In yet another senseless killing of innocents, a _________ (criminal/terrorist/insane) person named _______ shot _______ (insert no. of dead and wounded) people using _______ (automatic/semi-automatic/single-single action) gun(s). A grieving nation is shocked and puzzled!
Don’t-cha know? Guns don’t kill people! Criminals, terrorists and madmen kill people!
By all accounts, so far at least, of the 24-years young James (Jimmy) Holmes, he was a pretty ordinary, if somewhat brighter than most, kinda guy. Nobody would have singled him out in a crowd as being odder than you or me. He was a bit shy, some people remember, but those who befriended him said that once he opened up, he was smart and funny and fun to be around. His criminal record consisted of one summons to appear in court for a speeding ticket. He was out of work, but so are a lot of people nowadays, especially 24-year olds. He had a poster of Will Farrell in the movie Anchorman, hanging on the wall of his apartment, said a neighbor who spied on him “…Using a camera with a zoom lens.”
Being pretty much a regular guy, we should presume that, like all of us, Jimmy wrestled with his problems — ordinary feelings of remorse, self-doubt, anger and regret. Like all of us, he had fantasies about being rich and powerful, famous and loved by everyone. Just like you and I, he was an ordinary guy.
Because he was so ordinary no one could have predicted that he would buy lots of guns that are on display at the local outdoor store, and from the internet most likely, exotic protective gear featured on TV shows and in movies. No one could have predicted that he would set out to enact the fantasies we all have of being powerful and invincible, like any run-of-the-mill superhero.
We all dream of being superheroes from time to time. We all fantasize now and again, about being able to take matters into our own hands in order to vanquish evildoers and set things right. The line between most of us and Jimmy Holmes is not in our heads. Psychiatric profiles and MRI brain-scans won’t show it. The difference is that he actually purchased guns. With guns in hand, the line between wishing to be and actually being a superhero, disappears.
We all hold strong opinions about right and wrong, good and evil. And we all have now and then, fantasized about doing something to set things right. Fortunately, most of us do not carry with us the means with which to enact our superhero fantasies, as did Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Anders Behring Breivik Jared Lee Loughne, George Zimmerman, and Jimmy Holmes, to cite just a few of the more notorious recent examples.
Whenever we are of the opinion that some wrong has been done to us just now or in some distant past, we are apt use the tools at hand to set things right as best we can. In America, the middle finger, always locked and loaded, is a weapon of choice. Fisticuffs and knives have long-since fallen out of favor, being messy, imprecise, and requiring practiced skill in use. The Internet imparts a kind-of virtual superhero power to anyone who can type — Yelp, chat rooms, Facebook and letters to the editor lend globe-spanning superpowers to the aggrieved writer.
But guns held close at hand still reign supreme when it gets right down to vanquishing evildoers. Readily available and easy to use, they are the quintessential tool by which the most ordinary among us is instantly endowed with super-heroic powers.
You see, guns really do kill people!
For a perfect example of the NRA sponsored message that “guns don’t kill, people kill”, see David Brooks very unsurprising rotten apples Op-ed.