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The terrible events in Aurora 
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Post The terrible events in Aurora
By now, I'm sure most everyone has heard about what happened at a movie theater in Colorado. 12 dead and 58 injured. It is a terrible tragedy.

But while politicians and media pundits cry out about gun control, what we really need to be talking about is mental health. It's the elephant in the room. We hear about it at times like this, but few of us really understand it, and certainly don't want to think about how many people with serious problems go untreated because mental hospitals are underfunded as it is.

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Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:52 am
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
I think it's more an issue of *societal health*. America seems to have far more incidents of mass murder sprees than any other industrialized nation on this planet. It's not like the U.S. have the only people on Earth with mental health issues, just more people who vent those issues with wanton violence. Rather than looking at quick fixes, we should be looking at changing said society into something that will produce less psychos.


Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:12 am
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
Totally horrific. It almost defies description.

Waiting for the anti-gun crowd and the social conservative puritan tehocrats to start screaming. Too many guns and too easy access to them! Violent movies, video games and rap lyrics! It would be comforting if it was that simple. But it isn't.

In Bowling For Columbine, Michael Moore, not the biggest supporter of the Second Amendment, seemed to come to the conclusion that the real reason for so many people being gunned down in America in that era was too much fear not too many guns.

A foreign friend of mine commented on the shooting and observed that the high amount of hatred (especially political extremists on both sides that see anyone who doesn't share their views as not simply wrong or misguided but evil) wasn't helping matters any at all. I thought there might be something to that then another person who'd been around in the sixties reminded us that there were times where the country was just as divided if not more so.

This particular case may not be tracable to any sociological phenomenon. A nutjob got his hands on some weapons and planned a massacre and succeeded. Although I wonder how long it will take before people begin blaming The Dark Knight Rises, much the same way they began blaming Marilyn Manson after Columbine.

Yet as former New York Times columnist Russell Baker once wrote:

Quote:
"The fact is that the nightmare has acquired a permanence in this decade and we manage to live with it by keeping suppressed, like the mad brother of gothic novels who is kept sealed in the attic".


That sentence was written in 1968 regarding the shooting of Bobby Kennedy. But its just as applicable today. The sickness is out there. And in some ways we can always feel twinges of it. For the most part we can keep them at a tolerable level until it reaches a fever pitch as it did in Aurora two days ago or in Arizona last year or in Littleton in 1999. But there's always going to be someone somewhere being affected by it.

Consider the case of Moriah Pierce. Pierce was a 20-year old Elementary Education student at Broward Community College, the college I attended for a short time. On January 18 2002, Pierce was walking to class when her ex-boyfriend Michael Holness showed up. He tried to talk to her. When she indicated not interested he pulled a pistol and shot her dead before turning the gun on himself. For her family and friends, the sickness had come home. To most people who didn't know her personally, her story was a small item in the paper or on TV.

So it goes until the next time a person takes a bullet for some unexplained or trivial reason. And if no guns existed, people would still be killing each other if they had to use knives or makeshift weapons. Looking past the guns forces people to confront a harder reality: that there are always going to be people for whom murder is a legitimate form of self-expression. Some of them mentally ill, some of them screwed up for whatever reason.

One thing I see suggested from time to time is that this is simply the outgrowth of the fact that America has always been a frontier culture. I can't quite agree with that assesment. The old west gunmen, while often as brutal as today's street thugs, were not the type to smuggle conceled guns into places and shoot the unsuspecting. THey usually kept their guns in plain sight.

And we go on living from day to day witb the knwoledge that the American nightmare is out there.

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Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:13 pm
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
Despite all the mass-murders that happen in the U.S., I still don't want to live anyplace else, in countries like Brazil, mass shootings in crowded places are pretty much an everyday occurence, and of course a lot of middle eastern countries have suicide bombers. I agree that there should be just as much focus on mental health as there is on guns.

