A Tragedy Should Not Be A Time For Political Opportunism…

… Regarding the shooting in Colorado; let’s get two things perfectly clear.

1- A criminal, by the very definition of the word, does not respect laws.
2- A person intent on murder is not going to let laws keep him from the task at hand.

Making guns illegal to own is not going to prevent criminals from committing crimes… because they are criminals, see? Crim•i•nals. As in people who violate and disregard laws. Gun laws. Any laws. Laws do not apply to criminals or else they would be law abiding citizens. See how that works?

That’s like blaming Vodka for drunk driving fatalities and endorsing prohibition. Ah, prohibition… good times, good times.

Don’t you hate it when people get all politically opportunistic whenever there is a tragedy, or even worse, report the news wrong in their haste to cast blame?

Our first thoughts should be for the victims; not the shooter’s political party, religion, or race, and why in the world was a 3 month old infant and a six year old girl out at a midnight viewing of a rated R movie [which I wondered]. I understand it is a human reaction, looking for clues and motivators help us understand senseless acts such as this. However, in our search to make sense out of this terrible terrible event it’s important to not let the media manipulate our thinking and whip us into a frenzy.

Just pray. And pray some more. And when you’re done, pray one more time.

In related news; those evil “hate mongers“, Chil-Fil-A, are providing free meals to the police and investigative crews at the scene of the shooting.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • JoAnna Wahlund

    The 3-month-old infant, I can understand. I’ve brought my very small babies to movies, regardless of the rating. If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, it’s easier to bring them with than to find a sitter, pump milk., etc. and they sleep through the whole movie anyway. (I wouldn’t go to a midnight showing just because *I* couldn’t stay awake, but that’s just me.)

  • Oregon Catholic

    I’m not in favor of banning guns because there is no way to get those cats back in the bag anyhow. But I don’t see the logic in your logic. A criminal can simply do a lot more damage with a gun than a knife or a slingshot. The least that gun supporters can do is be honest about the fact that easy access to guns means we are going to have more slaughters than we would if they weren’t available. To do otherwise is intellectually dishonest. That people lament the greater opportunity and frequency of this kind of slaughter by having ready access to guns isn’t something to be mocked or a reason to act as if they are stupid about how the gun goes off.

    • Shelby

      Even if guns were banned, criminals, being criminals, would still find ways to acquire them. Take Mexico, for example. Even though guns are illegal, gangs still have them. Guns are legal for self defense, so that people can protect themselves. Criminals would still have guns whether or not guns were legal. Like the Crescat said, take Prohibition as an example.

      • nitnot

        Take Chicago while  you’re at it … most guns are banned there, too, and they’re up to 251 murders so far … the year is only half over …

    • Andy S

      Making guns illegal won’t make them disappear from the face of the earth. I don’t even own a gun but your line of reasoning is lacking a lot of reasoning. You can’t legislate a pain-free, crime-free society.

      Did you know cocaine is illegal in this country? Crazy thing is there is tons of it in the country. Based on your comments, how can that be when the government fixed the problem for us by making it an illegal substance decades ago? Are you shocked that crazy criminals don’t play by the rules?

      • Oregon Catholic

         Where did I call for making guns illegal? In fact I said just the opposite. Some of you who responded ought to grab hold of your knees and then read a second time.

        • Andy S

          Read your post again and be intellectually honest about your position on the issue. You are telling anyone who doesn’t believe in banning, or at least severely restricting, gun rights that they are contributing to a more dangerous society. Just because you started your screed with “I don’t believe in banning guns”, doesn’t mean anything in context with the rest of your post. You were playing the politician and trying to be solidly on both sides of the fence.

      • kenneth

        The idea that gun laws or any other restrictions are an “all or nothing” proposition doesn’t hold up. Outlawing gunds won’t make them disappear and it won’t keep criminals from getting guns. It WILL, however, drastically change the economics of violence.  Europe and Japan, for example have gun restrictions that amount to total or near-total ban on private ownership of guns, especially handguns.

