Wednesday, July 25

My Two Cents...Worth Two Cents

This piece may seem out of sorts on a blog like mine, but in reality it's just a blog and just my thoughts. I try to maintain a transportation theme but in the end I can write about anything I want.

I don't really want to, but feel I probably should write about the shooting in Aurora last Friday.

It's terrible. I feel bad for the victims and their families, and in a way I feel bad for the shooter and his family. I'm not defending his actions, but he's obviously troubled.

I have no connections to any of the people involved. I've never been to that part of Aurora and only know a half dozen people that live in the city. For me this is as far away as it is for most of my family in the East.

I'm sick of the ceaseless "coverage" by the local news. It's big, but let's get back to important things in the world. Let us know when something major occurs. Otherwise, give everyone some peace from this tragedy. After this post I intend to do just that.

Gun control. I'm not a democrat, a leftist or a liberal. If you're a semi-regular reader of this blog that may be a surprise to you. But I say it often enough, I just don't buy into the Left vs Right ideologies. They're too cookie cutter to be of any benefit to mankind.

Gun control. I believe in the freedom to arm yourself. I didn't grow up with guns, but we have guns now. I'm not pro- or anti-guns. I once hit a head sized target from 200 yards with a Yugoslav M-48a. But I digress...

Watching the video of the 71 year old man who fired on two robbers in an Internet cafe in Florida gives me pause though. From what I've been taught about guns I saw that his behavior was a little reckless.

In that situation the shooter turned a situation with no gunfire into a potential shoot out in a crowded room. He fired between two patrons that were well forward of his position and then out the front door.

Had the robbers returned his fire instead of running it is likely many people would have been injured or killed.

Some have said one armed person in the Aurora movie theater could have ended things much faster, but I disagree.

First, Holmes was wearing body armor. The typical carry-sized handgun may not have had much effect on stopping him. Secondly, he had a shotgun, assault rifle and a handgun. He had anyone legally carrying far outgunned. Oh, but if there were a few legal carriers in the theater they would have had him outgunned?

I'm not sure I'd want to be in the middle of a gunfight in a chaotic dark theater. Same as a crowded Internet cafe. More guns, more bullets flying...not necessarily a better situation. Stray bullets, ricochets, unintended consequences...

Possession of a concealed and carry license does not immediately bestow good judgment and marksmanship on a person.I wish it did.

Let me pose a quick scenario.

You can legally conceal and carry a handgun. You are doing so at a midnight showing in a crowded theater. In the middle of the movie a man enters the theater and opens fire. Within seconds you see muzzle flashes in other locations in the dark theater. How many assailants are there?

As someone who had a concealed and carry in another state, I can say honestly that it had occurred to me that by pulling a gun in that sort of situation I might get shot myself. And not necessarily by the bad guys.

If police officers come into the middle of a gunfight in a dark theater which side do they take?

If an assailant is dressed like a policeman, how do you know the real thing in a dark theater?

I believe in the right to bear arms and the freedom to defend yourself. But I don't agree that the solution to random public shootings is to arm everyone. Other than a smidgen of deterrence, the widespread packing of heat in crowded public places does not necessarily increase the safety of the average person.

My true point is this...in the heat of the moment we rarely know the full story. Solving problems with guns is rarely the best approach.

Did James Holmes deserve to be shot for what he was doing? Yes. How about the Internet cafe bandits? I don't think so. Truthfully, it seems they were just in it for the money. Let them take the money. Don't endanger the lives of others by opening fire, even when it might seem to make sense.

I don't know if I would trust my own judgment in either of those situations, not because I have no reasoning skills, but because in the heat of he moment I don't have the training and experience to make the right snap decisions.

Of course we'll watch how this tragedy unfolds. I'm not going to lie, I have a morbid curiosity about Holmes' motives. The 'why' is the big mystery. I don't feel the urge to keep up with day to day developments though. It's like watching paint peel and then explode. Your heart and mind can only handle so much.

I was really impressed with Christian Bale coming to visit the victims in the hospital. That was an amazing gesture, to fans, to victims, to those who had not expected it. He didn't have to do it, and many wouldn't have. Kudos to you Mr. Bale.

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