Sorry Congressman, More Guns Wouldn’t Have Made Colorado Victims Any Safer

gun violenceThere are a lot of emotional responses to the tragic shootings in Aurora, Colorado during the midnight showing of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises where James Holmes killed 12 and injured 59. Personally, I just found myself at a loss for words. Disbelief at the enormity of the tragedy pretty much overwhelmed my other senses for a while.

Others, when they hear about the senseless killing of innocent people, get angry. They’re understandably mad about the loss of life. All over the country and beyond, people are coping with the feelings that such a tragedy bring about. There’s grief, sadness, depression. We’re all just trying to comprehend or cope.

But there was one response that I can’t quite understand. One statement, made by Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert, left me a little shocked. While blaming the tragedy on the country’s “ongoing attacks of Judeo-Christian beliefs,” he said an even more bizarre statement. Yes, more bizarre than claiming that the deranged actions of one sick individual were a result of not allowing high school graduations to pray. Aside from that disgusting bit, Gohmert also told a Heritage Foundation radio show that he didn’t understand why no one in the movie theater wasn’t carrying a gun, and possibly putting a stop to the tragedy earlier.

Never mind that they were in a crowded movie theater with terrified people trying to flee. Never mind that there was tear gas flooding through the area. Never mind that there were a lot of people in black costumes who would be difficult to see. Apparently Representative Louie Gohmert believes that what the situation needed was more guns.

Second Amendment rights are not under attack in this country. In fact laws constricting gun use seem to be frequently getting more lenient, and yet we keep looking for more use of guns, more availability. We want to have kiddie birthday parties at a gun range, so using a gun can be like a fun game to play with your friends. We want to carry concealed weapons on college campuses and into churches.

How is the response to such a horrible shooting to ask why there weren’t more guns present in that movie theater? The problem is that one mentally ill individual took multiple weapons into the movie and opened fire. The problem is not that there weren’t more people there to add to the trouble and confusion, people who wouldn’t be professionally trained to handle such a dangerous situation.

More guns in that theater would not have helped the victims and their families who are grieving today. And maybe that’s where we should keep our focus after such a horrible tragedy.

(Photo: Sascha Burkard/Shutterstock)

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  • Jon

    Perhaps you missed the video from FL earlier this week where a citizen licensed to carry a concealed weapon foiled the plans of two armed assailants by pulling out and firing his own weapon. Once confronted, the two men ran out of the shop like scalded cats. That is not to say that the same thing would have happened here – given the poor lighting, gas, etc. But one thing is clear; ONE individual, trained and licensed COULD have put a stop to the carnage within the first minute. The alternative? wait for the police while the madman continues his rampage. Perhaps you are content to be a victim – to sit back – hoping – and cowering, but luckily many are not willing. If there had been an armed citizen in the theater, certainly the first victims could not be brought back, but the 30, 40 or 50 others might not have been subjected to the horror. Remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away…

    • Please Stop Jon

      Jon, obviously you’re just here to argue and insult everyone who has very reasonably asserted that it would be a terrible idea to have one armed person (much less five!) shooting at someone who’s on a freaking rampage with an automatic weapon in a dark movie theatre, along with confusion, tear gas, and people running around.

      “ONE individual, trained and licensed COULD have put a stop to the carnage within the first minute.” So you know this for a fact? How do you know this? Can you somehow prove it? This scenario makes no sense, and everyone else has pointed that out, yet you continue to argue. Also, this conversation has NOTHING to do with some guy in Florida. That’s a rhetorical fallacy.

      The fact that you’re so cavalier about carrying and shooting guns and injuring/killing bystanders is very disturbing. Are you searching websites for this debate so that you can assert your NRA speech into every conversation? GO AWAY, TROLL.

    • Jon

      Sigh – I’ve not insulted anyone, nor am I a member of the NRA.

      I simply responded to an article that unequivocally stated: “More Guns Wouldn’t Have Made Colorado Victims Any Safer”. That is a bold statement which is statistically unsupported.

      However, If I have come across as caviler, then I apologize as it was not my intent.

  • Kathy

    AGREED Jon. The situation was absolutely terrible. But if there had been someone who had a firearm and was trained and confident and brave enough to use it, I think the carnage would have been much less. May God bless all the deceased and wounded.

