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Colorado shooting reignites America’s ‘gun culture’ debate

Published Jul 21, 2012 01:31pm


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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks about the shootings in Colorado at an event in Bow, N.H. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stressed both presidential candidates to make their stance on gun control clear. – Photo by AP


Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks about the shootings in Colorado at an event in Bow, N.H. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stressed both presidential candidates to make their stance on gun control clear. – Photo by AP

A tragic shooting, which took place at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, left 12 people dead and injured at least 71 others, during a screening of the new Batman movie.

According to local authorities, suspect 24-year old James Holmes, was apprehended in the parking lot behind the theatre. He has no criminal history with the police department outside of one traffic violation.

The bright red-headed suspect calmly entered from the side entrance of the theatre and announced that he was “The Joker” – the character from the Batman movie. Dressed in all-black ballistic gear including a ballistic helmet, vest, shin guards, groin and throat protector, and a gas mask, he dropped to canisters that released smoke, and then began to randomly shoot at audience members who had just seated themselves to watch “The Dark Knight Rises” which opened at 3,700 theaters across the United States.

Some movie-goers assumed the assailant was part of the special gimmick or prank of the midnight movie premier until shots rang out and a regular movie night turned into a living nightmare.

Holmes was arrested without incident and four weapons were recovered in his possession, one of which was in the theatre. The guns included AR-15 rifle, a 870 12-gauge Remington shotgun, and two 40-caliber Glock handguns. The assailant bought the weapons and almost 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the last two months. Local police officials are confident that Holmes acted alone and is not part of a terrorist group until a further investigation results in new evidence.

Many of the victims were seriously injured and officials are waiting for a full report from local medical officials.

The suspect was in accordance with state gun laws where gun permit holders are allowed to carry concealed handguns. Although rifle and assault weapons are prohibited – Holmes did buy his the guns with a permit.

Colorado police officials are having difficulty entering the shooter’s apartment which is rigged with explosives.

“His apartment is booby-trapped,” Aurora police chief Dan Oates told reporters. “We are trying to determine how to disarm the flammable or explosive material. We could be here for hours or days. The pictures are fairly disturbing. It looks very sophisticated, how it’s booby-trapped. It could be a very long wait.”

An eyewitness caught the chaos on a cell phone camera and posted the video on Youtube which already has over a million views.

The media attention surrounding the shooting has roused the gun debate once again among political pundits especially New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who has been vocal about his anti-gun stance.

“Soothing words are nice,” Bloomberg said during radio show in New York. “But maybe it’s time the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country. And everybody always says, ‘Isn’t it tragic?’”

Bloomberg continued. “And this is a problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them, concretely, not just in generalities, specifically, what are they going to do about guns?”

The second amendment of the United States Constitution’s part of the Bill of Rights states; “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

National survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. on gun control in the US.


Since the last two presidential campaigns public opinion has changed on different social issues like gun control – according to the latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. – Americans have become more conservative on the right to bear arms. On gun control, 49 per cent of Americans say it is more important to protect the rights of Americans to own guns, while 45 per cent say it is more important to control gun ownership.

From 1993 through 2008, majorities had said it was more important to control gun ownership than to protect gun rights, but opinion became more divided since the election of US President Barack Obama.

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention & Control, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, guns took the lives an estimated 31,000 Americans in homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings. This is the equivalent of more than 85 deaths each day and more than three deaths each hour.

Americans own an estimated 270 million firearms – approximately 90 guns for every 100 people.

In recent Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, in 2010, there were an estimated 12,000 murders in the US of those, 8,775 were caused by a firearms.

In reaction to the shooting security measures are being taken at movie theaters across the country.

In New York, New York Police Department took security measures at many theater locations to ward off any copy-cat assailants. Movie-goers who attend the theater in costume will be denied access into the theatre.

Warner Brothers released a statement sending their condolences to the victims and their families and a special red-carpet screening in Paris with the stars of the “The Dark Knight Rises” was cancelled.

Originally from California, James Egan Holmes was a student the University of Colorado Denver's graduate program in neurosciences.

Aurora is small city in Colorado with an estimated 325,000 population located outside of Denver, a major city, in Colorado. Colorado is known for its famous mountain range known as the Rocky Mountains. The city of Aurora was also the former home to Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit and her husband Dr Shriram Nene.

