Saturday, July 21, 2012


I spent the first five years of my life in Aurora, Colorado. It wasn't a suburb then. It was mostly undeveloped, a little town close to Denver. I'm certain I wouldn't recognize any of it now. But of course I'm thinking about it, about the film and the guy who, because of the lack of gun control laws, was able to bring automatic weapons into the theater and kill all those people.

Every time something like this happens, it is described as shocking. Is it shocking? It's horrifying and sad, but shocking? Really? Here in America, we love our guns. We're not nearly so in love with the idea of mental health care. Easy access to guns + no regard for taking care of ourselves = shocking? When I do the math, shock is the last thing I feel. It is predictable, yes?

My niece recently decided to go to a gun range and try shooting. In my family guns were absolutely taboo. My mother didn't even like squirt guns. So my niece decided to bust through the taboo, try it out. As she described it, shooting was a thrill. Not fun, she said, but definitely a high, a rush. At the shooting range, they had her aiming not at a target but at a paper figure of a human being. That is so very sick.

She did pretty well for someone who had never handled a gun before, hitting the figure close to the heart with several shots, between the eyes with one shot. She said she doesn't think she'll ever do it again. I can see how, for someone who does not have a balanced ego, that kind of thrill would be kind of irresistible. I can see how the outline of a human on a big piece of paper might not be as much of a rush to shoot as actual humans, I mean for those who are disconnected from a sense of self worth and power.

I've been directing a steady stream of Reiki towards Aurora, thinking of the people who were killed, their families, all the wounded. I hope this will stir some interest in gun control, but I'm not confident that much will come of it. Colorado is the wild west, after all. I also hope that everyone whose life was touched by this unspeakable tragedy will seek counseling. But that, too, is probably not going to happen.

Not shocking to me, but awful, horrifying and sad that this has happened again.

May all who were affected by this tragedy find healing in spite of our skewed American values. May it be so. Shalom.


Carolina Linthead said...

Amen. I have been studying gun laws a bit this summer, and I am frankly stunned at how slack they have become at the state level, particularly the lapse of waiting periods for handguns and the lapse/complete roll-back of restrictions on assault rifles and high capacity magazines. In fact, apart from a basic computer background check (15 minutes), many states have repealed virtually all the firearm regulations put in place in my lifetime. To that they've added a ridiculously easy concealed/carry policy, as well as making open carry virtually unregulated. Gun manufacturers worldwide are enjoying quite the boom because of lack of regulation in the US, with some models selling faster than they can be built. I am a gun owner, and I enjoy shooting holes in round paper targets. I only shoot on the shooting range, and I don't shoot at human shapes. In fact, some gun ranges do not allow them, though most do. But I am appalled that we have rolled back so much hard-won regulation, rather than expanding it. We have sown the wind, and so no, I am not shocked that we continue to reap the whirlwind. Sigh.

Reya Mellicker said...

I know. It's still the wild, wild west in the U.S. Sigh.

ellen abbott said...

The politicians have the masses whipped up in fear over the muslim terrorists while the greater danger is from homegrown white christian american terrorists. Quite frankly, I'm surprised stuff like this doesn't happen more often with the love affair of guns in this country. and not just, you know, guns, but weapons and the more deadly they are the better. wasn't bad enough that any weapon could be bought but now with the concealed carry permits coupled with the fear and racism in this country, not a good combination. this country is too wealthy, too paranoid by far.

SG said...

I hope the concerned authorities do what is required as far as gun laws are concerned. I just finished reading Rudy Giuliani's 'Leadership' in which he makes a point about his view on gun laws, which run contrary to normally held Republican views on the subject. He talks about how introducing a waiting period for guns reduces crime. He substantiates it by giving figures from his regime as mayor of NYC.

My prayers for all those who were affected by this mindless shooting spree.

Elizabeth said...

If we have better gun control, I won't be able to have an assault rifle.
How WILL I manage without it?

So sad sad sad,
but it was ever thus in the US.

You are right not to be shocked.
It's surprising it doesn't happen more often.....

Linda Sue said...

Guns make it too easy ...there will always be insane people , not the quietly insane who just rock against a wall, but those who are hell bent on destruction...they will find ways of doing so but not with such flare as that performance! Guns are ridiculous and ever so flashy , the even more ridiculous lobbyists have so much power with a nation of Bubba's behind them. I do not see any change coing round the bend...I see an exodus out of this sad sick country, leaving behind the folks who like to blow each other up. I just don't know...clearly this nation has been lost for a very long time.

Reya Mellicker said...

I like what Jacob Needleman says about America, that it has always been a mess, but what's great about it is that it can change.

There are many things that are a whole lot better now than they used to be, also much that's worse. the founding fathers made it sound like a perfect country was possible. We've been disappointed ever since.

Pam said...

Such a tragedy.
We have strict gun laws in Australia so that this sort of thing doesn't happen.
We had a massacre where 35 people lost their lives, carried out by a young man, Martin Bryant in Port Arthur in Tasmania in 1996, and the government then enforced a law where it bought back guns from every individual who had them in the country (owners were well-compensated financially) and then enforced tight restrictions and heavy limitations on gun-ownership in Australia.
However it seems that whenever there seems to be any talk of gun reform in the States, people jump up and down about a constitutional right to bear arms.
The attitude here, as much as many loved their guns and had quite an emotional attachment in some cases, was "yes, this must never happen again, and anything we can do to help that never reoccuring in this country, is absolutely necessary".
I am suprised that many in the States are shocked when these massacres keep happening. Does the population think it will not continue to do so?
With respect for the families pain, I hope I don't sound too judgemental, and god forbid, self-rightous in my response to this shocking incident.
After all,Australia has at no stage been attacked by terrorists as America has, and I can understand that collective fear of needing to defend oneself.
It's a complex issue based in violence, but I was so proud our Government made a stand.

Mary Ellen said...

I read recently (in the New Yorker?) an account of how much ground we have lost on gun control in this country over the past couple of decades. I think most people assume "it was ever thus" and don't realize how radical the changes have been, even in the interpretation of the Constitution, etc. I don't know what it will take to roll this back, though, as there are powerful economic interests in keeping the guns rolling off the conveyer belts. Perhaps I should retire to Australia or someplace where grown-ups run the government.

Carolina Linthead said...

Just want to say I love what Pam said! Also, what Mary Ellen said...we have lost SO much ground on gun control since the 1990s. It would be hard for me to give up my father's service revolver, but then again, how much harder is it to lose loved ones to gun violence? When will we finally close that frontier...say goodbye to the wild west? *sob*

Reya Mellicker said...

Thank you Pam! And all of you. Excellent comments.