    • Jon

      Thanks Kathy.

      It seems to me that those who are averse to firearms only think of the worst case scenario in situations such as this. And so to Lindsay’s point, let us contemplate one “worst case”.

      Let’s say that instead of just one armed citizen, they were five – citizens legally licensed to carry. And again to address Lindsay’s concern, let’s think about what could happen when all five start shooting at the assailant.

      Even if all five miss the perp and end up shooting a bystander instead, how is it different than if the perp is the one shooting the bystanders? In fact, as soon as the perp is aware of being fired on, he will be forced to face HIS attackers. This gives bystanders the opportunity to get away.

      Chances are though, that all five of our valiant citizens are NOT going to miss the perp – but will prevail…

    • Another Steph

      These comments have proved that the pro-gun movement is comprised largely of idiotic, fundamentalistuc fanatics, so cheers for that. The best part is when you advocate shooting bystanders.

    • Jon

      Steph –

      I’m sorry if my comments gave the impression that I thoughtlessly advocate “shooting bystanders”.

      My point is simply to raise the question: what should be the response to a madman who is firing into a crowded room?

      If I understand your position, it would be that we should remain always at the mercy of those around us. Throwing the word “fanatical” around is not much help either. You understand don’t you, that opposing a person’s ability to protect themselves could be construed as “fanatical” – especially if the end result is a theater full of dead/wounded people.

      Further questions to ponder:
      1. What would say if you learned that in this crowded theater there actually WAS an individual carrying a gun, but instead of confronting this madman, they simply ran away?

      2. Remember 9/11 and Flight 93 (google “flight 93″)? What is your opinion of the passengers who were compelled to stop the hijackers – even if it meant their own death? Would you consider these passengers “fanatical” that they were NOT content to sit by while other madmen were bent on destruction?

      3. Was the 71 year old man (google: Samuel Williams) who earlier this week thwarted armed gunmen in an internet cafe – by pulling out and firing his pistol – was he a fanatic?

      4. What if Mr. Williams had also been in the Batman theater? Do you think the outcome might have been different?

      5. Again, if Mr. Williams had been in the theater and taken a shot at this madman, but it took two shots to disable him; would you think it an acceptable outcome if the first shot had hit a bystander?

    • NotThumper

      I kind of see your point Jon. Honestly I think if I were in a situation where I knew I wasn’t making it out alive I’d at least go down fighting. I’m not about to make it easy for the killer.

    • Another Steph

      Godwin’s Law, Amendment 1 – whoever mentions 9/11 loses the debate.

    • Lawcat

      But, but, but if everyone were allowed to carry guns on planes, 9/11 would never have happened! Assault rifles for everyone!

    • Jon

      Lawcat –

      Guns on planes are a different matter altogether.

      I’m in favor of having pilots who are licensed to carry on aircraft.

      Pilots on Israeli airlines have carried weapons for decades now – without incident and without a hijacking.

    • Jon

      Steph –

      In the case of Goodwin’s law, I think you’re confusing references to 9/11 with references to Hitler 8^)

      Please explain to me though why a reference to an event of THIS generation is not instructive. Does the resolve of the passengers of flight 93 in some way bother you? Would you rather they all remained meekly in their seats?

      And regarding this so-called “debate”, you’ve got to do better than spout one-liners.

      I get it – you don’t like guns and people who carry guns are weird.

      The problem is that in this world there is evil and there are those who want to do you harm.

      What do YOU advocate for? “Mean people suck!” is an inadequate philosophy…

    • Lawcat

      Jon – IsraIli airline El Al has been hijacked once and attacked once, but that may have been prior to their pilots carrying. But I’m going to credit Israel’s absolutely insane security measures rather than fear of counterattack.

    • Another Steph

      I’m aware that Godwin’s Law refers to Hitler, that’s why I mentioned an amendment. But I get it, you only understand amendments when they’re in relation to gun ownership, so allow me to explain – amendment means to change something.

      9/11 has absolutely no correlation to this discussion. Todd Beamer et al didn’t have guns, therefore that situation is not proof that more guns are the answer. It’s a strawman argument and it’s just lazy.

      What do I advocate for (sic)? I advocate for (sic) every single victim of this shooting who would still be alive if getting a gun wasn’t as easy as opening a bank account.

