On Friday, July 20, at midnight, a theater full of people in the suburbs of Denver excitedly sat down to watch the much-anticipated ending to the Dark Knight trilogy. None of them would have ever guessed it would turn into a nightmare with a gunman throwing tear gas into the room and opening fire.

With 12 people confirmed dead and 58 injured, a somber President Barack Obama said, “There will be other days for politics. This will be a day for prayer and reflection.”

While they don’t agree often, Obama’s Republican opponent Mitt Romney quickly agreed. He put aside his planned attacks on the president and wrote an entirely new speech.

Romney said, “This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another.”

While the two vying for the nation’s top seat did the right thing on Friday, so many others didn’t. The discussions became political all too quickly for my taste.

Radio shows and many others immediately started arguing over gun control, gun rights and on and on and on.

One radio personality, whom I choose not to give the satisfaction of being named, wished that someone with a concealed weapon would have been in the theater so this person would have been able to return fire.

Really? What if in the smoke-filled darkness of a chaotic theater, this concealed weapon carrier missed his target and hits an innocent victim who was just trying to get out of the suspect’s line of sight?

While the left cries for stricter gun laws, the right cries that there’s not enough of them.

In this world filled with hate-filled politics, I started feeling on Friday that the victims got lost in the battles of two parties hell bent on disagreeing on anything and everything that is brought up.

For those of us in Tucson, the shooting hits a little too close to home. We can’t forget Jan. 8, and we are still hearing the ongoing debate about what should happen to prevent these tragedies from taking place.

In the case of Jared Lee Loughner, who is accused of taking aim at the innocent victims in that Safeway parking lot on Jan. 8, he still sits in a Missouri mental health facility being pumped full of drugs so he can be deemed fit to stand trial in what likely will become a plea of insanity.

Will that be the same case with James Holmes, the man accused of taking lives and wounding dozens in Colorado? We know he dropped out of med school the day before, but with all the equipment and gun power he had, he had to have been planning his attack a lot sooner than Thursday.

Holmes’ own mother told ABC News that she wasn’t surprised to hear that her son was the culprit.

I wonder now, if like Loughner, Holmes was showing all the warning signs, but no one stepped in to help. Or, did Holmes seem sane like his neighbors and fellow medical students have stated?

We focus so much on gun control, but where is the focus on mental health? Where is the focus on stopping these people from taking lives at all? Where is legislation that prevents these tragedies altogether?

These tragedies aren’t just centered around the fact that someone owns a gun and used it to carry out a senseless attack on innocent people who just wanted to see the final Batman movie.

The politics have to be put aside and everyone needs to come to the table and look at the fact that these tragedies are becoming too common.

Those in power must look at all of these mass shootings and take every aspect into account from guns, to mental health, to where they get all of the ingredients they need to carry out such a dreadful plan.

Our society should not become fearful of attending a movie, or visiting our elected officials at a grocery store.

(2) comments


No one can disagree with your last statement. But I fear neither progressive mental health services nor lowering the cost of ammunition will provide viable solutions to such issues as we see today in mass shootings. What an odd and virtually unpredictable thing it is for sure. Just how many peopie walking the streets of our great land would fit neatly into a criminal profilers database yet never step out of line?
I took a class sponsored by the USSS once regarding such issues and found their website to be interesting and helpful.
good luck

John J Flanagan

Thelma, I agree with aspects of your opinion piece in the Explorer, however, let me give you another viewpoint.. In every society one will find gratuitous violence and murder, however, in non-political, serial killings motivated by psychological and irrational behavior is particularly a problem in the United States. Do you wonder why? Liberals and progressives rarely complain much about Hollywood movies, filled with murder, pornography, and random killing. The media also shows the government and big business as the enemies, encourages young women to live promiscuously, demonizes Christians, etc. Much of the worldview of young people is shaped by the degenerates from Hollywood who produce filth and push their immoral lifestyles on the culture. Did you notice that after the incident in Aurora, gun sales in Colorado spiked upwards to about +40% of normal sales? People are fearful. The police cannot often protect the public. They usually show up after the bloodbath is over. The media, cameras in tow, arrive to compete for news time and advertising. As far as your suggestion to do more about mental health, well, some of these things are unpredictable, and we cannot rely on the mental health industry either. I particularly do not agree when you mention how civility is needed without suggesting the true origin of some of the incivility. How about the White House, with Obama and his regime constantly looking for any bit of negativity and accusations against opponents, than leaking information to the media to stir things up? Much of the incivility is from the liberals and the left, who then call for more civility as if they had no part in it. The hypocrisy of the Democrats and the media are so very obvious. We who are right wingers, conservative Christians, and opponents of the president and the left wing media also expect to compete in the marketplace of ideas and express our views, defend the unborn, support traditional marriage, and we can only do it in a civil manner when the opposition is also civil, which they are often not. As for guns, we need armed citizens because otherwise the criminals and gangs will have them, and we would be defenseless. If guns are outlawed, the bad guys will use knives, as they have in the past. You will never be able to live in total security. Our society is media driven, and criminals love attention. Also, when these things happen, why aren't more people demanding Hollywood stop the proliferation of violent films? It seems that we are looking for political solutions to a spiritual problem. America is sick, thanks to Hollywood and the media, and that is where one must start with the blame game.

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