Gun sales go up after Aurora tragedy.by Don Lacey on Jul. 25, 2012, under AZ Politics, Clarity, Critical Thinking, Ethics, Freethought, Government, Guns, History, Logic, Question of the Day!, Reason, Responsible Government, Terrorism, That's Life!
It may be possible to discuss the Aurora tragedy without getting into the mine infested trench lines of current politics. There are facts and observations that rise above the politics and can form a common basis of discussion. At least, that’s my hope. Let’s dedicate this blog entry to that effort. The idea came from a column in the Silicon Valley Mercury News: Aurora Theater shooting: Gun sales up in Colorado since tragedy. The article states that it is not unusual for gun sales to climb after a shooting tragedy and cites the reaction us Arizonans had after Gabby Giffords was shot here in Tucson. Let’s stay rational about this situation and find some agreements before running for the barricades.
I think we can all agree that buying a gun after such a tragedy isn’t an insane thing to do and it probably won’t have a negative effect on gun violence. Assume the common reaction after such an incident is to arm oneself. If I were to use myself as an example, I’d probably buy a pistol unless I was reacting to a rash of home invasions then my choice would be a 12 gauge “home protector.” Personally, I’d buy a pump because just the sound is unique, well known, and so intimidating.
So far, we’re all good with that I hope. In order to simplify the discussion and focus on the most recent situation, let’s concentrate on the tragedies outside the home like the one in Aurora. I’ll include a discussion of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and talk about the differences first, then the similarities, and finally a common observation.
In Aurora the gunman didn’t have a specific target as far as we know, while in Tucson Jared Loughner was specifically after Representative Giffords. The suspect in Aurora, James Holmes, used multiple weapons, wore protective gear, and used gas in the attack. Jared used a single Glock pistol with an extended magazine and no protective gear. His attack was in the open, in broad daylight and direct.
There were similarities too. Both men acted alone and made preparations for the attack. They both used legally obtained weapons not commonly used for protection or hunting. Both shooters used a large capacity magazine: Jared’s Glock had a 30 round magazine while James’ had a 100 round drum magazine on his assault rifle. He also carried a pair of 40 caliber Glock handguns and a shotgun. The attacks were quick and the suspects were captured almost immediately. In both cases, many people died. Jared is responsible for 6 deaths and 13 wounded and in the Aurora tragedy 12 died and there were a total of 70 people injured.
What about the common observation that an additional gun in the theater would have saved lives? Here is a video that tries to make that point. Cute! In our own Tucson tragedy there was at least another gun on the scene and the owner of the gun came very close to using it on the person holding Jared down. He didn’t because he saw that the gun’s slide was back and empty—good eye! Things happen quickly and decisions being made by armed citizens could have deadly irreversible consequences. What is needed then are trained armed men to counter the threat but that hasn’t always worked out either. President Reagan was surrounded by the elite armed Secret Service yet Hinckly was able to shoot him in his rib cage before anyone could react. Lynette (Squeeky) Fromme got a .45 pistol within range of President Ford in 1975 and he was similarly protected. Sara Jane Moore got a shot off at President Ford 17 days later. Armed men at the scene, even well trained armed men, are not always the answer. It’s obvious, almost trivial to assume that the tragedies here in Tucson and in Aurora would not have happened if no one had been armed. Here is a COMIC that sums things up. Advocates of gun control have all but lost. Nothing changed after Gabrielle Giffords was shot and nothing will change as a result of the Aurora tragedy, except perhaps for the increase in gun sales. The issue is radioactive, and emotional to the point where there can be no meaningful discussion. I have to ask, however, could we at least consider limiting the lethality and fire power? We already do have some limits. There are already caliber limits and restrictions on owning automatic weapons. Is the slope so slippery that we can’t at least restore the restrictions on magazine capacity?