    • Please Stop Jon

      I love these people who just KNOW that one armed person could have somehow stopped a madman on a rampage. Easy to say sitting in your comfy chair typing on your computer.

    • Stine

      Here is a case where a concealed weapons permit holder attempted to stop an armed robbery and instead shot the clerk.

      Jon-you are a trolling idiot

    • Jon Vought

      Switzerland and the gun -> Perhaps you would find this article helpful (from the BBC, no less):

    • Jon

      Stine –

      I know I’m just an idiot…

      But, if I understand your point, then logically we should question the wisdom of police carrying guns too. Why? Because well, don’t they also occasionally make mistakes?

      Actually Stine, do a little reading, a little investigation, and you will find that where citizens are allowed to arm and protect themselves, crime goes DOWN.

      Conversely, you will find (again, if you are willing to investigate with an OPEN mind) that when gun laws become restrictive, that crime goes UP.

      Take at look at Wash DC, Chicago; these cities have some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country – how is that working for them? Answer: it’s NOT. Why? Apparently criminals aren’t interested in following the law – imagine that.

      Again, if I understand your point, you would rather that citizens not be allowed to arm themselves. But you have to be honest – even with yourself; for EVERY poor clerk that is accidentally shot, there are literally 100′s of cases where armed citizens have protected themselves or others.

      Get past the idea that “guns are yucky”. Guns are simply a tool. And like any tool they can be used very well – or very poorly.

      But what do I know…

    • Another Steph

      Police are trained in firearm use you freaking moron.
      And in Australia, crime went DOWN when we restricted gun ownership following the Port Arthur massacre (cause when a crazed gunman kills dozens of people with an assault rifle in my country, we do something to ensure it won’t happen again.)
      Today in Australia, gun crimes are virtually non-existent, and you never (seriously, ever) hear of people being rushed to hospital for accidentally shooting themselves.

    • Jon

      Steph – Why the name calling? (perhaps another addendum to Godwin’s Law is in order 8^)

      I think what you’re doing is parsing the statistics. “Gun” crime may be down in Australia (makes sense, there’s less guns), but what about non-gun crime?

      From everything I’ve read violent crime (rapes, muggings, etc) in general is markedly UP.

      But, there is bias everywhere it seems and it wouldn’t surprise me that what I’ve been reading is incorrect.

      Since you actually live down there, perhaps you could direct me to a reliable source showing that non-violent crime has also decreased.

    • Another Steph

      Perhaps you could provide a reliable source for any of this shit you’re speaking.
      I’m done.

    • Jon

      Steph – I think your response speaks volumes. Thanks for the intellectual honesty.
      I’m done too…

  • No, Joe.

    Jon, while I do not support gun control on any level I must disagree with you.

    Most people there initially thought that this was a publicity stunt for the movie. By the time it became obvious that it wasn’t a stunt the theater was already flooded with tear gas. It would have been irresponsible for someone to open fire in a dark gas filled room full of scattering hysterical people without any possibility of a clear shot of the assailant.

    • Jon

      It would have been “irresponsible” how – that MORE that 60 people would have been shot?

      The fact is that this guy was (as far as I’ve heard) UNOPPOSED! He was shooting “at will” – unconcerned with any resistance.

      Please see my response to Kathy. ONE citizen taking care – not panicking – waiting for their moment could have gotten close and gave this guy something to think about – a distraction if nothing else – allowing more to escape…

    • No, Joe.

      “It would have been “irresponsible” how – that MORE that 60 people would have been shot?”

      Yes, exactly. Please don’t trivialize a loss of additional life or injury. Unloading your firearm in to a crowd of civilians would harm more people than it helped. Explain to me how creating a crossfire would help save anyone. I’d love to know…

      Until that point please stop speaking on behalf of gun owners. Your views do not represent mine or anyone else who actually takes their responsibility seriously.

    • Please Stop Jon

      I’m sure you would have been that one, super-trained, super-responsible, brave, sneaky person waiting for the right moment to get closed to someone running through a dark, gas-filled theatre creating absolute havoc who stops the whole thing with a magic bullet! Can you say “hero complex?”

    • Mel

      What’s YOUR complex, “Please stop Jon?” All you’ve been doing here is needlessly attacking Jon for his *gasp* logical points!

