Early this morning at the opening of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, a bloodthirsty lunatic named James Eagan Holmes threw tear gas grenades into the theater and then opened fire, killing twelve and injuring more than 40 people.
Eagan was apprehended in the parking lot of the theater; he brought a gas mask, bulletproof vest, rifle, shotgun, and two pistols to his private murder party. His actions were abominable and Aurora is still in shock from today's tragedy.
That hasn't stopped a few ghoulish individuals from attempting to make ideological gold from lead, however.
One friend of mine on Facebook barely waited for the blood to dry before swooping in on the wings of a vulture:
Current TV didn't waste any time either:
One commenter on Current TV's Facebook hit the nail on the head, in my opinion:
Elderly Caucasian plutocrat and nanny-stater Michael Bloomberg (declared Mayor of New York City by the ancient tradition of "handing the title to the richest guy they could find") is not one to pass up cheap opportunism either:
Michael Bloomberg is calling on President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to respond to the mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., by detailing their plans to improve gun control
In his weekly WOR Radio appearance on Friday, Bloomberg said that "soothing words are nice." But he said it's time to hear the presidential candidates "stand up and tell us what they're going to do about it."
|Mayor Michael Bloomberg (photo by Craig Ruttle)|
There are two issues here, essentially.
Issue one is whether it is ever appropriate to use a national tragedy to score political cheap shots and try to advance your agenda. I come down pretty heavily on "no" regarding that question - and I like to think that I'm not a hypocrite here. Left, right, radical, whatever - if you hear about something like what happened today in Aurora and your first thought is "Hot diggity! This will make great ammunition in the X-Y-Z debate," your priorities and/or brain are rotten right down to the rancid, pustulent core.
The second issue regards the efficacy of gun control and/or its relevance to what happened in Aurora at all. As far as I can tell from police reports so far, no extraordinary or unusual weapons (with the exception of tear gas grenades - and it will be interesting to see how that story plays out) were used in this crime. To stop this guy from obtaining a shotgun or handguns, you would have to go beyond the normal limits of gun control and into the province of truly draconian gun restrictions, a place few advocates of gun control are actually willing to go, for practical and political reasons.
A tragedy is a tragedy - heartlessly shoehorning it into some pre-conceived ideological framework to further your agenda is disgusting.
Update: I suppose I should have stated from the outset what I was thinking so hard I didn't feel the need to articulate: my thoughts are with the people of Aurora, and especially those who lost loved ones, or lost their lives.
My thoughts are also with the many, many people in this country who have had their lives touched malignantly by gun violence of any kind. There is an epidemic of this sick, frightening type of thing unfolding, and whatever your opinions regarding the Great Left/Right Divide, this should be something that everyone can agree we need to work on eliminating as a country. Something very dark is going on in America's soul (such as it is), and gun violence is the most obvious, lethal and awful symptom.