The author is former staff member based in New York.


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Comments (23) Closed

Sanj Jul 21, 2012 03:56pm
Blame it on Hollywood. who glorify people with Guns and Galore. The art of intelligent movies has been lost forever. That is how people mimic and get inspired to commit serious crimes.This is serious and losing a life is no joke.
Raza Jul 22, 2012 05:08pm
Michael Moore's documentary Bowling for Columbine raised a good issue over Gun Sale. this Colorado incident elaborates the sale of violence and terrorism by the Govt. itself americans really need to look at this one.
lee Jul 22, 2012 05:14pm
It is unclear at this point if Holmes had a concealed carry permit but Aurora and Denver have bans on concealed permit holders carrying. The authorities have not said he had a concealed carry permit.
Lee Jul 22, 2012 05:11pm
Actually, you have to be careful when citing FBI UCR data because Homicide includes justifiable shootings by police and civilians but homicide and murder aren't interchangeable terms. Plus, the FBI said that around 67% of the murders were committed by all firearms which is accounted for you using 12,000 instead of the 12996 actually stated in the 2010 UCR.
oakville1958 Jul 22, 2012 05:42pm
I think one needs to take responsibility for their actions! If we continue to blame the movies or the video games and portray ourselves as victims of society, we can never solve these problems. These movies and video games only succeed, because people like ourselves go and spend money on them. If we avoid these bad influences and focus on what we think is good for the society, these producers of movies and video games will be out of business. I believe if each of us stand up for what we believe is right, and not let society dictate to us as to how we are to live our lives or what we should and should not be watching or doing, this world can turn around for the better. I can tell you, amongst us, no one is a victim or a villain - we choose our own path. If only everyone uses their common sense and realize that we all are self-sufficient and get this greed out of our thinking, we can all get rid of our sadness and depression and start living our lives, the way it was meant to be lived.
akhter husain Jul 21, 2012 06:36pm
From where such ideas come in one's mind?From movies that glorifies killers like 007.Now there are video games the children play with out realizing that this is just a pass time and not to be practiced because it does not make one hero,instead one may be in jail for committing the crime.The people must stop making hero out of killers.
gabe newell Jul 21, 2012 04:27pm
If everyone in that crowd had a gun or even just 3 or 4 people this all could have been averted.
Cyrus Howell Jul 21, 2012 04:21pm
That is all it will be - another debate.
oakville1958 Jul 21, 2012 01:54pm
The more i try to make sense of all that is going around in this world, the more i feel convinced that it is more than easy availability of lethal weapons, that is making this world a dangerous place to live in. I strongly believe it is depression and overall sadness. I am certain society is placing so much value to material progress, that the thinking has changed, where people are misconceived into believing that money buys happiness. This whole change in mentality has brought a wide gap between upper and lower class - i.e. wealthy and poor. Those who are wealthy are still not happy, so they are striving to accumulate more wealth, at the cost of making the poor - poorer, with a hope that they will become happy after all. In the meantime, the poor feel because they are poor, they are unhappy. This, in turn, causes depression in both classes, because the rich can't get richer and the poor continue to get poorer. Everyone is so focused on the wrong thing, that insanity sinks in. When one can't achieve what they think will make them happy (when in fact, it never will), they blame society. The wars in the world, family splits, other catastrophes are a result of this. Is there any turning back from this path to disaster? I hope so, otherwise we are all doomed! Sorry for painting such a bleak picture of our future, but this is what i can see.
Ammar Jul 21, 2012 01:53pm
'tragic shooting' My GOD!!! With due respect it is tragic indeed but I have not read a single article anywhere talking about extremism, killing etc. in such cases nor do I oberve any fire in new & media but instead 'only one person is involved in the shooting' (sounds like camera shooting) ''suspect' was planning for weeks & had bought four guns' (No any breach of securities is sensed what was police doing no law reinforcement / intelligence agencies took responsibility neither there are any resignations or firing of staffs........ But instead the focus is on 'Family escapes Colorado shooting', 'Confirmed Man died on birth day', 'residential candidates to make their stance on gun control clear' how swiftly & smoothly the main issue has been taken behind curtains....