  • Katie

    Sorry to bring this up, and I know many people will argue rights and the constitution and so on, but.

    I live in a country where people are NOT allowed to carry guns. If you own a gun you have to prove a reason to have it, “Because I have a right to” doesn’t mean diddly. Are you a police officer? A security guard? A farmer? No? No gun for you.

    And this type of sh*t does not happen. We do not have children being shot while watching movies, we don’t have kids bringing guns to school, we don’t have neighbourhood watch people shooting random teens. We just don’t.

    Make with that what you will.

    • Another Steph

      Sure, and when it did happen we took efforts to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. And it didn’t.

    • Jon


      You bring up an interesting point.

      Shootings of this type used to be rare or non-existent in the U.S. as well. To own & carry arms has been the right of US citizens since the beginning of the republic – over 230 years ago. And it’s not as if automatic weapons were invented in just the last 30 years.

      So why are these type of shooting events more prevalent these last few decades?

      Believe it or not, there was a time when schools had gun clubs. And even more amazing is that 14 year old gun club kids would bring their guns to school – and no one gave it a second thought.

      So what has changed?

      It is our citizenry that has changed. But that is a whole different discussion…

    • Sophia

      My opinion is very close to yours, Katie. In my country the rules for weapon possession are very strict and I think that this is good. When it is possible for any person to buy several heavy weapons and 6000 shots ammunition massacres will be easier than in a country where only the army can do so.
      And for the people who think that somebody with a weapon could have rescued them all: This could have happened. But imagine that this person would shoot around and kill several people but not the attacker. Would you be able to live with this?

  • Ipsedixit

    I’m all for those who are trained in the handling and care of guns to be able to own reasonable weapons (hunting,etc). Do I think a concealed carry would’ve been able to stop this? Probably not, unless they were tear gas trained in the military.

    Your average Joe who goes to simple cc training and the range on the weekend- but hasnt been trained for combat in small, dark, cramped spaces with freakin tear gas – would probably not be able to overpower a shooter with an *assault rifle* while he stands there with a concealed handgun. To think otherwise is naive unless we’ve got a lot of James Bonds in our midst.

    Anyone who thinks shooting bystanders is OK because it “would be the same number” should not be allowed within 1000 ft of a weapon for sheer idiocy. You’re not a responsible handler, you’re a jackass with a hero complex.

    That said, why on Earth are people allowed to purchase high powered assault rifles? For what purpose are you going to use it in everyday life?

    • Jon

      Ipsedixit –

      Please see my comments to Steph – below…

    • Ipsedixit

      Jon, are you trained to disarm a madman with an assault rifle in a crowded theatre where people are in hysterics? I have a cc license. Basic cc training does not prepare you for those types of situations. So, no, even with my weapon I would not try to take on a maniac. I’m not trained for that and it would be irresponsible for me to fire my weapon in that situation unless I had a clear shot. No bystanders should be injured because some dumbass thought he could be a hero.

  • Amber

    It’s very easy to sit in the safety of our living rooms and pontificate about what we would have done had we been there, the reality is, we weren’t. It’s simple to sit back and be Charlie Hero claiming the outcome would have been different if every man, woman and child within a 100 mile radius were armed, but that argument is flawed. We aren’t talking about a run of the mill shooter here, the guy was wearing heavy body armor and using smoke bombs. Instead of 12 dead and 60 wounded, we could be looking at 60 dead. I know many people with military training who couldn’t have taken the guy down.

    And yes, Jon I’ve ready your responses no need to direct me to them.

    • Jon

      You are correct Amber. Even skilled law enforcement or military operators might have had a hard time why the body armor. Not to mention that it’s being reported that the guy was on vicodin – supposedly to feel no pain(?).

      Keep in mind, there is a another kind of pontification – even worse in my mind. This type espouses the idea that we need not even make an attempt at protecting ourselves – and in fact we should disarm ourselves.

    • Please Stop Jon

      Jon, Amber didn’t even say anything about disarming ourselves, much less did she pontificate on it. You’re talking to hear yourself talk.

  • Another Steph

    After reading the comments by Ipsedixit and No Joe, I feel like I should apologise for my ‘idiotic, fundamentalist fanatics’ comment.

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