         Criminals DO have guns in these places, but only the resourceful and organized criminals, with few exceptions. The average 15-year old wannabe thugs doesn’t have the brains or bucks to lay hands on one, nor the newly minted schizophrenic who decides that all of the people staring at him on the train every day are alien reptiles. Guns are rare, they are costly, and they are used judiciously, mostly by organized syndicates.

         The same thing is true here of machine guns. They’ve been highly restricted since the 1930s. It’s possible for a regular person to buy and own one legally, but very very expensive and lots of paperwork.  Damn few criminals ever lay hands on one, and most that start asking around to buy one end up entrapped by a federal agent and go away for the rest of their lives. The same is true of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles or even nukes. No system is airtight, but you can raise the bar of entry high enough to exclude 90% of the morons. Without banning guns generally, we could, for example allow unrestricted access to bolt-action weapons and six-shooters. Anyone who wanted a 20-something shot Glock or military type semi-auto would have to clear a psych interview and a very thorough background check and a short safety and legal course. That’s not such an outrageous requirement. We require more than that from law enforcement officers in exchange for their unqualified right to carry and the presumption that any shot they take is probably justified. To sweeten the pot, those who passed all that would get to carry their heat. 

        Of course some people would slip even that net in various ways. Some of the well-vetted would later pop their cork. Some would sell their guns to the idiots and report them “stolen.” Some of the idiots would make do with lower capacity weapons and still kill people. The mopes would not, however, be able to wound 70 people in a minute and a half and to do so completely at will the way they are now. I have no illusions that we can stop all such guys, but do we have to make it pathetically easy for them? The only way our current system could help them any more is if we gave them government money to buy their arsenal…

  • Oregon Catholic

    I also think it’s more than a little ironic (or is hypocitical a better word?) to use your blog post criticising the use of this tragedy for political opportunism to make your own opposing point about guns.

    • Andy S

      Neither ironic nor hypocritical are good words…She is calling out the ridiculous “microwave analysis” that is prevalent with our politicians and media. We live in a fallen world. Bad things will happen no matter what. Our government can make illegal everything but kittens and rainbows and the bad guys will still be around and will still get access to weapons. Utopia isn’t possible on earth, so let’s not march like sheep to the shearing with the childish pleas to the government to make bad things go away.

  • Kecam

    There will always be unbalanced people wishing to do harm.  But a crazy person with a knife or a bat wouldn’t be able to injure 70 people in less than 2 minutes.  I do not want to live in a society where everyone has to carry a gun to feel safe.  If you worked as an ICU nurse as I did and saw up close the horrific effects of guns, you might have a different view.

    • Oregon Catholic

       I’m a nurse too and I know where you are coming from. But I don’t think gun fanatics will be convinced by gunshot wounds any more than abortion fanatics are convinced by pics of aborted fetuses. Their fanaticism is invincible.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

        I’m not a gun fanatic. I just know that making everything illegal isn’t going to stop crime. For heaven’s sake, will banning knives stop stabbings.  

      • kenneth

        Mass shootings like this have become the “new normal” because even the merest thought of gun restrictions is beyond taboo in politics in this country. Everyone from the media on down carries on this whole “we’re so shocked and saddened” ritual, but that’s what it is anymore, a scripted rote ritual.

         It’s not horrible anymore. It’s accepted that some people will die this way in the same way that people in the 1860s were resigned to typhoid. The thought that we might have to even talk about gun restrictions or big bad socialist medicine to grapple with mental health issues is off the table.

         So we tell ourselves that these things are just unforseeable acts of nature. We’ll go through the requisite empty hand wringing and the videos of people holding hands in church. The politicians will try to score points off each other while expressing indignation at each other’s gamesmanship with tragedy.

