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Saturday, July 21, 2012


It shouldn't be that complicated.

I don't know why it is.

If someone has a rifle and uses it for hunting and they eat - or make a living from - what they kill, I have no problem with that. Some will. I understand. I'm a carnivore.  Guilty as charged.

If someone has a gun in their home for self-defense, well, I do have a problem with that but, as they say, it's a free country (well, for some) and we do have Second Amendment Rights.  So, there's that.

Me? I have a baseball bat by the door and I know how to swing it.

But why would anyone need semi-automatic assault weapons and canisters of tear-gas is beyond me. Why are these weapons so easily available?

And how in the name of God did all that explosive material get stockpiled in an apartment? Didn't anyone see him bring that stuff in? Didn't anyone think to ask a question?

And why would anyone let a man into a movie theater dressed in black with a mask over his face and all those weapons? Did someone not think to stop him? Ask a question - or maybe three?

The shooter has been described as a brilliant young man. Quiet. Well-mannered. An honor student.
"Gifted," many called him. He was working on his doctorate in neuroscience.

Clearly, the man who committed this horrific crime lost his foothold on reality. He may have been de-compensating for a while but no one noticed because he was quiet and well mannered and was working on his doctorate in neuroscience.

Just another 'geek'. A 'nerd'. Just a little 'odd', a bit 'off' but nothing to worry about. Would have passed the 'smell test' in any gun store.

Except, I go back to my original question: Why would anyone, sane or not, need automatic assault weapons and canisters of tear gas? Because the Second Amendment says we can? Really? Or, is it because the NRA (National Rifle Association) has become a very wealthy, very powerful lobby - so powerful that even our President has not curtailed their activities on Capitol Hill?

I grow very weary of the conversations I'm hearing about gun control, many of which are either along the line of "guns don't kill people, people kill people," or "if guns were outlawed, only outlaws would have guns."

On either side of the issue, these 'catchy phrases' offer a simplistic response to an unnecessarily complex situation in this company. The facts, however, do not lie. In countries where the citizenry - and even police - are not armed, there are lower rates of violent crimes. Far lower than in this country.

I grow even more weary of people talking about "evil" and how the shooter is "evil". Yes, the situation was a manifestation of evil. The shooter, however, is obviously ill. Mentally ill. We'll know more about that illness in the days and weeks and months to come.

Here's the thing: If you have a loved one or friend who suffers from mental illness, you know how hurtful it is to have someone who is mentally ill described as "evil" or "demonic".  Please, if you find yourself using that kind of language, please stop and consider what you're saying.

I know. We're all angry. We're all confused. How could this happen? Why did it happen? What happens in the mind of someone who deliberately, intentionally - legally - stockpiles weapons and ammunition and explosives?

There are many questions - most of which will be answered as the forensics are done and the legal system sifts through the facts and tries to uncover the truth. But, there will be other questions - deep, moral, ethical, spiritual questions - that we'll be wrestling with for years to come.

For now, all we can really do is pray for the souls of those who have died and for all those who grieve their loss. We can pray for the citizens of Aurora who will spend the rest of their lives trying to understand why this happened to them.

And, we can pray that we, in this country, can find some sanity in our laws, respecting the Second Amendment and balancing that with some common-sense laws that keep semi-automatic assault weapons out of the hands of citizenry.

That shouldn't be complicated to achieve - if we have the will and the heart and the courage to protect the innocent while guaranteeing constitutional rights for all.

May God have mercy on us, one and all.


SCG said...

Just a point of clarification: from what I heard, the witnesses in the theater say that the gunman left the theater through the emergency exit, and then re-entered in all the gear with the guns, etc. So, I don't think he actually walked into the theater in the body armor. I could be wrong, but that's what the witnesses on TV were describing last night.
I am sadly resigned to thinking that nothing will come of this latest horrible example of our overly-armed and mentally disturbed society. Nothing ever seems to be the tipping point that gets the politicians and public to tell the NRA to stuff it, and get serious about gun regulation.
I am not afraid of the weekend hunter, or the person who likes to go target shooting. Generally, they are the ones who know gun safety and are responsible owners. But as you note, you don't need a firearm designed to shoot multiple rounds in less than 30 seconds to hunt venison for dinner.
And the mental illness part really needs addressing. I have known parents with children (usually sons) who they know are becoming increasingly separated from reality and scarily so. But they run into a dead end trying to get help because their child hasn't "done something" yet.
If it's true that Mr. Holmes' mom, upon hearing of her son's arrest, said, "You've got the right one," then I am afraid she might be one of those parents who knew this day would come. Why do people with mental illness need to resort to such violence to get the help they need?
When will we decide it's time to write a new ending to this script?

