“That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection.” ~ Roger Ebert

Via on Jul 21, 2012

“That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection.” ~ Roger Ebert

100,000 Americans die every year due to domestic gun violence.

*”Correction all: the 100,000 guns deaths should be 100,000 incidents of death or injury w guns per annum. My bad. Number still sucks.” An intelligent, reasoned, argument/discussion of these numbers, with many cited links, is here. Search “Suicide.”

An op-ed piece in the NY Times worth the read. Excerpt.

Immediately after a shooting last month in the food court of the Eaton Centre mall in Toronto, a young woman named Jessica Ghawi posted a blog entry. Three minutes before a gunman opened fire, she had been seated at the exact place he fired from.

“I was shown how fragile life was,” she wrote. “I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.”

This same woman was one of the fatalities at the midnight screening in Aurora. The circle of madness is closing...Read the rest of Ebert’s post.

Here’s a fuller excerpt from Jessica Ghawi’s blog, published just after the shooting in Toronto (link above).

“…I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.

I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given.

I feel like I am overreacting about what I experienced. But I can’t help but be thankful for whatever caused me to make the choices that I made that day. My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am…”

She’s dead, now. So needlessly.

~

“A tragedy unfolds in three tweets.”

Finally, an eloquent letter via…yup, Jason Alexander.

“…We will not prevent every tragedy. We cannot stop every maniac. But we certainly have done ourselves no good by allowing these particular weapons to be acquired freely by just about anyone…”

For updates and context, click here.

About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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18 Responses to ““That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection.” ~ Roger Ebert”

  1. Mamaste says:

    Just intro'd on FB to: Health & Wellness & Enlightened.
    ~Mamaste

  2. tomgrasso says:

    Amazing piece. I've seen life end and life change too many times to count. I have watched how seconds, no milliseconds, determine who lives, who dies and whose life is noticeably changed. It's hard for me to properly explain to those I love the importance of never leaving this stone unturned and of never EVER leaving the love that binds us hang in doubt. I try to live by these simple rules:

    1) Forgive as quickly as you can. Hanging on to wounds risks never being able to heal them.
    2) Forgive as often as you can. Holding on to wounds only serves to leave us bleeding, tortured and in pain.
    3) Love as much as you can. This is self-explanatory.
    4) Let your love be a light not hid under a basket. Love serves best when shared.
    5) You are not guaranteed another second. Never, EVER let matters of Love wait for the next minute. "In a minute" is not a phrase our hearts understand.

  3. [...] that the gunman (I’d rather not use his name) was a practicing Christian. Then, others want to blame gun laws—as if this genius couldn’t have killed all these people by other means. On the flip side of [...]

  4. While I personally don't see the need for any private citizen to have assault weapons, I think a larger issue is the fact that our current gun laws are not well enforced. Project Exile in VA (anyone arrested in commission of any crime while carrying a gun immediately faced stiff penalties and had to serve jail time far away) had a dramatic impact on gun violence in the state.

    While our current laws certainly need to be re-evaluated, harsher penalties for those breaking them need to happen too. 82% of guns used in commission of a crime were obtained illegally (in 1998). I find it horrifying that we have over 44 million gun owners in our country and don't understand the need for it. But I think rather than more ineffective laws, we need to think outside of the box on this and see what's working in communities that have been able to reduce gun violence (Project Exile in VA, Operation Ceasefire in Boston).

    • elephantjournal says:

      Hell yes. I also think it's common sense to restrict military weapons to the military, and to well-regulated militias.

  5. tomgrasso says:

    Guys, I feel like I am going to be soooooo hated here. I agree with the premise that there is no reason for private citizens have assault weapons and…yada yada yada…

    HOWEVER, the Constitution defends this right. The "shall not be infringed" right to bear arms is a right given by the Bill of Rights after some discussion and debate. It is there to ensure that the citizenry can defend itself against a tyrannical government and, in fact, some of the discussion basically spelled out that at no time should the military of the government be better armed than the civilian population. The fear was that the Central government would become too powerful and instill some of the tyranny the patriots fought against (see the debate about a loose Confederation of States and forming a Central government).

