I live 7-10 miles west of the Aurora shootings where 12 people were shot, and 52 were injured. I live about 7 miles east of the Columbine shootings. In each case I heard an outcry, “How could this happen in our community?” Indeed, this is the exception in the 19 years I have lived here. It is not typical of those who live in the Denver metropolitan area, or any other area where shootings have occurred.
However, I think that a very real question should be “Why doesn’t this occur more often?” We have known for 40-50 years that people will imitate what they see on TV and in the movies. People who watch violence are more likely to engage in violence. Does everyone who watches violence engage in violence? No, it just increases the likelihood of violence occurring. It is one component.
In order to light a fire you must have a source of heat, fuel, and oxygen. If you take away any of these elements, there is no fire. In order to have violent responses, you must have a person who believes that violence will either make the situation better or will vindicate some past hurt, who is motivated to act on those beliefs, and who has the ability and knowledge to carry out the plan. Take away any one of those three components and violence will not occur.
Think of the TV shows and movies in the fifties. How much violence did you see. Think of the typical show now. They teach that violence gets you what you want and they show you how to do it. If you still don’t know how to do it, just check the internet for explicit instructions. Who is really surprised that violence has increased? Two of the three components are more accessible.
What about the third component? In both Aurora and Columbine, the weapons were purchased legally. They were readily available, so the third component was met; as long as they can hold a rifle, they have the ability. With fast firing weapons, they don’t even need to know how to aim. While the second amendment defends our right to bear arms, I truly do not understand how that applies to rapid firing rifles. Do we really believe that deer hunters are using them to kill their prey with 50 rounds? I’d hate to clean that animal. Do we really believe that we need rapid firing guns to protect our homes? In case you miss the point, I once taught target shooting at a summer camp. It can be a fun activity. But our guns shot 1 bullet at a time, that required that the marksman actually take aim before they shoot.
I’d love to hear your feedback, as I suspect that everyone will not agree with me.