Shooting rampage no joke

This was no random act of violence. Holmes had meticulously planned the awful event.

Shooting rampage no joke

Just after midnight on Friday, lone gunman James Holmes took the lives of 12 moviegoers and injured a further 58, at a showing of the new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. The quiet town of Aurora, Colorado has been left reeling at the news of the deaths and the details surrounding the massacre.

As Holmes entered the movie theatre through an emergency exit, he let off two smoke bombs. Entranced by the movie, the cinemagoers thought it was an elaborate stunt, until he opened fire. Those present say Holmes acted calmly and rather than firing randomly, almost methodically picked those he shot.

This was no random act of violence. Holmes had meticulously planned the awful event. In the two months before the shooting, Holmes had gathered together an arsenal of arms, ammunition and body armour. On the night of the shooting he bought a ticket for the movie, then snuck out via an emergency exit, jamming it open to enable him to return to the theatre once he was fully kitted out.

Upon his arrest Holmes referred to himself as the Joker - a character in the Batman movies - and told police he had booby-trapped his apartment. All this seems to be dramatically at odds with the image he had portrayed prior to Friday of a perfect student and ideal neighbour.

Read more about the tragic shooting in Aurora, Denver at TheAge.com.au

Comment - Just another US shooting?

Sadly, on hearing the news that a gunman had opened fire on a cinema full of moviegoers, I automatically assumed it had happened in the US. All too often reports emerge from the States of innocent civilians losing their lives due to the actions of a lone gunman

In 2007 a 23-year-old student killed 32 people at a university campus.  In 2009 alone, in three separate incidents, 36 people lost their lives at the hands of lone gunmen. As awful as these mass murders are, have we simply come to expect such news from the US?

It seems to me that we have. Despite the enormity of this atrocity, in which three children aged six, 12 and 14 lost their lives, one of the questions which has been asked after the event is how parents could have taken such young children to a midnight showing of a violent movie? How irrelevant is such a question? Why are not more people asking how this man managed to legally obtain four weapons? Perhaps people just accept that the liberal gun laws in the USA will occasionally enable one unhinged citizen to take the lives of innocent bystanders, just because he can.

Is the right to bear arms such an intrinsic part of US identity that it trumps the right of parents to make the decision on how their children are raised? Of course you can question whether the content of the latest Hollywood adaptation of a comic book character was acceptable viewing for the younger victims. But surely this pales into insignificance when it is so difficult to understand how the atrocity could have been allowed to happen in the first place?

As a parent myself I have on occasion allowed my son to watch a movie which has a classification beyond his years and assumed the only issue would be the questions I would face about things he didn’t understand. I have also allowed him to stay up later than perhaps he should to watch a movie or attend a sporting event and, again, assumed the only issue would be having to deal with one cranky, tired child the next day. Never, when I have made such decisions have I ever had to consider that my lax attitude to parenting could end up with my son being shot and for this I am eternally grateful.

Sadly for those parents who made the decision to allow their children the treat of going to a midnight showing of the latest movie, they will forever regret that they did.  Not a day will go by that they don’t wake up and the first words they hear themselves say are ‘if only…’

Do you think we are too accepting of the consequences of the US’s liberal gun laws? If such a tragedy happened in Australia, would you have a different reaction?

Should the parents involved be chastised for the decision they made to take their children to the midnight movie?
Yes
No
 