ahmadali86 Jul 22, 2012 08:08am
Very sad to hear.
American Jul 22, 2012 01:07pm
Any time in US a Muslim kills someone, the media makes sure his religions get blame for his act, but a Christian or Hindu kills someone it is considered a homicide. Muslim of US stand up and form a media arm of your own. It is time.
Don Jul 21, 2012 11:45pm
Yes, americans need more guns. An average of one firearm per citizen clearly isn't enough.
mirzaG Jul 22, 2012 05:06am
Since mid 20th century, USA has faced no. of such carnage and i think NRA should be blamed for these incidents because it always has supported 2nd amendment ( freedom of arms bearing by civilians ). Further, Hollywood simply provides entertainment not encourage psychopaths and spree killers to spread horror. So Mr Akhter, i think u should reconsider your opinion.
janan Jul 22, 2012 06:00am
yes but unfortunately no one was carrying to Batman show.
Musalmaan Jul 22, 2012 07:04am
The Western media is double faced, the ruling class is double faced, had he been a Muslim, would have brought a curse on every Muslim in this world. These dual faced would not have left any opportunity to blame Islam, all the Muslims. When thousands of Muslims were butchered in Burma, they remain silent. May Allah give them Hidayah. My condolences to the victims and their families, also consider us as humans.
NASAH (USA) Jul 22, 2012 12:59pm
Crazy gun worshiping America -- these massacres will continue thanks to that quasi terrorist organization called NRA -- and thanks to the gutless spineless presidential candidates who talk about the 'fragility of human life" (as if we have to learn how fragile human life is from our president otherwise we would not know after 12 people are dead) -- but not the devilishness of the National Rifle Association.
Cyrus Howell Jul 22, 2012 10:27pm
Police said the alleged gunman had three weapons: a Remington shotgun, a Smith & Wesson M&P assault rifle, and a Glock 40-caliber handgun. The semiautomatic assault rifle, which is akin to an AR-15 and is a civilian version of the military’s M-16, could fire 50 to 60 rounds per minute, and is designed to hold large ammunition clips. Holmes allegedly had obtained a 100-round drum magazine that attached to the weapon, the source said, but that such large magazines are notorious for jamming. The law enforcement official said authorities believe Holmes first used the shotgun — some victims in the hospital have buckshot wounds — and then began using the assault rifle, which jammed. Then he resorted to the handgun.
Cyrus Howell Jul 22, 2012 10:38pm
AURORA, Colo. — Shooting suspect James Holmes applied to join a Colorado gun range last month but never became a member because of his behavior and a "bizarre" message on his voice mail greeting, the range's owner said Sunday. Holmes, 24, emailed an application to join the Lead Valley Range in Byers on June 25 in which he said he was not a user of illegal drugs or a convicted felon, said owner Glenn Rotkovich, but when Rotkovich called to invite him to a mandatory orientation the following week, he said he heard Holmes' voice mail greeting that was "bizarre — guttural, freakish." Batman movie massacre suspect James Holmes tried to join a gun club before he allegedly carried out his act of mass murder, but the owner was creeped out by his "guttural" voice mail greeting. It identified the number as belonging to "James," so Rotkovich said he left a message. He left two other messages but eventually told his staff to watch out for Holmes at the July 1 orientation and not to accept him into the club. "There's something weird here," Rotkovich said.
Allen Jul 22, 2012 11:13pm
There is no sense to be made of a madman's rage!. It is so sad to see the politicians jumping on this to attack the rights of honest gun owners. Two truths: 1. The only thing that could possibly helped the situation would have been more guns in that theater - in the hands of trained legal gun owners. The police can never get on the scene in time. 2. Gun laws only disarm honest people. Do you think that somone planning mass murder is going to worry about gun laws? Outside of being alert to one's surroundings w/o being paraniod, there really is nothing to be done. Even in Stalin's Russia, one of the world's toughest police states, they had nuts who went on shooting sprees.
junaid shaw Jul 23, 2012 12:13am
totally agree with u, u r the only one speaking the truth!!!!!!!
junaid shaw Jul 23, 2012 12:15am
absolutely right, u r speaking my mind, no body think that hollywood is making people commit such act. one day they will realize!!!!
Abdul Jul 23, 2012 04:45am
Very true. 100% agreed with your comments.