Colorado Shooting and Gun Control in America

Jessica Ghawi - May her soul rest  in peace

I love the cinema and especially for seeing big budget blockbusters on the big screen. And this summer, there is no bigger movie than The Dark Knight Rises. Right from the first previews, I knew I was going to watch it and I would have been seated at my local Cinema today watching it, if not for the fact that unforeseen circumstances brought us to Nigeria. The plan was to see it immediately I got back but the dream is now tarnished by the recent event and news coming out of America.

At the Colorado midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises on Friday, a lone gunman, suspected to be James Holmes, dressed in costume, opened fire. He killed at least 12 people and injured about 58 others including a 4-months old baby. While I do not live in Colorado, this shooting is no less closer to home than all the others including the Oikos University Shooting which I blogged about.

Jessica Ghawi, one of the victims of the Colorado shooting,  had also been present in a Toronto mall in June where another gunman opened fire on innocent bystanders, and had just minutes before left the venue. In a blog titled, Late Night Thoughts on the Eaton Center Shooting, she talks about an odd feeling inside her chest, and how with that and pure chance, her life was saved.

In part of the blog, she wrote;

“There was a shooting in the food court,” kept being whispered through the crowd like a game of telephone. I was standing near a security guard when I heard him say over his walkie talkie, “One fatality.” At this point I was convinced I was going to throw up. I’m not an EMT or a police officer. I’m not trained to handle crime and murder. Gun crimes are fairly common where I grew up in Texas, but I never imagined I’d experience a violent crime first hand. I’m on vacation and wanted to eat and go shopping. Everyone else at the mall probably wanted the same thing. I doubt anyone left for the mall imagined they witness a shooting.

I read her blog post and felt nauseous too.

Of certain events that can lead to mass deaths, there are radical political or religious terrorists, and there are natural disasters. I do not understand them either but the concept of gunmen of unknown motives mowing down innocent people is even more distressing to me. How can these people obtain guns so easily?

James Holmes had four guns, purchased from three different shops. One of the shops has said they followed all protocol to sell the guns but what does that mean when we keep hearing about these mass shootings? There has almost been one for every month I have lived in the USA. [Timeline: Worst mass shootings in U.S.]

In an article on the CNN, a columnist, John Donohue, wrote about the hard road America faces if it decides to face gun control squarely.

The conceptual problem is immensely difficult, especially in a society that is already as gun-saturated as America is today. The political problem borders on the impossible. Gun policy in this country is made by the National Rifle Association, and no serious effort at gun control can currently get past its veto.

Even when legislation passed during the Clinton years in the form of the Brady bill, requiring background checks at the time of gun purchases, or the assault weapons ban, the NRA succeeded in injecting gaping loopholes into the laws.

Who needs to go through a background check at Walmart when you can get your gun without one at the local gun show or from some shady figure on a street corner?

The assault weapon ban only prohibited the manufacture of new guns (it grandfathered in a huge cache of pre-existing weapons) and gun manufacturers easily redesigned their guns to circumvent the ban. The NRA then trumpets how "gun control" doesn't work. [Source]

Like Donohue, I believe that no matter how torturous the process seems, the NRA better buckle up and smell the coffee. So many lives are being lost unnecessarily and until they understand that we are not in the times of the Wild Wild West anymore, more worthy people like Jessica Ghawi, Doris Chibuko, and all the others will continue to be lost.

Guns in every hand, or even in any hand that wants it, is a senseless policy, and in these days of multiple mental health issues and variable ideas and ideologies, gun control is an imperative.