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Ask Marilyn: What Can We Learn From the Movie Theater Shooting?
Anonymous in Baltimore, Maryland, writes:
Recently there was a mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in which at least 12 people were killed and more than 50 wounded. What do you think we as a society should learn from this incident and from other mass shootings?
The fact that the horrific event involved one shooter and many victims doesn't teach society much. It tells us more about the shooter than anything else. And we already know that individuals can be deranged or perhaps downright evil. In rare instances, they may even be both.
Instead, the terrible deed should alert society to the ease with which an individual is able to amass an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, especially weapons that have no legitimate use outside the military, police work, etc. Why should an ordinary citizen be allowed to buy assault rifles and riot gear?
Yet no shooter needs an assault rifle or similar firearm to inflict a great deal of harm. So what society should realize from the incident is that it represents only the tip of a weapons iceberg. Police officers are constantly exposed to it in the line of duty. The mass of firearms in the hands of wrongdoers who are neither insane nor monstrous is enormous, and they inflict daily damage on crime victims. Every day, many more Americans are killed by guns than the number of victims in Colorado.
In short, if one wants to argue for better gun control, one should not use the case of the movie theater shooting. It's too easy to refute. Other reasons are much more convincing.