What I think is most frustrating to accept in tragic times, which is why it's the last idea offered by commentators, is that people sometimes snap. No laws or cultural introspection will get around this. What percentage of the US population went crazy on Friday? A tiny sliver. To institute TSA screenings at all public spaces, and urge gun control, and ban certain movies, and so on would be an ineffective overreaction. It would irritate the good people, leave bad people unfazed, and be irrelevant to crazy people. This massacre is a tragedy, but it's not the fault of guns, or America, or Batman. It's the fault of one unhinged 24-year-old.
Moreover, you know what would have helped a lot in that theater? A good person with a gun. Just about anybody I grew up with could have made short work of a man standing silhouetted against a movie screen. Bulletproof vest or no, there are vulnerable areas and, besides, somebody shooting back would have changed the attacker's mood in a hurry. Fewer innocent lives might have been lost.
When a person sets their mind to violence, they don't need guns to get it done. Suicide statistics bear this out. Most American suicides happen with guns, so one gun-control argument is that if there were no guns there would be fewer suicides. Wrong. Japan has no guns but a reported suicide rate twice that of America's. It's not the guns that are the problem, it's the hands that end up holding them. Take away the guns and the hands will find other weapons. Four years ago in the Akihabara electronic shopping district of Tokyo, for example, a murderous man plowed his truck into a crowd of people, killing three, then jumped out and stabbed 12 more with a dagger. People snap everywhere on Earth for all kinds of reasons.
I don't know how to change that. What I do know is that not one kid from my gun-ridden childhood has committed a violent crime. A genuine respect for firearms is tantamount to revulsion to violent crime, because killing innocent people is not what guns are supposed to do. The Texas, Uklahoma kids I knew, and know now as adults, believe guns are for hunting and family protection, not for murder. I wish more citizens grew up the way we did. MEP