IT said...

Oh, man. The guy in question grew up not far from us; he went to high school with tepdaugheter's first & second boyfriends; might have played soccer against my stepson; had dropped out of his PhD program, which probably means he had not passed his qualifying exams. As director of a grad program, I've had to tell students this. I've been afraid on more than on occasion that the student would be ... upset.

How did he drop beyond disappointment to pathology? It's horrible. We know people there. We know people who know HIM. . how do we ifnd them and save them before it comes to this>

JCF said...

I have ambivalent, and complicated, feelings to those who respond to Aurora w/ "Gun Control!"

I have NO ambivalent feelings about those who {pardon the phrase} shoot them (the first group) down.

"Can't we just pray and grieve?"

Crying "Gun Control!" IS how some people pray and grieve.

***6000 rounds***, legally purchased. ***4 guns in 60 days***, legally purchased. A mother (Holmes' mother) whose *first* response was "You've got the right man" (i.e., she knew he was That Crazy).


Anonymous said...

Let's pray for the families and friends of the victim, work to change our system to permit better care of the mentally ill, and work to place reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on the possession of firearms.

I suspect that the defendant was mentally ill. May be he was delusional. (Sometimes I wonder if I am not just trying to convince myself that something must be wrong with this person just to avoid the thought that a person that was not mentally ill would do these types of acts.) I would prefer to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. My place is not to judge him.

But what I do know is that now, just like after the Columbine shooting and the Oklahoma City bombing, and the 9/11 events, is the time for us to be Christ's hands in the world. To comfort the afflicted, to care for the dying, to console the parents of the young man that did this event.
Thanks for the post Elizabeth.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

I do not doubt that he is mentally ill. I also do not believe that mental illness should be a defense for violent behavior, especially when lives are lost. Yes, this man needs help, serious medical help. He probably needs spiritual help as well.
Gun control will never happen in this country. The NRA is too strong of a lobby. I don't disagree with the NRA and the Second Amendment folks; my father was a gunsmith, I grew up with guns. But I do think that there needs to be some sort of happy medium; he was legally, very well armed.
So yes, we pray. We pray for those who lost loved ones. We pray for the souls of the departed that they may rest in peace. We pray for this disturbed young man who desparately needs help. We pray for this community that has been so tragically altered. And we pray for this nation that we may learn peace. There has to be a better way of doing things then violently. How do we teach peace?

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Dear Anonymous - if you are going to hold and express such strong (albeit uninformed, bigoted ones) the least you can do is own them.

CD said...

Elizabeth..I'm sure you are referring to the deleted post by this Anonymous as there is another "Anonymous" post here. Not sure what they said to have you delete them, but regardless of that action as it is your right to do as such, you'd think you'd give that person a chance to defend themselves if you are going to call their opinions "uninformed, bigoted ones". Agree or not agree, wouldn't it be a fair thing to do?

Alezzandra said...

Um..I'm SURE I posted a nice long, non offensive, not specific targeting, non abusive, nor did I make unfounded prejudicial assumptions. I also believe I expressed my disagreement WITHOUT insulting you, Ms. Kaeton (I do not know your proper form of address, so I will assume the generic term of please do not be offended by it), or any of the other posters here. Nor did I mock or slander a single sole..INCLUDING the person in question of this thread's topic, Mr. Holmes. I believe I conducted myself civilly, and with the utmost respect for ALL here and ALL in the future of reading your post/s and mine and others. My post was merely my POV. Nothing more.

I do believe I followed your "rules" to a T...even if said rules are NOT biblical, I do get the jest of them, and I agree with them..there is no need for that type of behaviour. That, we agree on.

So, then why did you delete my post? Where am I wrong and misinformed? Where in my post do you see me as a bigot? I feel THAT comment is rather slanderous to my person...especially when I can no longer defend myself with the post in question. Is it just because I disagreed with your post? I'm sure I did it such a way that one didn't feel singled out and targeted..but I'm not sure..I have nothing to refer to!!!

