U.S.]


In an article on the CNN, a columnist, John Donohue, wrote about the hard road America faces if it decides to face gun control squarely.

The conceptual problem is immensely difficult, especially in a society that is already as gun-saturated as America is today. The political problem borders on the impossible. Gun policy in this country is made by the National Rifle Association, and no serious effort at gun control can currently get past its veto.

Even when legislation passed during the Clinton years in the form of the Brady bill, requiring background checks at the time of gun purchases, or the assault weapons ban, the NRA succeeded in injecting gaping loopholes into the laws.

Who needs to go through a background check at Walmart when you can get your gun without one at the local gun show or from some shady figure on a street corner?

The assault weapon ban only prohibited the manufacture of new guns (it grandfathered in a huge cache of pre-existing weapons) and gun manufacturers easily redesigned their guns to circumvent the ban. The NRA then trumpets how "gun control" doesn't work. [Source]

Like Donohue, I believe that no matter how torturous the process seems, the NRA better buckle up and smell the coffee. So many lives are being lost unnecessarily and until they understand that we are not in the times of the Wild Wild West anymore, more worthy people like Jessica Ghawi, Doris Chibuko, and all the others will continue to be lost.

Guns in every hand, or even in any hand that wants it, is a senseless policy, and in these days of multiple mental health issues and variable ideas and ideologies, gun control is an imperative.






14 comments:

  1. This is just sad and depressing.

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  2. It saddens me that a lot of laws are implemented sometimes just to benefit a certain group of people. Sometimes it's all about keeping certain people rich and those rich people hire lobbyists to ensure that their pockets stay fat.

    The incident in Colorado breaks my heart. I, like you, was looking forward to seeing the movie but I'm not sure I'll be making the trip to the theater. May the souls of the victims rest in peace. Amen.

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    1. The lobbyists are really becoming an impediment to real democracy in my opinion. I hear they may be checked soon...

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  3. Ok, I have to say this even though I know I'll be boo'd and hissed at.
    Gun control does nothing except take the guns out of the hands of law abiding people. Criminals do not follow laws. And when our own government is selling guns to criminals, asking that government to "control gun ownership" is downright dumb.
    Yes, we own 3 guns in our house. We bought them at a gun show, where they DO background checks before selling to you. If we didn't own those guns, every one of my show chickens would be dead right now. That is a huge investment that we can't afford to lose, and many others are in the same boat as us.
    Guns do not kill people.

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    1. Hello Lisa, you're right. It is people that kill people, but guns do make it easier. It is a tangled situation for sure, and I think more clarity will surely help. If for your business or job you need a gun, that I can understand, but selling to whoever wants it? Hmm...

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  4. I am going to agree with Lisa here, I don't usually comment on things like this, but I really feel like it's wrong when we use situations like this to further legislation on either side. We need to step back and think. He obtained guns illegally. Why should that affect how I obtain my guns when I obtain them through legal channels. My husband has guns he uses for hunting, what is wrong with that?

    I like the picture floating around facebook where one guy has a sign that says that gun dealers are killers, and the second guy has a sign that says sporks made me fat. My husband also uses the logic that if that happened in Colorado 100 years ago it would have never ended this way because law-abiding citizens would have been carrying guns. But this wasn't 100-years-ago and unfortunately the ending was tragic.

    The further you go with gun control, the more the average everyday law-abiding American has to lose and the more criminals like this have to gain. The truth is they will always find ways to obtain weapons, they will always be available on the streets no matter if you close down gun shows (only from other patrons not from the dealers, who do follow the runs, and my husband pointed out that there usually are undercover agents walking those same floors) or what have you. They are out there and you can't remove them short of removing them all which goes against our Constitution.

    I am not a member of the NRA, my husband is. I have never considered being a member just because I really don't like that special interest groups control things in Washington, but sometimes I'm starting to think we may need them just to preserve our rights. Am I sorry I this happened. Absolutely. I can't imagine the horror the survivors are still going through and the horror the ones that didn't survive went through. I pray for those involved everyday, for their peace and the peace of the families involved.

    Just expressing my opinion as you did yours, not trying to inflame, just express. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks for your comprehensive comment Crystal, I actually learnt some new things from it. The shooter did obtain the guns legally, or as far as I know. Let's see how it all goes.

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  5. I made a comment about this on lady Ngo's page. too sleepy to go copy and pste. The only question I have to offer is 'Why is there less gun violence in the UK? Violence from local gangs involves knifing or sharp weapons not guns (at least as much as in the States), that means there must be something their legislation is doing right.
    Its like the citizens live with so much fear that even the peaceful mom and dad just want to hold on to their gun for safety and thereby becoming potential murderers.
    I dont know, I dont have a solution, I don't even live in America (though it remains one of my most beloved of countries)but this gun control thing just makes me go arghhhh.

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    1. That fact always occurs to me, Ginger. Hopefully the US will look to other countries as they continue to look at the issue of gun control.

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  6. Jessica's story was so sad. Saw it on Linda and read her post on the shoot out she narrowly missed. I wish she had had that "feeling" again... It's really sad.

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  7. You can see the movie; runaway jury. It will help your judgement. Its not same as john grisham's novel

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  8. The lack of gun control just makes America look blah! America really needs to wake up and smell the coffee. There is no reason on earth why Americans should live in fear and feel they need a gun to feel secure...IF access to guns was controlled in the first place. And when the reason for owning a gun is tied to constitutional freedoms - A very popular American argument for defending the right to own one - it has me seeing red. What about the constitutional right of those victims? - Their right not to be killed off like vermin. And the fact that James Holmes obtained those guns legally - that says it all.

    If people have a legitimate reason for owning a gun, there should be properly established and tightly controlled channels...procedures, protocols to go through to get one. The slight inconvenience is certainly worth it. It will help save lives. No civilised country should allow guns to be purchased off the street or at a fair. It is downright ridiculous, insane.

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