This is a political post.
Let's not make this tragedy political.
This was the spin that immediately emerged from those who looked at the events in Colorado and thought not of the loss of life or the senselessness of it all, but saw the possibility that at the end of it all, something might have to change. And yet mere hours after it occurred, after they implored those who might suggest change not make it political, we heard the distinct rumblings of their own peccadilloes. From the common refrain "guns don't kill people" to the fanciful idea that if someone else there had been armed it would have, ironically, ended with movie style heroics.
First, one part is correct. Guns don't kill people. Guns are a tool, and tools are useless without users. But to make the argument as one of my conservative FB friends did less than 24 hours after it happened, that "cars and bats also kill people, but no one stops you from driving to the ball game" mis-characterizes the whole situation. But this is the misdirection employed by those seeking to enshrine the second amendment? The comparison is unwieldy at best. Cars are regulated out the wahzoo, and you can only drive them in certain areas called roads. And whereas bats aren't has heavily regulated, walking around with one on your shoulder all the time makes the rest of us real nervous. Guns are tools, but they should be regulated. And regulations here wouldn't infringe upon our right to bear arms, much in the same way that some regulation on free speech and the right to assemble don't infringe upon our constitutional rights to those things.
But It's the second idea that really scares me. That if someone else had been armed, the shooter could have been stopped sooner and lives would have been saved. This is a fantasy that deserves a dismantling as quickly as possible. Say, the theater held 300 people, and for this exercise... 25 are armed. In the middle of the film a man emerges and first throws tear gas and starts firing. He is heavily armed...and wearing body armor. Of the 25, let's say 5 realize discretion is the better part of being out gunned and keep their guns in holster. But 20 people pull out weapons. In a now chaotic situation. Surely having terrified people blinded by tear gas in a dark room full of screaming running people waving loaded pistols ready to fire will make things safer! How many of them would be nerves of steel sharpshooters? If just half of them fire off two shots and miss, how many more people get hit? Especially since now the bullets are coming from more than one direction. And if they hit him, then what? He was wearing as I stated earlier... body armor. It may have fazed him for a few seconds...but he wasn't about the scamper away. A few of those brave souls, drawing attention to themselves would have gone down.
And before it starts this situation isn't comparable to the armed man who stopped the robbery in Florida a few days earlier. Those thugs were there to rob and used violence only as a threat in a well lit room. Here, the criminals intent was to kill...nothing more. Threatend, they ran away. Here, we don't know what he might have done. He might have decided to go out in a bigger blaze of glory.
Adding more guns does not necessarily make a situation safer.
We'd all be happy to not politicize this tragedy. That was good advice. Now only if those people who suggested it had listened to themselves.