I know this is off topic and you more than likely will delete this too, or not post it all together..but regardless..YOU read it. You might not have a closed mind..I don't know for sure, but this action speaks of a closed minded individual..and honestly regardless of what I say, and what I have to back my information up..I wouldn't change your mind. So, fret not. This is the last you will hear from me. You do not have to block me, I am leaving. I just had to say my last piece in a weak attempt to defend my actions, albeit obviously late considering you deleted my post before I could even see it. You enjoy your one sided conversations now.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

See? That's the problem when you sign off as "Anonymous". The "Anonymous" I posed was just fine - and, in fact - right at the very end - signed by "Maria" (see it, CD?).

The Anonymous whose post I didn't post - maybe it was "Alezzandra" maybe it wasn't, who knows? how can anyone tell? - was snarky and made harsh judgements about those who disagree with him/her.

If the shoe fits, "Alezzandra", then put it on as you leave. If it doesn't then it really doesn't matter, does it? b/c you posted anonymously and then only identified yourself when you announced that you were leaving and never coming back.

I'm sure you'll find other blogs where you can drop your stuff anonymously and come back and forth whenever you wish without consequence. Not here. Not any more.

I won't "block you" - you are simply not that important for me to take that step - but if you choose not to come back to this blog, that's really alright with me. Just know that I won't post what you write unless you (1) follow the rules and (2) identify yourself and take responsibility for what you've written.

One thing is fer sure: This is the end of this conversation. Engaging an irresponsible person who hides behind anonymity is the stuff of the geography of insanity. You know. Like what happened in Aurora. Someone could get hurt.

CD said...

Now, according to what you posted, you believe that Mr. Holmes was/is a bit on the "crazy" side to do this. And, according to your post, that, with this claim of insanity, he is not to blame, but alas the lack of gun control is.
I concur with you on the points that YES, the guy was crazy, and no, perhaps he's not the "monster" to blame here. I do. I can easily concur with the "something has GOT to be done about the gun control issue”...sure, have the weapons, but can we put a cap on the AMOUNT of bullets one can purchase, or how about the TYPE of weapon/s, and the AMOUNT of weapons one can own?? Perhaps that will help things.
Man will keep on killing fello man…with or without guns handy.
Many mass murders have done as such… 1)Julio González…whom killed 87 people with gasoline and a match in 1990. 2)Alfred P. Murrah...whom killed 168 people with a rental truck full of fertilizer based explosives in 1995. 3)The Twin Tower attack on Sept 11, again, not a single shot was fired and what...3-5 000 people lost their lives due to fertilizer bombs and airplanes. 4) Timothy McVeigh…responsible for what we know as the Oklahoma Bombing, killed 168 people and injured over 800 people by again, fertilizer and homemade pipe bomb kit. 5)Jeffery Dalmer…responsible for killing 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, with the majority of the murders occurring between 1987 and 1991…with that EVERYBODY HAS at their home. 6)Richard Speck...killed 8 women, armed with only a knife, in 1966. 7)Ted Bundy…killed over 30 women via bludgeoning them to death with a metal rod, or via strangulation (at least one count of using nylon stockings), drowning.
I’m sure there are more, but I think for this purpose, we’ve read enough gory details!
Who and what is to blame here?

CD said...

(part II)

Grant Duwe, who works for the Minnesota State Department of Corrections and is the author of Mass Murder in the United States: A History, has looked at 1,202 mass murders between 1900 and 2009. Of those, 12%, or 142 incidents, were massacres in public such as the Denver shooting early last Friday morning and at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Columbine in 1999. Those kind of mass public shootings accounted for less than one-tenth of 1% of all murders in general. The reason society believes these mass public shootings have become more prevalent is in part because of media coverage, Mr. Duwe said. His study found that mass murders and mass public killings rise and fall with both the overall murder and crime rates. From 1900 to 1965 there were 21 mass public killings but from 1966 to 2009 there were almost 120.
He said there is no one reason why mass public shootings take place. The person who commits those acts usually feels wronged, has deep psychological problems and is socially isolated. Those who blame these events on violent video games and availability of weapons are really missing the mark, he added. “Violent video games could be a causal factor, but I haven’t seen any valid empirical evidence that would support an association with mass murder or, more narrowly, mass public shootings.” Meantime, the rate of gun ownership has stayed steady and does not appear to have a huge impact either way, he added.*
So, from this, one can accurately and almost scientifically come to the conclusion, that SURE, the gun law is flawed, but is NOT the sole cause of the world’s mass murders. Mr. Holmes planned this action, not the gun. Mr. Holmes abused his rights to own a firearm, and he abused his rights to own bullets for it. Obtaining all via the internet makes it oh so accessible as he had nobody to answer to but himself. Perhaps all of this could have been stopped if he couldn’t buy this all via using his credit card and going to some random site/s. If he actually had to walk into a store and talk person to person, maybe, they would of questioned WHY he needed so much ammo, all at once. There is another sociological political point to all of this, but that is neither here nor there, and purely speculation…as is all the WHAT IF’S. We just don’t know. Even if the U.S. had gun control, Mr. Holmes could of easily have come up with a way to kill all these people. Perhaps by setting fire to the theater, bombing the building or using a homemade bomb perhaps, therefore PERHAPS killing more, perhaps not. The point is if someone wants to kill, they will always find a way to do it. I hope I have not offended you or any of your other readers by somewhat disagreeing with your original post.