    Therefore, it is a clearly spelled out right that has been separated by a comma in the Second Amendment. It is a separate right from a well-regulated militia, but included in the some thought. This premise has been supported by SCOTUS precedent and opinion.

    It is more clearly stated a right than the famous "Wall of Separation" we often point to as a basis for the separation of Church and State. In fact, that Separation isn't a right at all, whereas the right to bear arms is.

    I say this because I view it similarly to the way I view abortion, drug laws, the idiocy of prohibition, and other laws that infringe on freedom. I may not think YOU need to do something, have something, smoke something, drink something, whatever…but that doesn't mean I HAVE THE RIGHT to tell you not to. That act, the act of me telling you that you can't do something, is oppressive and contrary to peace.

    I'd also suggest that if this person wanted to kill people in this movie theater, he would have regardless of any gun laws on the books. I won't get into details, but one just need Google the Happy Land Social Club to understand. The way we find security and safety is not through legislation or oppression, it is something far greater. I'd suggest that removing and instrument of killing from the hands of someone deranged is not going to stop him from fulfilling his fantasy. Oppressing those who, unlike me, want to own a weapon and are guaranteed the right by our founding document, is not the answer to finding lasting peace and love in our society. In fact, it takes us further away from that Utopia in my opinion.

    Hope you understand my opinion is in contrast to what I'd like to see, but those are the very real truths behind the phrase "freedom is not free".

    • elephantjournal says:

      I agree: we should have the right to bear arms, responsibly, if we're trained and part of a "militia." More on that below.

      But that right should not include assault weapons—military weapons—we don't have the right, after all, to own plutonium or missiles or nuclear weapons or bombs.

      And the Constitution specified muskets and such—I don't see most using the Constitution being a stickler on that point.

      A more important point: Boy Scouts, Gun Clubs…we're only given the right if we're part of a trained militia. Without training and responsibility, as most hunters learn, folks like yourself are only going to be defending and enabling one of the most self-violent countries on earth, ever.

  6. elephantjournal says:

    Just as we did two generations ago with seat belts, it's time to take a look at how we further (and permit, and train) the responsible ownership of deadly weapons. ~ Waylon.

    XXSXXX: Our spoon laws are horrible too! We should ban spoons, they make people fat!!

    Chispa Loro I'd like to read about the status of crime etc in nations that ban or severely restrict private ownership of guns. I'm in favor of such restrictions and find analogies such as the one above ridiculous. Obviously, the real problem is in society that nurtures frustration and entitlement and keeps people from having personal power. But, can we change society fast enough or do we need to fix the symptoms while working on the disease?

    Louise Eivers Here in Australia we have gun laws we still have crazy people who can get there hands on them ban the games that are so violent I think so very sad watch(we need to talk about keven)

    Jason Sperling Yes !

    David Steidle There are individuals at my place of business who legally carry concealed weapons; we all have the peace of mind that we are all safer because of that. If more people,law abiding citizens possessed guns, the crazies would be less likely to try to take a life because deep down they are cowards.

    P: Interesting death stats here:
    1. Soviet democide under Stalin at 62 million murdered with Commie GUN CONTROL.
    2. Hitler responsible for 21 million under the National Socialists GUN CONTROL.
    3.And 35 million during the reign of Mao in China with their style GUN CONTROL.

    Bloomberg is the Insane One. Obama is the Insane One. Feinstein is the Insane One. Ebert is the Insane One. Schummer is the Insane One and all the others that want to trample on your second amendment RIGHTS>>> Give up your guns at your own Peril. The solution is not in Washington or another law or regulation. Being responsible for your own security is the only sane answer. BY the way, the theater in Aurora had a sign that read: "Proud to be a Gun Free Area" If one of the military or other movie patrons had been legally able to carry a concealed weapon this atrosity might have been totally avoided with one shot by a well trained and sane individual…

    Darrell Barricklow You forgot, we need to ban those darned pencils too. They are so responsible for those spelling errors.

