This week, I ordered New York Times weekend home delivery, which is cheaper than a digital subscription (and includes a digital subscription). Get it.
I was really excited to go for a run, come back to my apartment, and dig into some big trend piece that would start off my day on the wrong foot when I remembered that yesterday, a gunman killed 12 people, and injured 59 more, at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
Now, I have many mixed feelings about reading about the shooting. On one hand, there is something really grotesque about the sensationalism that follows an atrocity. The event happens, then the media swoops in, and reports on every single tiny detail. The New York Times, of course, is much better than cable news channels, but then again, they only publish once a day.
In all of this, the victims get lost, and the killer gets exactly what he wants. Our fascination. And the media makes a pretty penny tightening up the connection between us and him. It’s a sick thing, and my name is Noam Chomsky, nice to meet you.
On the other hand, if done right—and it’s never done right—events like this might bring to light issues in America like gun control, which neither President Obama nor the Mormon reincarnation of John Kerry, Mitt Romney, has very encouraging policies on. In fact, if the Newsroom is to be believed, Obama has signed more laws in favor of the gun lobbies than President Bush did in eight years.
‘In the last 60 days Mr. Holmes had purchased four guns at local gun shops,’ Chief Oates said. And through the Internet, he bought more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition: more than 3,000 rounds for the assault rifle, 3,000 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition for two Glocks, and 300 rounds for the 12-gauge shotgun. ‘The guns were all bought legally,’ a federal law enforcement official said.
Mr. Holmes also purchased online multiple magazines for the assault rifle, including one 100-round drum magazine. ‘With that drum magazine, he could have gotten off 50, 60 rounds even if it was semiautomatic, within one minute,’ Chief Oates said.”
In what fucking world would this man ever need a fucking 100-round drum magazine to protect himself or his property? Is he battling King Kong? A swarm of dragons? The horsemen of the apocalypse?
How do we live in a country with a government that could possibly justify arming its citizens in this way? Seriously, give me one reason, you fucking amateur hunters, why you need an automatic gun to kill a deer. Or 6,000 rounds to kill a single intruder. Or ten intruders. Or an army of intruders.
We’re supposedly a state at peace. It seems pretty rational, however, to assume that if we continue to arm our citizens in such a way, and we continue to allow the media to fill us with lust for blood, to let us bathe in the pleasure of such violent acts, that we won’t stay peaceful for much longer.
A shooting in a movie theater? Horrible. James Holmes? Exceedingly ordinary (for a psychopath). A country with hundreds of thousands of people walking around, freely, with assault rifles? Now that’s some fucking scary shit.