         The next lunatic or angry loser will start amassing his military grade arsenal. One or more of them is probably doing this as we debate here. He’s either researching his hardware or buying high-caliber weapons with 30, 50, 100 round magazines, all with less restriction or oversight than he’d face if he was buying a box of decongestant tablets. The newscasters will have their playbook and dramatic theme music cued up. The next slaughter will be proclaimed the “worse since that one the other month in Colorado.” And we’ll continue to tell ourselves we’re a “pro-life” country. 

        • Oregon Catholic

           kenneth, I don’t agree with you about much but when I do you usually say what I wanted to say much better than I could. Thanks for fleshing out the problem so well.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Nurse here, too. So yeah…. 

    • Maureen O’Brien

       Botulism or E. coli at the concession stand. Toxic gas. Acid in a spray canister under pressure. Heck. Mixing up household chemicals in a bucket to make chlorine, if you did it at the top of a theatre and left the gas to float down.

      Yeppers, if you can’t get guns, you can get creative. And killers will. 

      OTOH, self-defense is the one where you want people to be boring, because improvised weapons cause accidents.

  • Sacredcrocheter

    I think this is more about the appalling lack of understanding and skilled treatment available for the mentally ill in this country. You can be sure a guy who thinks he’s “The Joker” and owns zillions of weapons left about a million clues that he was unbalanced and very dangerous to others. It’s the same story over and over-people either reported it and no one took them seriously or the person didn’t get treatment because there wasn’t any available or “political correctness” kept people from doing anything….
    Yeah-guns do kill people-especially when they’re in the hands of the dangerously mentally ill. Ignorance about mental illness is a major cause of most of these mass murders.

  • Viragoinfidel

    I am from OKC, was downtown when the Murrah Federal Bldg blew. McVeigh did all that (and it did take alot of preparation) with nary a gunshot.

    First things first: we bury the dead and then we take care of the bereaved.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez


  • Jon

    Hm, funny, I see a lot of political opinions in this post about this not being treated as an opportunity to give political opinions. 

    Your self awareness, Katrina, is astounding. 

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      I am pretty astounding, yes. 

  • Gina101

    What guns do suicide bombers use?

    • kenneth

      The usual: 9 mm and .40 caliber Glocks and .223 semi-auto rifles, mostly. Most of the mass shootings we see in the news are, in fact suicide bombers. In many of these incidents, the shooter takes his own life as police close in. If someone takes out a few dozen victims with a callous disregard for their own life, what does the method really matter? If we allowed the sale of RDX on the same basis as these guns – ie no questions asked and a cursory records check, you’d see more of these nuts using vest bombs. The fact that we don’t gives the lie, in part, to the contention that criminals can get around any law. Very few have the smarts and money to get hold of or manufacture high-quality explosives. Even the low-tech methods used by the Oklahoma City gang would be next to impossible to pull off these days. 

  • Gina101

    Oh, imagine that! Someone with a gun saved the lives of these innocent people and hurt the criminals!

    • Oregon Catholic

       Frankly, I’m just about as scared of being killed by a ‘hero’ who’s a lousy shot as I am a criminal. Ditto that for the swaggering vigilante who roams around just hoping to thwart a crime and ends up escalating a situation.

  • Sacredcrocheter

    I totally agree with Kenneth-gun laws don’t have to be an” all or nothing” proposition. We are so desensitized to gun violence in this country that many of us are in massive denial about the severity of the problem. We need to look at other European countries and Japan as Kenneth said to see that there are ways to decrease the horrible violence that has come to be an everyday part of life in the US.
    The problem gets worse and worse every year. When I moved fom Chicago to Phoenix in the late 80′s I was amazed to see days and sometimes weeks go by without a mention of a shooting in the news. Chicago had so many murders that some they were buried on page 6.
    As the years progressed, reported shootings rose in the Phoenix area. Now, the news is starting to look like Chicago news.
    We don’t have to live like this.

