Only in America

July 21, 2012 | By | 4 Replies More

Image by Ray Gregory


Category: American Culture, Cartoons

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. Adam Herman says:

    America is unique. We have certain inalienable rights, and societal interests are subordinate to those individual rights. It has its drawbacks, but I wouldn’t take the alternative. If gun control was actually workable, we could discuss the relevant considerations, but since it has never actually worked as intended, there’s no point.

  2. Brynn Jacobs says:

    Not only in America, I know you’re aware of problems in other countries as well. Say, Norway, about a year ago?

    Regardless, I find myself agreeing with Adam in this case.

    In the wake of the tragedy, both the gun lobby and the gun control lobby have ramped up their rhetoric. The gun control lobby wails that if only we had stricter regulation, that would have prevented the massacre. But murder is already illegal, and this person apparently had no qualms about breaking that law, so presumably he wouldn’t have been terribly inconvenienced were his firearms declared illegal. With approximately 300 million guns in private hands in America, Adam’s right– those aren’t going away.

    The gun lobby meanwhile, argues that if more people in the audience that night had been armed, they could have taken out the shooter before more people were injured or killed. But this idealizes most gun owner’s skills- taking out a well-armored, prepared, and committed shooter under confusing conditions and in near-darkness conditions without injuring anyone else is probably beyond the skill level of most shooters.

    We should see this for what it is: a probably unbalanced individual, bent on destruction, planned and implemented a sabotage of on unsuspecting population. It’s an aberration, and rather than blaming the tools of choice in the case, we should be asking what it is about our society that would make someone react in such a manner.

    Just my two-cents. I think both sides of this debate are generally well-intentioned, but both tend to miss the point or the realities of the situation.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      I wonder whether this is one of those incidents (I’m thinking about 9/11), where we all had a front row seat to the tragedy thanks to the media reports, and we might thus learn something from this. Hearing about this incident leads many of us to consider “What would I do if I were in this situation?” Next time it happens, there will likely be a bit less confusion on behalf of some patrons at the event, and they will instinctively think “Oh, this is one of THOSE incidents,” and kick into action. Similarly, I suspect that passengers on a plane will never again cooperate with thugs who try to take control of the cockpit.

      I do think that the confusion was a huge advantage to this killer. If this happened next time, he would more likely have someone jumping his back, even if he’s trying to twirl around while shooting.

      Or maybe this is wishful thinking, because it takes an extraordinary person to rush a guy with a gun blazing. And he would probably assume a position agains a wall, where he could still be quite dangerous. Or is that what he did in this case? I don’t know many of the details still.

  3. Adam Herman says:

    I think that people might have thought of rushing him had they not been so disoriented by the gas and the problem of getting around in a theater, where you’d have to charge down a narrow aisle or hop over seats. A shooter with fairly free movement has a tremendous tactical advantage. And he had a gas mask.

    At the Giffords shooting, the incident was stopped by bystanders.

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