IT said...

Actually, JCF this is not true

A mother (Holmes' mother) whose *first* response was "You've got the right man" (i.e., she knew he was That Crazy).

This is very misleading, according to a statement from the Holmes family.

An ABC News reporter awakened the mother about 5:45 a.m. Friday after the shooting at the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” that left 12 dead and 58 wounded. Attorney Lisa Damiani said the reporter asked if she was Arlene Holmes and if had a son named James who lived in Aurora.

When Holmes, who was not aware that the shooting had occurred, replied, “You’ve got the right person,” she was referring to herself .

As in, yup, my son lives in Aurora. Not as in "wow, my son shot people, I am not surprised." She was awakened at 5.45 and probably her first thought was that James had been in an accident or was injured.

Let's not visit the sins of the son upon the parents who I'm sure are shocked and heartbroken.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

CD - Read my post again. You are making assumptions - and, VERY Wrong ones at that.

I never said that he was either "crazy" and "not to blame but alas lack of gun control is."

You clearly have strong opinions and emotions about this. I think perhaps you need your own blog.

CD said...

Elizabeth, perhaps I already do have a blog. But that is neither here nor there. The main idea of a blog and its open forum concept is to allow both sides of a view to be discussed. If a blog writer doesn’t want opposition in their writings, then, maybe they should re think the blog idea…just sayin’. Life is not always rainbows and lollipops. We all grow when introduced to other points of view. Your stand point is just as strong as mine, yet we are both right, AND we are both wrong. Hence what makes it so controversial.

I was able to put down my view, with examples to help a person, ANY person that happens to read my post, to maybe see where I was/is coming from. Really. That is all there was to it. A view point, with examples.

And fine, you didn’t exactly use the term “crazy”...I admit, but you did say “The shooter, however, is obviously ill. Mentally ill.” If one wishes to be finicky about things, in the thesaurus insanity equals mentally ill, CRAZY (my term) equals insanity. PotAtoe, potatoe. I paraphrased.

Then, you said, “…can find some sanity in our laws, respecting the Second Amendment and balancing that with some common-sense laws that keep semi-automatic assault weapons out of the hands of citizenry.”

So again, pardon my paraphrasing, but I really thought that that meant you still care for the right to carry, but wish for the law to be amended. Is it not? I’m not trying to be mean, by any stretch of the imagination…I’m just trying to understand then, where I am so “VERY WRONG” in my assumptions.

Feel free to elaborate on your allegations.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

CD - Whatever.

CD said...


WOW! "Whatever" you say? That's a mature way to respond. Guess this Alezzandra person, whomever they are, hit the nail on the head with the one sided conversation jibe.

They must of have similar stand point as I did. Must of.

I simply don't understand. You have a rule the "allows" one to "express my disagreements with other community members without insulting, mocking or slandering personally".

Why play this game if you are not willing to...PLAY THE GAME??

Two hands working can do more than one thousand clasped in prayer.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

CD - You obviously have your own firm, unshakable, immutable opinions. That's not a conversation which is going to go anywhere, in my experience, so the most mature, kind thing I can say is, "Whatever, CD".

Were I at your level I might say something different. But, whatever seems to work well. You only like to listen to yourself anyway - and, note that no one else is engaging you in conversation - so, whatever.

Carry on.

CD said...

Truth be known, nobody else that commented here is really saying much of anything to anybody, so ya really can't compare what I have said to what the others have said, or haven't. Negativity aside, in reality, I have created the most comments, albeit just from you, but its all ya, "whatever" is right.

