EDITORIAL: A dark night leads to gun debate
When eager audiences poured into midnight screenings of “The Dark Knight Rises” Thursday night, no one could have imagined how the poor souls in Aurora, Colo.’s Century 16 Theater would soon be living out the madness of Batman’s comic book world.
No one, that is, except one soul filled with murder, a med-school drop out who came armed with tear gas and guns, dressed as Bane but calling himself the Joker.
James Holmes, with dyed red hair, his face covered in a gas mask and his limbs protected by body armor, gunned down 12 defenseless Americans while they were just trying to watch a movie.
He is nothing more than a man who just wants to watch the world burn.
The tragic irony of the case is how closely the narrative mirrors the Dark Knight’s story. Holmes turned the chaos of Christopher Nolan’s on-screen violence into real-life horror.
Parents who brought their children to see the terrifying villains Batman faces could always whisper comfortingly, “don’t worry; they aren’t real.”
But now, at least for one night, a real Joker did attack. And one wonders if he left any young Bruce Waynes in his wake?
National attention has turned to Holmes’ method, particularly the role guns played in his massacre. Batman himself said in the film, “One man’s tool is another man’s weapon.” That quote is now at the heart of a raging national debate on gun laws.
Some on the left have called for more government regulation on a citizen’s ability to purchase a concealed weapon, while those on the right have used it as cattle call for the National Rifle Association and other like-minded groups to scream government intrusion.
But the fact remains that, even with less access to guns, James Holmes would have found another way to enact terror. He knew what he was doing, evidenced by the meticulous booby-trapping of his nearby apartment.
Once you get past that, the question begs to be asked why a public citizen needs to own a semi-automatic assault rifle. News reports over the weekend said Holmes’ AR-15, purchased on the Internet, was capable of firing 50 to 60 rounds per minute. No citizen, not even those deer hunting on Opening Day, require that kind of power.
The Second Amendment argument can be made all day long, and rightfully so. Citizens have the right to own a gun and protect themselves, exemplified over the weekend in Detroit when a 72-year-old man shot and killed an intruder inside his home. That’s proper, responsible gun use.
But once you enter into a discussion of high-powered assault rifles, enough to kill a crowd in a short amount of time, the game changes. Do we want to allow that kind of power to fall into the hands of anyone?
That’s a discussion we should be having.
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