Would an armed moviegoer have been able to stop the assassin of Aurora? So goes discussion in the U.S. of the shooting spree. For years, the NRA, with its 4 million members, has done a good job.
Carolyn McCarthy’s husband died on Dec. 7, 1993 – shot to death because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He and five others were the victims of a crazed shooter in Garden City in the U.S. state of New York. The death of her husband has made Carolyn McCarthy, Democratic congresswoman in Washington, an advocate for stricter gun control laws.
“[We] can’t continue to ignore avenues to prevent tragedies,” said the politician after the massacre in the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., in which a 24-year-old academic killed 12 people on Friday and wounded several dozens.
Yet again, McCarthy’s wish to make it more difficult for Americans to access firearms will come to nothing. Because there is, for example, Louie Gohmert, the Republican congressman from Texas. Shortly after the shooting spree in Aurora, he publicly asked whether an armed moviegoer might have possibly been able to stop the assassin more quickly.
Hardly any other topic in the U.S. is as politically controversial as the tightening of gun control laws, which has been debated repeatedly for decades. President Barack Obama, who planned to attend a memorial service for the victims of the assassin in Colorado on Sunday, had implied in the 2008 election campaign that he wanted to take on the issue. But nothing has happened. And until the presidential election in November, nothing probably will.
The Democrats fear retribution from voters. And Obama’s Republican challenger Mitt Romney announced publicly at the annual general meeting of the National Rifle Association, the influential firearms lobby organization, that if elected, he would change nothing in the Constitution's Second Amendment from 1791, which guarantees the right to bear arms.
Resistance to Bans Grows
The NRA, with its 4 million members, has been lobbying on behalf of gun possession. Surveys show that the number of U.S. Americans in favor of a tightening of the lax laws has been constantly sinking over the decades. According to a Gallup poll in 1990, eight of 10 questioned spoke in favor of stricter gun control laws. In 1999, after the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado, it was merely 60 to 66 percent.
And after the shooting spree at Virginia Tech University in 2007, the percentage sank to about 51 percent. In October 2011, a survey revealed that 73 percent of U.S. citizens were against a ban on private gun ownership. That was the highest amount in more than 50 years – and the NRA interpreted it as proof of their successful lobbying.
The police in Aurora succeeded in defusing the last of the booby traps in the apartment of alleged assassin James Holmes over the weekend. According to statements by the police, the man neighbors described as a nondescript loner had installed around 60 explosive devices there before he opened fire in the movie complex. Police Chief Dan Oates commented that Holes had apparently aimed to kill even more people.
To infuriate neighbors, the alleged mass murderer had turned on loud music in his apartment before leaving. A woman from the apartment house who lives under Holmes evidently only escaped death because she did not open Holmes’ unlocked apartment door when she wanted to complain about the loud music in the middle of the night.
According to current knowledge, the doctoral candidate in neuroscience had planned his deed for months. He is scheduled for arraignment this Monday.