The More You Politicize Guns, The Weaker Your Case Becomes.
David Harsanyi writes: After the horrific mass shooting at a community college in Oregon, President Obama made an impassioned case that gun violence is “something we should politicize”—and why should this be any different:
“This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”
Everything in that statement is wrong. What happened in Oregon is tragic, and the nation should comfort families and look for reasonable and practical ways to stem violence, but there is only one murderer. Now, if government somehow bolstered, endorsed, or “allowed” the actions of Chris Harper-Mercer—as they might, say, the death of 10,000-plus viable babies each year or the civilian deaths that occur during an American drone action—a person could plausibly argue that we are collectively answerable as a nation.
“For the liberal, every societal problem has a state-issued remedy waiting to be administered over the objections of a reactionary Republican. But just because you have a tremendous amount of emotion and frustration built up around a certain cause doesn’t make your favored legislation any more practical, effective or realistic.”
Then again, when the president asserts Americans are collectively answerable, what he really suggests—according to his own broader argument—is that conservatives who’ve blocked his gun-control legislation are wholly responsible. The problem with that contention, outside of the obvious fact that Republicans never condone the use of guns for illegal violence (in fact, these rampages hurt their cause more than anything) is that Democrats haven’t offered a single bill or idea (short of confiscation) that would impede any of the mass shootings, or overall gun violence. This is not a political choice, because it’s likely there is no available political answer.
For the liberal, every societal problem has a state-issued remedy waiting to be administered over the objections of a reactionary Republican. But just because you have a tremendous amount of emotion and frustration built up around a certain cause doesn’t make your favored legislation any more practical, effective or realistic. It doesn’t change the fact that owning a gun is a civil right, that the preponderance of owners are not criminals, or that there are 300 million guns out there.
And if it’s a political argument you’re offering—and when hasn’t it been?—you’ll need more than the vacuousness of the “this is bad and so we have to do something.” That’s because anti-gun types are never able to answer a simple question: what law would you pass that could stop these shootings?
Prosecutors have said the jury was divided on the sentence, with 11 favoring death and one favoring life without parole. Under Colorado law, jurors must be unanimous to impose the death penalty, so Holmes automatically got a life sentence.
Sadie Gurman reports: James Holmes was an angry quitter who gave up on life and turned his hatred into murder and mayhem against innocent victims in a Colorado movie theater, the judge said Wednesday before formally sentencing him to life in prison.
“We know that is very, very hard for people to see. We cannot feel the depths of your pain. We can only listen to everything you have expressed, and we pray for you…We are very sorry this tragedy happened, and sorry everyone has suffered so much.”
— Arlene Holmes
Samour contrasted Holmes’ bloody assault with the compassion of a juror who voted for a life sentence instead of the death penalty. And he noted the trial was fair, even if some victims were disappointed that Holmes didn’t get the death penalty.
“It is almost impossible to comprehend how a human being is capable of such acts.”
— Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr.
Samour formally sentenced Holmes to life in prison without parole for the murders of 12 people. He also was sentencing Holmes to more than to 3,200 additional years for attempted murder and an explosives conviction.
The judge had no other sentencing option on the murder charges after a jury earlier this month did not unanimously agree that Holmes should get the death penalty. Samour issued his sentence after two days of testimony from survivors of the attack, including first responders.
“Jurors rejected Holmes’ insanity plea, convicting him of murdering 12 people and trying to kill 70 others when he opened fire on a packed theater in suburban Denver on July 20, 2012.”
But he first spent more than half an hour defending the integrity of the justice system and disputing complaints that the trial was a waste of time. He noted the proceedings gave family members an opportunity to tell the world about their slain loved ones and provided survivors the chance to talk about their ordeal.
“I believe in the system. I said that before, and I’ll say it again. I believe in the system.”
— Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr.
Samour disputed some victims’ suggestion that Holmes would have an easy life behind bars, noting prison is harsh and restrictive.
More than 100 victims and survivors testified this week about the searing physical and emotional scars the 2012 shooting has left. Read the rest of this entry »
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Jurors convicted Colorado theater shooter James Holmes on Thursday in the chilling 2012 attack on defenseless moviegoers at a midnight Batman premiere, rejecting defense arguments that the former graduate student was insane and driven to murder by delusions.
The 27-year-old Holmes, who had been working toward his Ph.D. in neuroscience, could get the death penalty for the massacre that left 12 people dead and dozens of others wounded.
Jurors took about 13 hours over a day and a half to review all 165 charges. The same panel must now decide whether Holmes should pay with his life.
The verdict came almost three years after Holmes, dressed head-to-toe in body armor, slipped through the emergency exit of the darkened theater in suburban Denver and replaced the Hollywood violence of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” with real human carnage.
His victims included two active-duty servicemen, a single mom, a man celebrating his 27th birthday and an aspiring broadcaster who had survived a mall shooting in Toronto. Several died shielding friends or loved ones. Read the rest of this entry »
Charles C. W. Cooke writes:
…In the space of just 144 words, Gopnik has managed to: 1) conflate the supposed problem of “assault weapons” with the actions of the man who murdered Richard Martinez’s son (when, in fact, that killer did not use a rifle, but instead used a trio of bog-standard handguns that were legal even in California); 2) propose that those handguns “should never have been in the hands of a lunatic” (when, in fact, that “lunatic” passed the federal and state background checks that Gopnik’s ilk routinely sell as a panacea for our problems); and 3) pretend that there is any evidence whatsoever that to “reinstate assault-weapons bans” would likely “stop the next massacre” — which, as even the Obama administration’s DOJ concedes, there is not….(read more)
For The Daily Caller, Greg Campbell reports: A man who was arrested for carrying a holstered handgun into a movie theater a week after the Aurora shootings in 2012 received a $25,000 settlement check from the city of Thornton last week, according to Denver’s 7News.
Jim Mapes had a concealed-carry permit and said he’d carried his gun to the same theater several times in the past. Another theater-goer called 911, saying a man with a weapon had just entered a movie theater. He was originally charged with brandishing the weapon, which Mapes denied.
“It never left my holster,” he told the station. And although the gun was carried openly rather than being concealed, his lawyer said that’s never been against the law in Thornton. Read the rest of this entry »
In July 2012, Fox reporter Jana Winter reported that James Holmes, the shooter in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre who murdered 12 people during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, had sent a University of Colorado psychiatrist a notebook “full of details about how he was going to kill people.” The notebook had pictures of a stick-figure shooting other stick figures. She got the information, she reported, from “law enforcement sources.”
Now, Winter may lose her journalistic freedom. Thanks to a Colorado court ruling stating that Winter’s failure to disclose her sources deprived Holmes of a fair trial by violating a judicial gag order, and a New York court’s agreement, Winter may be forced to disclose the source of the information or face jail time in Colorado. As Judith Miller, a journalist who spent 85 days in jail to protect her sources, writes, “Given the broader assault on journalists and a free and independent press every American should know Jana’s name.”