I remember when Virginia Tech happened, and people were asking how the shooter managed went undiagnosed despite obvious mental problems, but of course the media didn't want to talk about that, they just used it as a platform for pro and anti-gun control arguments.


Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:19 pm
Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
Jeff Wilder wrote:
Totally horrific. It almost defies description.

Waiting for the anti-gun crowd and the social conservative puritan tehocrats to start screaming. Too many guns and too easy access to them! Violent movies, video games and rap lyrics! It would be comforting if it was that simple. But it isn't.

In Bowling For Columbine, Michael Moore, not the biggest supporter of the Second Amendment, seemed to come to the conclusion that the real reason for so many people being gunned down in America in that era was too much fear not too many guns.

A foreign friend of mine commented on the shooting and observed that the high amount of hatred (especially political extremists on both sides that see anyone who doesn't share their views as not simply wrong or misguided but evil) wasn't helping matters any at all. I thought there might be something to that then another person who'd been around in the sixties reminded us that there were times where the country was just as divided if not more so.

This particular case may not be tracable to any sociological phenomenon. A nutjob got his hands on some weapons and planned a massacre and succeeded. Although I wonder how long it will take before people begin blaming The Dark Knight Rises, much the same way they began blaming Marilyn Manson after Columbine.

Yet as former New York Times columnist Russell Baker once wrote:

Quote:
"The fact is that the nightmare has acquired a permanence in this decade and we manage to live with it by keeping suppressed, like the mad brother of gothic novels who is kept sealed in the attic".


That sentence was written in 1968 regarding the shooting of Bobby Kennedy. But its just as applicable today. The sickness is out there. And in some ways we can always feel twinges of it. For the most part we can keep them at a tolerable level until it reaches a fever pitch as it did in Aurora two days ago or in Arizona last year or in Littleton in 1999. But there's always going to be someone somewhere being affected by it.

Consider the case of Moriah Pierce. Pierce was a 20-year old Elementary Education student at Broward Community College, the college I attended for a short time. On January 18 2002, Pierce was walking to class when her ex-boyfriend Michael Holness showed up. He tried to talk to her. When she indicated not interested he pulled a pistol and shot her dead before turning the gun on himself. For her family and friends, the sickness had come home. To most people who didn't know her personally, her story was a small item in the paper or on TV.

So it goes until the next time a person takes a bullet for some unexplained or trivial reason. And if no guns existed, people would still be killing each other if they had to use knives or makeshift weapons. Looking past the guns forces people to confront a harder reality: that there are always going to be people for whom murder is a legitimate form of self-expression. Some of them mentally ill, some of them screwed up for whatever reason.

One thing I see suggested from time to time is that this is simply the outgrowth of the fact that America has always been a frontier culture. I can't quite agree with that assessment. The old west gunmen, while often as brutal as today's street thugs, were not the type to smuggle concealed guns into places and shoot the unsuspecting. They usually kept their guns in plain sight.

And we go on living from day to day with the knowledge that the American nightmare is out there.


In terms of what I have highlighted in black, I am counting the seconds. The movie already came under fire from Rush Limbaugh as being critical of the Romney candidacy (I wonder which asshole he pulled that argument out of) and with this tragedy so closely linked to the film, I'd say it's only a matter of time before Limbaugh or some other blowhard like him tries to cast blame on the movie for it.


Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:51 pm
Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
oafolay wrote:
In terms of what I have highlighted in black, I am counting the seconds. The movie already came under fire from Rush Limbaugh as being critical of the Romney candidacy (I wonder which asshole he pulled that argument out of) and with this tragedy so closely linked to the film, I'd say it's only a matter of time before Limbaugh or some other blowhard like him tries to cast blame on the movie for it.

If the shooter's parents even try this, then they should be joining him on death row, IMO.


Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:07 pm
Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
The prevalence of any human behavior can be described as a bell curve. We all, every one of us, have a capacity for extreme violence, but very few of us will ever fulfill our potential for violence of any sort. Very few out of that few will fulfill the potential for the sort of extreme violence we're talking about. While such crimes are appalling, they should also be recognized for their rarity.

