A while back, some guy walked into a packed movie theater in Colorado and shot a bunch of people.
If you measure time in news cycles, it was eons ago. As big, splashy stories go, it followed the typical arc: After the initial newsflash, there was the rush to be first with details and the identity of the shooter. Then there were the inevitable mistakes that come with the rush to be first. For several hours after that, there was the same footage over and over, with the same words spoken, only by different people, so that we knew that there was blanket coverage.
Then there was the analysis of the event, followed by analysis of the initial coverage, and then analysis of the preceding analyses. And mixed in was a bunch of stupid crap from the gun lobby.
It seems like so long ago, but on Friday, Aug. 3, it'll be two weeks. It will fade, but will never completely go away. It also means that, for a time, Aurora will be the last name on the list of slaughter sites, that list that sickeningly and far too easily rolls off the tongue—Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson ...
Being more of a word guy than a visual one, I tend to focus on that which is said during times like these, be it wise or vapid, emotional or brain-dead. Some of what I will remember from this awful time:
There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea Party as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don't know if this is the same Jim Holmes. —Brian Ross of ABC News.
Yeah, that's what we need, to allow the Tea Party people to paint themselves as victims of a media conspiracy. What's really bad is that it wouldn't have mattered if the shooter had identified himself as a Tea Party member. It's not really some monolithic political party. It's an odd assortment of people (or maybe an assortment of odd people) who are generally against everything and who talk and vote as though Attila the Hun were a squishy leftie.
The Tea Party has a rather high percentage of clods and haters, but I can't imagine that even one person who is part of that movement is sympathetic in any way to the shooter. At the same time, I'm sure that most Tea Party people are darned happy to live in a country where a deranged guy can buy a thousand rounds of ammo online (!) and can legally possess a weapon, the sole purpose of which is to kill lots and lots of human beings in a very short period of time.
It does make me wonder: With all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly? —Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert.
Let's see: You have a darkened theater with a movie playing, and every seat occupied. A guy walks in dressed in all black, throws a tear-gas device, and opens fire. With terrified people screaming and scrambling, tear gas billowing and assault-weapon bullets flying, what could possibly make this scenario worse?
Oh, I know! Crossfire.
We've reached a state of stasis on this issue, and we're not going to move on it. —Democratic strategist Bob Shrum on Meet the Press.
Shrum said that the gun lobby's hold is so complete that no one would even dare talk about legislation following the shooting. The typical National Rifle Association line is that gun-control talk is a knee-jerk reaction whenever something like this happens, but when are we supposed to talk about it? On a day when nobody gets shot in this country? Good luck with that, seeing as how more than 80 people are killed by guns in the United States every day!
Shrum went on to say that the ban on assault rifles (originally signed by Bill Clinton and then allowed to expire by George W. Bush) led to the Republican takeover of Congress, and that no one has been willing to take on the gun lobby since. Here's the best part: So powerful is the NRA's grip that even people on Homeland Security's terror-watch list can still buy whatever weapons they want. That's stunning.
I also believe that a lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s ... belong on the battlefield of war and not on the streets of our cities. —President Barack Obama.
First off, Mr. President, you should ask around. Every gun owner I know wants more firepower, not less.
Then again, this is a president of the United States who, after the murder of a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, and the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, got in front of a national audience and called for (wait for it) better background checks! Writer Aaron Sorkin, who uses his Newsroom TV drama as a personal bully pulpit, gave President Obama straight F's across the board when it comes to gun control.
And now, after the second mass shooting in consecutive years, the president is again addressing background checks. Whoa! You keep going down that road for another 8,000 or 9,000 miles, and eventually, somebody is going to accuse you of being a Democrat on this issue.