ALL I have asked from you to explain then why you have said what you have said in your first response. Nothing but a "whatever". True my views are strong, but I AM willing to see both sides of the coin, AND, I am willing to "listen" to what others have to say. If I were so wrong and so off, then back it up. EXPLAIN where I went so off course. I can admit to being wrong and off course. Nothing more. Its not a big deal and no, I'm not trying to "pick a fight" or even set you up for me to knock down. I don't work that way, and no, I'm not a troll (in case you were thinking as such!). I'm merely trying to understand.

But, you know, if you can't be bothered for whatever reason, I'll just believe that really, I WAS right, and there is nothing more to say because you can't back up your allegations towards me.

I can see you rolling your eyes and thinking, "WHATEVER..Think what you want..I don't care" or something very similar to that effect. But yup, until "proven" otherwise, I will. That simple. Meh, its the science nerd in me, I'm sorry. :)

On the flip side, I hope you have yourself a great weekend!!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

CD - Did you ever think that your "strong views" may have shut down the conversation? It didn't look to me like you wanted a conversation but a platform for your views. So, you got it. Your words were sharp and you gave no indication of being willing to listen to both sides of the issue. I published every one of your posts, even though I disagreed with them.

If you look at other, older posts, you'll find that often, a lively conversation ensues. That's just the nature of blogging. I'm not the NYT or a noted journalist - who, BTW, rarely engage with those who post.

Truth be told, if you give my post more than just a cursory reading, looking for something to react against in order to express your opinions, you'll find that I am pretty ambivalent about the Second Amendment - except for semi-automatic weapons and stockpiling ammunition and the ability to get both online, which I think is highly irresponsible and a perversion of the intent of the Second Amendment.

So, *whatever*, CD. You have your opinions and I have mine. Next time you want to engage in a conversation, give some evidence of that and you may find yourself engaged in something that will help you see all sides of the issue.

If you come here with both guns blazing, ready to argue, what you'll hear me say is "whatever". If, however, a conversation is what you want, I'm all ears.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Anonymous - I'm no longer publishing anonymous posts but about the Second Amendment: It was written to allow people to carry muskets to defend themselves against the British invasion.

You wanna carry a musket to defend yourself against the British invasion? Be my guest. Just please don't shoot the Beatles or the Stones.

CD said... you do admit that something needs to be done when it comes to amending the 2nd.

I basically said the same thing, in my VERY first post and you said no, I was VERY WRONG.

But I knew as much as you didn't give any evidence to support your findings and to PROVE yourself. I know its your blog, but really? A good leader is also a good follower.

Funny enough, text emotes like a doesn't. So perhaps things are being read into too much. I felt instead of sharp tones and an abrasive platform, I was merely giving my point of view, just like you have. How and what you read into it, is up to you, and to get defensive and basically make things up, I'm thinking I hit a nerve...just like a "noted journalist" would. I merely gave you and your other readers food for thought. Agree or disagree..its up to you, but if you engage with what I'm saying besides with a "whatever" back it I did. That's how a lively conversation is done. NO need for name calling or making off the wall allegations, or even inserting a word with hopes the conversation ends.

Your other readers MIGHT disagree with me, sure, thus is their choice. Also is their choice to engage or not...I'm not losing sleep over the fact. They also just might AGREE with me too..who knows. Maybe even this second anonymous person was..I don't know. BTW..shoot the Beatles? That would be silly considering all but one are gone from this mortal coil already!!

'The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a "collective right" or an "individual right." Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals. But a conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right does not tell us anything about the scope of that right'- Justice Stevens

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

CD - I think it's your almost desperate need to be right that is most annoying. I mentioned the Second Amendment twice in my comments. No where did I say - specifically - that it needs to be changed. I said I felt ambivalent about it and that it was written for a specific time period but I never said "something needs to be done" about the 2nd Amendment and I never said you were wrong, much less Very Wrong.

You know, I write about a lot of things besides the tragedy in Aurora. Maybe you need to expand your horizons. How 'bout shutting down the old laptop for a couple hours a day and taking a walk outside in the fresh air? Eat an apple or maybe munch on a fresh carrot. Both are good for you - much better than eating the bread of disdain over this little blog.

Right. Well then. Nothing much left to say. It's just been you and me here for the past couple days, and I only come back when you start to holler about something else. We've all moved on, CD. Why not give that a try?