This necessarily means that the larger a population is, the larger the parameter of "rare" becomes. In a society of over 300 million people, it is statistically inevitable that the occasional violent lunatic will appear--in fact, an average of about 20 violent lunatics per year in this country.

Compared to the prevalence of other forms of violent crime in this country, mass shootings are fortunately a blip on the radar. Unfortunately, their rarity also defies our ability to discern trends. You can't analyze data and make useful predictions based on such a nothing sample size. This means that our efforts to prepare for such events are ineffectual--e.g. metal detectors in movie theater lobbies and refusing admission to patrons wearing costumes.

Then there is an issue of freedom. In our society, we (in theory) do not lock up people on whims or for suspicions that don't meet a very strident standard of evidence. We don't just lock people up for saying or doing weird things. They have to pose a very specific, concrete threat. The extensive, methodical planning of mass shooters tends not to be apparent until the aftermath, but to the extent that they're apparent beforehand, their odd behaviors fall well short of anything the police could consider actionable.

There are two options, and I hope everybody seriously considers the implications of both. One, we keep this freedom and leave the weirdoes of this world to do as they please. This necessarily includes the weirdoes who, if left unchecked will go on to commit crimes like this one. Two, we give up this freedom and start jailing anybody whose behaviors seem similar to those who carry out mass murders. I'm sure that if we cast a wide enough net on what we consider those similar behaviors to be, we can get some of these guys--maybe even the majority of them--before they act.

I will restate that out of 300 million of your countrymen, 20 of them will enact some kind of extreme gun violence each year. How much are you willing to see society changed so you can feel safe from those 20 people?

Ragnarok73 wrote:
If the shooter's parents even try this, then they should be joining him on death row, IMO.

I believe it was the shooter's mother who, upon hearing of the crime, assured the authorities that they "got the right guy".


Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:49 pm
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
While there will be practically zero discussion about guns in America despite the shooting in Colorado, I have one thing worth adding.

I've always supported the right to own a gun. I see nothing wrong with hunting, target shooting, or, if the need arises, self defense in one's home. But I would support a ban on magazines that hold more than ten rounds. Simply put, if you need more than ten shots to hit your target, than you're a shitty shot. 25 and 30 round magazines only serve the purpose of holding enough ammo to kill as many people as humanly possible. We don't need them, at least not in general society.

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Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:16 pm
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
Christian Bale is visiting the victims in Aurora.


Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:27 pm
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
While there will be practically zero discussion about guns in America despite the shooting in Colorado, I have one thing worth adding.

I've always supported the right to own a gun. I see nothing wrong with hunting, target shooting, or, if the need arises, self defense in one's home. But I would support a ban on magazines that hold more than ten rounds. Simply put, if you need more than ten shots to hit your target, than you're a shitty shot. 25 and 30 round magazines only serve the purpose of holding enough ammo to kill as many people as humanly possible. We don't need them, at least not in general society.


It is certainly true that we don't need them in today's society, but who can say with certainty that our society won't break down and become like Syria. Or like that of Serbia several years ago. There are probably even areas in South Africa and Mexico right now where honest people would love a semiautomatic rifle with high capacity magazines and lots of ammo to protect their families with. No one knows what the future holds. Anything can and will happen if the money runs out.

We don't need many things that cause needless loss of life. Many teens die, and take innocent people with them each year drag racing in cars that go much faster than anyone really needs. Dogs kill and injure people every year and very few people actually need them. The thing I'm typing on, a cell phone, most likely causes hundreds of deaths each year due to distracted driving and could easily be replaced by a Life Alert bracelet for the only serious purpose I might need it for. Clothe dryers cause fires resulting in deaths when hanging them on a line works in most places...

