The biggest news story by far over the last several days has been the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting.
Today, I want to know if you believe that James Holmes, the shooter in the massacre, deserves the death penalty for what he did.
Please vote over in the sidebar to the right.
I know that I don’t post a whole lot on here any more but I felt compelled to comment on the recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado – more specifically, the claim that some people are making that had there been more people in the theater carrying concealed weapons this whole tragedy could have been prevented.
From what I’ve read and heard, the events of that evening went something like this. About 20 minutes into the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”, Holmes enters the theater through a front door. Seeing a man dressed up as The Joker, moviegoers initially think it’s something staged to coincide with the movie finally opening and initially laugh off his appearance. Once at the front of the theater, he yells something like “I am The Joker” and begins releasing gas cans and smoke canisters. He fires a few shots into the air before finally turning his gun on the crowd.
Here’s a graphic that made its way on to my Facebook page the other day courtesy of one of my pro-gun friends.
The implication is pretty clear – that if a moviegoer had been carrying a handgun in the theater that night he could’ve taken a shot at and killed James Holmes before he had the chance to kill a dozen people and injure dozens more.
Yeah I suppose there’s a chance that it could’ve played out that way but here’s what would’ve been more likely to happen.
The ideal scenario for having a concealed gun holder in the theater would obviously be if he was sitting in the front row. He would have a clear view of what’s happening and immediately be able to react. Plus, there would be literally no one between him and Holmes and would have a clear shot to take him out.
Realistically, the set up would likely be much different. Let’s say that the movie theater holds about 300 people. Of those 300, how many would be realistically carrying a concealed weapon on them into the movie theater? 5? 10? If concealed carry were allowed, would it be reasonable to assume that there would be a half dozen guns or more in the theater that night? It certainly seems plausible.
And those carrying guns almost certainly wouldn’t be in the front row. If gun carriers are seated in a purely random fashion, you’ve probably got a couple in the front, a couple in the middle, a couple in the back, a couple on the left and a couple on the right. In other words, they’re spread all over the theater at different distances and vantage points from where Holmes would have been.
I’m also going to assume here that someone who would be willing to go through the hoops necessary to be able to legally carry a handgun and actually bring it with them into a movie theater also probably has less hesitation than the average person to actually use it should they feel compelled. Is it also reasonable to think that a half dozen folks carrying guns would all feel compelled to act if they saw Holmes begin his rampage? I certainly think so.
And last I checked, any concealed carry training course doesn’t require that you be a marksman of any kind in order to be able to legally carrying a handgun.
So let’s summarize. In addition to Holmes, you’d theoretically have a half dozen people also in the theater carrying concealed firearms. Some would be close to Holmes. Some would be far away. Some of those carrying would be fairly proficient in the use of a firearm. Some would almost certainly not.
Now, it’s certainly possible that someone could have killed Holmes quickly and ended the attack but would have been the more likely outcome?
In my opinion, nothing short of a military-style firefight.
Instead of one gun in the theater being fired, you’ve got potentially six guns or more all being fired at the same time. The people up front might have a decent shot but the people in the back probably have nothing near a clear shot given the distance, number of people and the pure panic that is occurring. Given all those variables, anybody in the theater who is firing shots is probably wildly missing the target on most of them which means even more innocent people are getting shot and killed. One shooter in the theater resulted in the death or injury of over 60 people. Can you imagine the collateral damage that would have occurred had there been six or seven shooters in the theater?
I’m not a raging gun control advocate by any stretch and I support people’s rights to carry firearms. But anybody who tells you that a heroic citizen would have prevented this tragedy from occurring by simply being allowed to carry their own gun into the theater is simply not thinking straight. It’s easy to get caught up in the pure fantasy that somebody is going to rush in to save the day but the reality of the situation is usually much more grim.
Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat. I don’t have a problem with people who have an opinion that’s different than mine. After all, it’s the people with differing opinions that create so much useful discussion on a lot of topics. I do have a problem though when that opinion comes from a position of obvious hypocrisy.
Enter Bristol Palin.
Now, I’ve tried to give her the benefit of the doubt in the past ever since she became an abstinence advocate following becoming a teen and unwed mother herself. But since then she seems to be channeling her mother’s ability to put her foot in her mouth a little too often. Instead of sliding into the background, she’s found a way to stay in the spotlight by feeling the need to comment on current events that she really ought to keep quiet on.
Now that Rick Santorum has officially dropped out of the race for President, we can finally focus on the race between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama in November. (Yes, I’m aware that Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are still in the race but it’s been a long time since they’ve been considered contenders.) Some elections are intriguing matchups between two good candidates that I’m torn between. But this year is not one of them. For me, the vote is easy – Barack Obama.
In some circles, Obama is villified. His health care reform package, affectionately known as Obamacare, has drawn the ire of people who feel that the government shouldn’t force them to buy healthcare coverage (although in most cases it’s probably a good idea that they have at least some insurance coverage so the average taxpayer isn’t forced to foot the bill). He’s taken a large chunk of the blame for the flailing economy (even though the table was already set for a recession when he took office) as well as for the bailouts of the auto and financial services industries. OK, the auto bailout I can understand about being upset about but the bank bailout? I know it was unpleasant but it was necessary. Can you imagine what the economy would’ve been like had the whole financial sector completely collapsed? Not nearly as pretty as it looks now.
I’m making a bit of a comeback today as I really wanted to comment on the recent media spat between First Lady hopeful Ann Romney and Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen.
First things first. I think that Rosen was rightly called out on her obvious poor choice of words when she said that Romney as a stay at home mom “hasn’t worked a day in her life”. To be fair, I don’t believe that’s what she meant but someone in her position certainly should know better that making a situation-specific comment like that can easily be generalized into a sweeping statement. I think it was refreshing actually to see politicians from both sides coming to Romney’s defense.
Rosen’s statement obviously requires a little context. The comment came as a result of something that Mitt Romney said on the campaign trail. He claimed essentially that he understands the plight of American women right now because of his relationship with his wife.
First of all, I’m getting tired of just about every politician in America talking about how they can identify with the average American. They can’t. Most politicians in Washington are wealthy, lead privileged lifestyles and don’t have to think about many of the issues that middle income families are dealing with. To say that they can “relate” is in its best case scenario condescending.
We’ve got a new poll question up waiting for your vote.
Today, I want to know who you think will ultimately win the Republican presidential nomination – Mitt Romney or the rest of the field.
The poll will appear in the sidebar to the right.
With the New Hampshire primary in the rear view mirror and a convincing Mitt Romney victory in the books, time is rapidly running out for Republican presidential candidates to pose a formidable threat to the former Massachusetts governor.
I believe that the upcoming primary in South Carolina on January 21st is the last realistic opportunity that guys like Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have in this race. If this race ends up like recent polling suggests, Romney will have essentially sealed up the Republican nomination.