  • Rintrah

    Can we at least stop selling automatic weapons?  I am from a hunting family, and live in a big hunting state, but most people I know think it’s ridiculous that automatic weapons are available for sale.  And we make ourselves look a little ridiculous fighting to preserve that aspect of the “right to bear arms” that our predecessors most certainly didn’t have in mind.

    A good friend of ours is a police officer, and he certainly doesn’t appreciate the fact that he could be outgunned at every traffic stop, every domestic disturbance, etc.  Someone’s “right” to own an AK-47-style gun does NOT trump police officers’ right to live through their shift. 

    • kenneth

      Today’s semi-automatics give one person the firepower of entire platoons of soldiers in the early days of our republic. What is the upside of having these things totally unrestricted? High capacity semi-autos are totally illegal for hunting. Most ranges I’ve been to won’t let you rapid-fire. There is no need for 15-30 bullets in any sane self-defense scenario. There’s a segment of the Second Amendment community which fantasizes about guns as some sort of a deterrent to government tyranny. That’s a joke. Shoulder fired weapons are minor annoyance to modern militaries.

       So we have this class of weapons which fills no legitimate need that cannot be filled by lesser weapons, and which at the same time is totally useless as any real bulwark against tyranny. They are just powerful enough to grant penny-ante thugs and psychotics the ultimate power of life or death over the rest of us. This Colorado incident is remarkable only because of the dramatic nature of it and the high body count per time and square foot. A dozen shot to death is a completely ordinary summer weekend here in Chicago. In the city’s toughest black and Latino neighborhoods, it is completely normal for a family to lose a child or two by their teens this way. Some is gang member killing other gang members. Most are just random people – old folks, little kids, anyone, who happens to get hit when some punk dumps a 20-round pistol from a passing car.We wouldn’t tolerate this level of slaughter if it came by any other method or by foreign terrorists. If Muslim terrorists were causing 70-odd casualties in theaters with some commonly available hardware store chemical or other technology, it would be outlawed by the close of business tomorrow. If it’s “just” Americans killing other Americans, and if it’s done by gun, we’re told it’s un-American to even raise the issue. 

  • Jess Leach

    Sorry, I respectfully disagree (it’s a first!). Guns offer so much power & killing potential, it’s like allowing citizens to carry grenades & explosives around. The right to bear arms does not need to extend to semi automatics & the like.

  • GP

    Should automobiles be banned too?  They are as much a weapon as a gun when drunk drivers decide to drive.  All forms of violence are very senseless in every way no matter how it’s done.  It takes a human being to enact their intellect and will to do violence or to do good.  The choice is always ours and not the tools.  Eternal rest and peace to all the innocent victims. 

    • kenneth

      Like I say, it’s not a matter of a binary ban or not ban question. Automobiles offer an example of sensible regulation. They’re not banned, they’re licensed. Drivers have to demonstrate a minimal competency to operate them safely, and in many states must carry insurance. Those who demonstrate irresponsible use through reckless driving, DUI, etc. lose their license, sometimes for life. It hasn’t eliminated road deaths, and we shouldn’t have any illusions that it can, but it has cut the toll to a fraction of what it could be and has been in the past.

       Vehicle licensing is also a system where the degree of regulation is commensurate with the risk and damage potential. A commercial truck license is tougher to obtain. Licensing for commercial pilots is even more restrictive, including demonstration of medical and psychological soundness. We could conceive of a system for firearms that similarly wouldn’t cure all problems but would stop making things pathetically easy for petty criminals and psychotics. 

  • Fellis34

    Agreed!  Thanks for the very true comment…one wonders what would have happened if someone there had…oh well…

    • Sacredcrocheter

      The shooter had body armor-anyone with a gun would have been shot first.

  • Sacredcrocheter

    I was just reading the NY Times on line and saw photos of the people killed in Colorado. My heart is breaking for the loss of  those beautiful young lives. Please pray for all the victims and for the family and friends left behind. They need our prayers.