Like many of you, I woke up this morning to the tragic news of the shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colo. The Wall Street Journal is wondering if this will lead to increased scrutiny of our gun laws. New York Mayor Bloomberg is calling on President Obama and Mitt Romney to clarify their position on gun regulations. Meanwhile conservatives are criticizing anybody who brings up gun control for trying to “politicize” the moment.
Amid all this banter, I have to wonder if we’re having the right discussion. I firmly believe that the aftermath of tragedies is a terrible time to make policy, and I don’t think any law could have stopped a madman who wanted to kill people in a movie theater. As Alfred said: “Some men just want to watch the world burn.”
If we’re going to ponder something today, let’s think about our culture – a culture that celebrates gun violence.
Don’t believe me? Think about the protagonist in the movie people were watching – Batman. Have you noticed that he is the only character in the movie that doesn’t use guns? (He’s a “muscular genius,” according to Phil Dunphy, but he doesn’t use firearms.) Everyone else does. In fact, the only people in our country who don’t need guns in order to get things done are comic book heroes. Why do we believe that you need a superpower in order to live your life and defend your values without guns?
And sorry moms, this love of guns isn’t restricted to movies and video games either. The signature achievement of our current President is the assassination of Osama bin Laden.
Our gun laws are the result of our gun culture. Fighting against our lax regulations or blindly supporting the rights of gun owners seems to me to miss the point today.