    Mandie Kemp Everyone carrying guns??!?!?… Insane!!!!!

    elephantjournal.com Darrell, spelling errors don't kill innocents. Usually.

    elephantjournal.com TJ, here's a quote for you: "I get messages from seemingly decent and intelligent people who offer things like: @BrooklynAvi: Guns should only be banned if violent crimes committed with tomatoes means we should ban tomatoes. OR @nysportsguys1: Drunk drivers kill, should we ban fast cars?

    I'm hoping that right after they hit send, they take a deep breath and realize that those arguments are completely specious. I believe tomatoes and cars have purposes other than killing. What purpose does an AR-15 serve to a sportsman that a more standard hunting rifle does not serve? Let's see – does it fire more rounds without reload? Yes. Does it fire farther and more accurately? Yes. Does it accommodate a more lethal payload? Yes. So basically, the purpose of an assault style weapon is to kill more stuff, faster. To achieve maximum lethality. Hardly the primary purpose of tomatoes and sports cars."

    elephantjournal.com Pitch, if you'd like to talk about "ifs"…if random and relatively untrained (as are most of us) civilians had guns on them, it could have turned into a shootout in a dark theater with tear gas, with one side having the element of surprise and armor and superior weapons…many more innocents could have been killed.

    elephantjournal.com David, sounds fine—if there were mandated waits and training for said guns. And, if assault weapons were not only banned, but the sale of them kept careful track here. The point here is, there is a middle ground for sane people like you and me to help reduce the remarkable incidence, in the US, of gun violence.

    Also, Darrell, TJ: we're working on obesity, which is also a real threat to health and American lives and happiness: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/08/just-20-ye

  7. elephantjournal says:

    David Steidle I feel sorrow for all those involved in this senseless act. I am also saddened that we now live in a country where we believe that additional legislation and laws by our government will solve the problems and issues at hand. We need to take a more active role ourselves, instead of giving it to the government.

    David Steidle I happen to be a responsible gun owner; I have taken the training, I pass all the background checks, I practice with my weapons(yes, I also have a weapon like the one used in Aurora), I am proficient with all of my weapons, and I have thousands of rounds. I enjoy the sport of shooting and of hunting. I am a professional during the week, and going to the firing range is good for my mental health. I do have a permit to carry concealed, and those who know me are very comfortable and relaxed around me. By the way, I would use my weapon to prevent another Aurora from taking place….I will protect those around me.

    • elephantjournal says:

      David Steidle Mandie….you are least likely to get shot with other responsible individuals looking out not only for themselves, but also you. relax. don't be paranoid.

      Mandie Kemp ‎@ David… I'm far from paranoid. I live in Australia where we have gun laws:)

      elephantjournal.com Also, to the point of arming our entire nation, we're already the most gun-happy, gun-permissive nation on earth—and, for some reason, that hasn't made us safer. Rather, the opposite. The solution to violence may not be more guns: it may be better access to mental health care, and more training of responsible gun owners, and a re-ban of assault weapons.

      • elephantjournal says:

        Pitchford Their are millions just like him in America. More Gun Laws are not the answer. In case you haven't noticed, Aurora, Co. has very strict laws which were totally ignored by the perpetrator of this atrocity.

        elephantjournal.com Pitch, milliions? Who's sounding paranoid now?

        Pitchford There are millions of responsible and PROUD gun owners in America and that's why Obama and all the other Commies he surrounds himself with don't sleep well at night…if you want to give up your freedom to own and protect yourself that's your right…

        elephantjournal.com There's nothing about responsible gun owners that should make Obama, or anyone who doesn't agree with your politics, not sleep well at night.

  8. elephantjournal says:

    PS: this is how we defeat terrorists/crazies: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/07/its-one-ye

    By standing up for our values of peace, love, tolerance, community…and not merely cowboying up.

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  10. [...] One of those killed, Jessica “Redfield” Ghawi, had survived (and written about) a shooting a month and a half [...]

  11. [...] my anger is at the NRA and its supporters who think it’s okay to legally sell assault rifles to the general public and who have fought tooth and nail for people to be able to buy as many guns [...]

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