    COMMENTS

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    justme
    23rd Jul 2012
    12:28pm
    There's already way too many people trying to tell others how to live there lives.
    I think the question is inappropriate.
    If it was a bad choice "we" should have "known" before the event, not judge after.
    As for weapons availability much of it relates to the political system and it's lobbyists.
    Pass the Ductape
    24th Jul 2012
    5:32am
    I disagree with the first part of this comment.
    When I was a child, I had the opportunity to get into loads of mischief and many, many times I didn't, simply because of what a neighbour or other acquaintance of my parents (in particular my father) would say to my parents, if I was discovered behaving badly. It was likely I would be punished for this bad behaviour upon the word of the person who saw fit to complain to my parents.
    These days, no-one wants to interfere in cases like this; we have insulated ourselves through politcal correctness and learned to turn away from our responsibilities as members of society overall.
    This 'non-interference' has fostered the problems we now face in many aspects of modern life.
    As far as America’s gun laws are concerned, I think that the term - 'live by the gun, die by the gun' - is highly relevant to the USA's future as a nation.
    Everywhere you look, the USA appears to be regressing into total chaos. The incidents of mass shootings are nothing more than a symptom of this and I can't help but wonder about history and - 'The Fall of The Roman Empire'.
    Sillabil
    27th Jul 2012
    11:47am
    I also disagree, don't you care about your children? Don't you want the best for them? Well the movie was classified to be inappropriate for children.
    Sillabil
    23rd Jul 2012
    12:48pm
    I would like to see the rest of the world get involved with the USA gun laws. The UN should be involved and demand that the USA tighten gun laws and if the citizens feel they need to be armed only allow a revolver. After all America is no different than the Syria, Afghanistan killing off their own people. All the other countries should put embargoes and sanctions on dealing with them until they tighten their gunlaws. The rest of the world is sick of hearing Americans being massacred.
    Huskie
    23rd Jul 2012
    12:57pm
    It is a cultural thing. The USA is the only culture to go from barbarism to decadence without a period of civilisation in between. It should also be noted that the cultures that had an eagle as their symbol (Rome and Nazi Germany) basically self destructed.
    MrsB
    23rd Jul 2012
    1:06pm
    I cannot believe how gun happy they are in the US is their country so bad that they need a gun for protection, obviously yes.
    I heard on the radio last week a 3 year old found his father's gun loaded and pointed it at his father and shot him dead, the little boy was probably influenced by what he sees on T.V.
    Their gun laws are too lax and something should be done to tighten the laws, surely someone must have been wondering why does this person need to buy 6,000 rounds of ammunition,I hope they would have a register of names of people buying large quantities of bullet, and then to notify the police. He was definitely a mad man. I feel for his parents as well as all the victims and their families.
    Pardelope
    23rd Jul 2012
    1:11pm
    Michael Moore produced a very good documentary - movie in 2002 - about the USA and its attitude to, and history with guns. It was called "Bowling for Columbine" - and is well worth viewing twelve years later (it is available on DVD). He compared the attitude to weapons and death tolls in Canada and the USA, showed how easy it is to obtain high-powered weapons - as well as interviewing law-makers, celebrities and others. My respect for the actor Charlton Heston went to zero after his interview.

    I believe that people who want to use guns for sport should not be permitted to keep the weapons in their home unless they are in super-strong gun safes AND the ammunition is sold only with strict record-keeping and (separate) storage facilities. Hand guns should be securely stored at pistol clubs and not allowed to be carried or kept anywhere else.

    The gun lobby says it is the shooter - not the gun which kills. I agree, but if guns (especially high-powered military-stlye weapons) were not readily available, the USA death toll would be much, much lower. God bless America!
    Michael
    23rd Jul 2012
    8:20pm
    Superstrong safes are already required by law before a legally obtained firearm can be supplied. Separate storage of ammunition is also required and cannot be supplied without the required paperwork.These laws already have been in force for several years. I am not a gun owner. Sadly, laws don't stop maniacs acquiring legal or illegal weapons.
    Nan Norma
    23rd Jul 2012
    1:47pm
    When I first heard about the shooting in a cinema at midnight I too was shocked. I asked myself what kind of parents take their children to such a violent movie and a midnight. The fact that these parents saw nothing wrong in doing that tells me me something about the culture of America. Is it any wonder they are seeing such violence in their streets and schools. I feel that these parents are the product of the "Me" generation. selfish. Their rights come before the responsibilities to their children. I mean there was a three month old baby there.
    Sillabil
    23rd Jul 2012
    2:20pm
    Nan Norma, you said it, the "Me" generation are now reaping the fruits of their non labour.
    barbarella
    23rd Jul 2012
    2:59pm
    The comment "Just another US shooting?" contained the statement "As a parent myself I have on occasion allowed my son to watch a movie which has a classification beyond his years and assumed the only issue would be the questions I would face about things he didn’t understand. ."
    I think there are other issues that need to be considered here.
    Movie classifications matter and if a film is classified as not suitable for those under 15 years (either M or MA15+) then this needs to be taken seriously. The research tells us that ongoing exposure to "glamorised" violence (used by heroes who are good at the violence; it's presented as justified, and it's rewarded and applauded, and if there are few real life consequences (such as a lifetime of grief, ongoing trauma etc etc)) will raise the risk that more individuals in our society will choose to use violence to solve conflict. More will be desensitised to the use of violence by others, and some will develop the "mean and scary view of the world" syndrome, where they have to go out and get someone, before they come and get you. Of course, not all violence in our society is caused by media violence, (the causes are many) but choosing not to expose our young people to violent heroes is one easy and effective contribution to some reduction.