Unfortunately, banning most things only limits the options of responsible people. Particularly things that are as small as magazines for guns. The same people who make their livings trafficking in drugs and humans will just add high capacity magazines to their list of things to sell. They'll be as easy to get as a bag of weed or some crack for those who don't mind breaking the law.


Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:11 pm
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
CasualDad wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
While there will be practically zero discussion about guns in America despite the shooting in Colorado, I have one thing worth adding.

I've always supported the right to own a gun. I see nothing wrong with hunting, target shooting, or, if the need arises, self defense in one's home. But I would support a ban on magazines that hold more than ten rounds. Simply put, if you need more than ten shots to hit your target, than you're a shitty shot. 25 and 30 round magazines only serve the purpose of holding enough ammo to kill as many people as humanly possible. We don't need them, at least not in general society.


It is certainly true that we don't need them in today's society, but who can say with certainty that our society won't break down and become like Syria. Or like that of Serbia several years ago. There are probably even areas in South Africa and Mexico right now where honest people would love a semiautomatic rifle with high capacity magazines and lots of ammo to protect their families with. No one knows what the future holds. Anything can and will happen if the money runs out.

We don't need many things that cause needless loss of life. Many teens die, and take innocent people with them each year drag racing in cars that go much faster than anyone really needs. Dogs kill and injure people every year and very few people actually need them. The thing I'm typing on, a cell phone, most likely causes hundreds of deaths each year due to distracted driving and could easily be replaced by a Life Alert bracelet for the only serious purpose I might need it for. Clothe dryers cause fires resulting in deaths when hanging them on a line works in most places...

Unfortunately, banning most things only limits the options of responsible people. Particularly things that are as small as magazines for guns. The same people who make their livings trafficking in drugs and humans will just add high capacity magazines to their list of things to sell. They'll be as easy to get as a bag of weed or some crack for those who don't mind breaking the law.

Agreed, while mass shootings are relatively uncommon in the U.S., they are pretty much an everyday occurence in many areas in Mexico and other countries. While i'm not opposed to a ban on assault rifles, i'm not sure if it will do much good in the long run, it's doubled-edged sword as it's just as easy to acquire those types of weapons illegally for a fraction of the price they sell for on the internet, and if people like Holmes aren't able to procur an assault rifle, they could resort to using even more deadly weapon like a grenade launchers and full-atuo machine guns like the M249.


Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:06 pm
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
Just so there is no misunderstanding - like Vexer, I am not advocating high capacity weapons. I just believe that banning them will not even hinder someone who actively plans to use them with evil intent. And I do understand why some good people may want them even if I don't.


Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:53 am
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
CasualDad wrote:
We don't need many things that cause needless loss of life. Many teens die, and take innocent people with them each year drag racing in cars that go much faster than anyone really needs. Dogs kill and injure people every year and very few people actually need them. The thing I'm typing on, a cell phone, most likely causes hundreds of deaths each year due to distracted driving and could easily be replaced by a Life Alert bracelet for the only serious purpose I might need it for. Clothe dryers cause fires resulting in deaths when hanging them on a line works in most places...


You see, I have a hard time reconciling with this type of argument. Each of those things you mention are an unfortunate side-effect that is not their intended purpose. Cars are designed for transportation, phones are designed for communication, clothe dryers are designed to dry clothes. Guns however are designed with the purpose to kill, pure and simple. Sure you can only wound someone with a firearm, but it was designed to have the capacity to kill. If a gun kills someone, then is has done what it has been designed to do. Tasers, tranquilizer guns, etc. are designed to subdue a target in a non-lethal way, but not handguns and certainly not assault rifles. I'm not trying to advocate that firearms should be outlawed, but I've been hearing this argument a lot lately, and frankly I find it nonsensical.

I'd be curious to know what percentage of firearm related deaths are caused by registered weapons compared to illegal ones. That's another defense that gets brought up a lot, but I'm not aware of the statistics.


Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:36 am
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
Not trying to be flippant, but the results and effects to my family are pretty much the same if I get killed accidentally by someone else's faulty driving or someone else's clothe dryer catching fire and burning down my apartment as they would be if someone picks up a gun and intentionally kills me. However, unless gross negligence is involved, the first two are legal while the last is almost universally illegal.

The only point is that we pretty much accept the trade off between utility and harm for those other things, but are unwilling to do so for the gun when the gun is no more autonomous than the auto or dryer. The ability to protect one's family (my opinion - I understand and respect contrary opinions on this matter) is enough utility to accept the potential harm. Much was made that the harm would have been much higher if the police were not already in the area performing crowd control. I am thankful that the officers were there to reduce the scope of the massacre, but in my opinion, the incident only highlights the need for honest people to provide for their own protection since even having the police right there did not deter this murderer. As discussed earlier in this thread, legally banning almost anything in this country has only proven to limit the options of law abiding people with very little effect, other than filling prisons, on those willing to ignore the law.


Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:34 am
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
Well yes, any death if of course tragic. But the argument just uses this slippery slope logic which ignores any reasonable middle ground. A tree could fall on top of me and kill me. Should we ban trees? I could get food poisoning from food and die. Should we ban food? Of course, I realize that this is taking it to the extreme, but nonetheless each of these deaths would still be tragic. I was just saying that guns, even if they're used to defend your family, are designed to kill. That's what separates them from all the other comparisons you made.

I guess the other thing is, where does one draw the line at what is considered reasonable self defense? People defend the right to automatic assault rifles, in the (to me rather crazy) possibility that there could to be an uprising like there's been throughout the Middle East. But assault rifles will do bugger all against the US military. What chances would an armed militia have against tanks, military drones, tactical air strikes, guided missiles, hell even nukes? Wouldn't the public want to have personal access to these if society were to break down? You know, for defense of their liberty?

I don't know, to me that kind of argument mind have held some water 50 years ago, but in this age of modern tactical warfare it seems rather ludicrous.


Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:36 am
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
The examples I gave earlier were of items for which the primary utilization does not meet some basic survival. No real slippery slope there if the argument is that no one needs a high capacity semiautomatic rifle.

Such weapons are of great utility even against heavily armed military units unless said unit is willing to destroy all without discrimination. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan where NATO troops are about to pull out even though neither nation has any realistic measure of stability.


Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:01 pm
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
This piece is good. It dispels the notion of the unpredictable crazed killer who snaps one day, while reexamining the recent history of mass killers through the lens of a handful of distinct mental illness categories.

The question becomes, if we become more able to understand these people and figure out what to look for in advance, what can we do with that information?


Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:25 pm
Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Norway_attacks

Well I can't find the right words... I just think this isn't a "US only" phenomenon.


Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:16 pm
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
Ken wrote:
This piece is good. It dispels the notion of the unpredictable crazed killer who snaps one day, while reexamining the recent history of mass killers through the lens of a handful of distinct mental illness categories.

The question becomes, if we become more able to understand these people and figure out what to look for in advance, what can we do with that information?


This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Instead of slinging blame at each other, we should seek to understand so we can prevent as much as possible. In a perfect world, Holmes would have gotten the help that he needed and that screening would have been like any other.

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Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:27 am
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Post Re: The terrible events in Aurora
moviemkr7 wrote:
Ken wrote:
This piece is good. It dispels the notion of the unpredictable crazed killer who snaps one day, while reexamining the recent history of mass killers through the lens of a handful of distinct mental illness categories.

The question becomes, if we become more able to understand these people and figure out what to look for in advance, what can we do with that information?


This is EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Instead of slinging blame at each other, we should seek to understand so we can prevent as much as possible. In a perfect world, Holmes would have gotten the help that he needed and that screening would have been like any other.

I came across this clip of part of one of Chris Rock's stand up performances which I feel fits this theme very well. In fact, part of this clip was featured in Bowling for Columbine:

Chris Rock on Gun Control


Wed Sep 12, 2012 12:11 pm
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