    23rd Jul 2012
    3:03pm
    Its strange that we always think of America when it comes to mass shootings. Apart from the fact that the America murders are better armed than most. If you look at the number of incidents by population or kills per incident America barely makes it into the top ten. Though this is more than compensated for by the number of non-americans the US accidently kills on its various peace missions.
    I doubt If this incedent will cause gun laws in the US to be made more restrictive in fact the reverse is more likely. Some gun lobbists in the states are already argueing that if everybody in the cinema had been armed the gunman would not have lived past his first shot.
    No I think the most likely thing to happen is a more restrictive interpretation of film censership laws in the US after all it happened a violent movie.
    Min
    23rd Jul 2012
    3:20pm
    He bought all the guns, protective equipment etc on the internet including thousands of rounds of ammunition. Surely US and Norway etc can change their Laws to monitor and investigate these types of large purchases to stop mass shootings like this before they happen.
    Crazy men who do this should be investigated before the event. Prevention is always better than cure! Australia learnt from Port Arthur and had the gun pay back system and so should they! Both sides are worried about losing votes.
    Michael
    23rd Jul 2012
    8:27pm
    I find it hard to believe that all the crims/nutters etc. lined up to hand in their illegal firearm, only honest citizens would have and will do. It is naive to think otherwise.
    Min
    24th Jul 2012
    7:43am
    I am sure it reduced Australia's numbers by a big percentage and lives would have been saved . 49% of households in US have a firearm so a ratio of 1in 2 using it in a rage or an accident is sure out there let alone a crazy man seeking notoriety.
    Michael
    24th Jul 2012
    8:30am
    100% of households in Switzerland contain a firearm, a government requirement, and house break ins are relatively unheard of. It is estimated that less than 15% of firearms were handed in on the buy-back.
    Sillabil
    23rd Jul 2012
    3:30pm
    But both sides wouldn't worry about losing votes if the outside world through NATO requested the changes on humanitary grounds. Everyone is entitled to feel safe in their society isn't that what we are saying to Afghanistan or Syria etc.
    Annie
    23rd Jul 2012
    4:26pm
    Life is becoming very sad. I have got to the stage now when my first thought as I turn on the TV is "What terrible thing has happened in the world now" - one hardly turns on TV and hears something joyous and lovely. One tends to shrug the shoulders at the terrible "theater" massacre and say "Oh, another tragedy". Is there an answer? Sadly, I don't think so. The gunmans mother knew something wasn't right with her son for various reasons but did nothing to find out what it was. Nowadays it seems mother's will be responsible for the actions of their offspring!!
    Gone are the days when one could feel "once they cut their teeth everything will be AOK!!" - Sadly, not so!
    Maybe gun laws in the USA might help, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. It is a problem way beyond human intervention now.
    leon
    23rd Jul 2012
    7:33pm
    Download these articles & things may appear clearer to you!
    http://www.westernjournalism.com/colorado-shooting-provides-opportunity-for-gun-grabbers/ &
    http://www.westernjournalism.com/was-colorado-shooting-staged-by-the-government/
    Very interesting !!
    Min
    24th Jul 2012
    1:15pm
    All the same Michael ...I know what you are saying and you obviously love guns but there has not been such a mass shooting like Port Arthur in Australia since...even to a lesser degree.
    Michael
    24th Jul 2012
    11:40pm
    Probably not because there less firearms but possibly because there is one less nutcase!
    toot2000
    24th Jul 2012
    1:44pm
    If you want something badly enough, you will eventually find it on the internet. Every time some nutcase goes on a shooting spree, there is always an outcry about guns but it's not the gun, it's the person behind the gun that's the problem.
    Sillabil
    24th Jul 2012
    10:23pm
    However toot2000, I have heard that argument so often, it's a poor argument because the person behind a water pistol doesn't kill.
    Michael
    24th Jul 2012
    11:43pm
    Bit hard to drown somebody with a waterpistol!
    Sally-Jane
    25th Jul 2012
    12:04am
    I agree with you toot2000. All they did with the gun buy back was to disarm the honest part of the population, who would never have used them against another person anyway, and gave the crims no deterant to break into our homes to rob and terrorise families. Has anyone noticed the increase in knife attacks we have now? What next, are they going to take all the knives off us and ban them too? While we have drugs in our society, we will always have crims after money for their next hit, and pushers who who will kill at the drop of a hat if anyone dares to cross them.
    toot2000
    25th Jul 2012
    7:53am
    Agree, every kid seems to carry a knife these days, not sure if it's mainly to protect themselves or not. The amount of guns that come into Oz is frightening, the Middle Eastern Crime Squad discovered one Sydney gang's racket of buying guns in Europe, then having them sent by post in bits to Australia.
    Nautilus
    26th Jul 2012
    1:52pm
    Any shooting anywhere is sensationalised and continually re-told with speculative gossip to sell papers. That results in copy cats. Ratbags know that the coinage for getting their lousy faces in the fish wrappers and tabloid TV is to commit an atrocity.

    Report but don't make a meal of it, riding on the backs of the misery of victims and inviting others to commit similar acts.
    Nautilus
    26th Jul 2012
    11:41pm
    Just to add, what some people do not realise is that disgusting criminal grubs like Bryant (Aust) crave media attention and pore over the media reports for anything about themselves. Proves to them that they still have power over people.

    Let them rot forgotten in a cell where they always know what tomorrow will bring...more of the same.

    It is incredible that sad clucks of editors and shock jocks keep giving them their desired notoriety through stories about them whenever any opportunity arises.


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