Friday, July 20, 2012

The Batman Shootings

The shootings at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie are sure to re-ignite the national debate over gun control. At least for a little while.

As this is written the shootings are less than nine hours old. Twelve people are known dead, with dozens of others wounded. The alleged gunman is in custody.

Reports I've seen are calling this horrific incident one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history. And I suppose it is. But the sick truth is that incidents like this are all too common in the United States.

And they happen because in America, we are armed to the teeth.

Here's what I think will happen. For a brief time we'll hear from gun rights advocates arguing that if there had been an armed movie-goer present, he or she could have shot down the asshole responsible for these murders, and thereby prevented this crime from reaching the scale it did.

Gun control advocates will respond that if deadly weapons were not so readily available in the first place, then persons of unstable minds might not be able to do these terrible deeds.

Piers Morgan will devote a program to a debate featuring responsible parties from both sides of the issue.

And then the whole thing will blow over, until the next mass shooting.

This crime is striking closer to home than usual, because it happened not too far from where I live. A dozen or so years ago we were all stunned by the shootings at Columbine High School. Last night's crime is especially frightening for me because my son was among those attending the midnight opening of Batman – although at a different theater.

Shit like this will continue happening in our violent and gun-obsessed society. It is a symptom of the deep societal sickness with which we all must live. I have commented on gun violence elsewhere on this blog, in regard to the shootings in Tucson, the murder of John Lennon, and the NRA.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth of July 2012

We didn’t have any fireworks in my town on Independence Day this year. As with most surrounding communities, the powers that be canceled fireworks because it's so damned dry. Colorado has had serious fires this summer.

But we had most of the other festivities associated with the Fourth. In late morning I took a long bike ride (or long for me) up to a little berg called Niwot. I didn't plan it that way, but I got there just in time for the tail end of their Fourth of July parade. Cops were out in full force directing traffic around the Main Street area (actually Second Avenue) but as a cyclist, I could skirt most of the congestion.

The streets were thick with pedestrians. It was a little strange being in a crowded place, and so close to home, yet not knowing a soul.

The Niwot event had all the typical stuff: people waving little American flags, kids in strollers, kids on bikes festooned with red white and blue, the firetruck at left, and women in skimpy attire on this very hot midday. I brought my little pocket digital camera and took pictures, as you can see (not of any women). I am consistently surprised by the quality of the pictures from this tiny device.

I took about a dozen photos, and most of them were shot from the same location. I wasn't really there to take pictures.

By chance I found myself right next to a small Niwot business I'd never heard of called My Mom's Pie. (Andy Griffith just died. He was in that movie a few years ago about the pie-making woman.) You probably live too far away to give My Mom's Pie any business, but what the hell. Check out their web site!

I like taking long bike rides on the Fourth. Traffic is usually light, which enhances the experience. Here's my description of last year's ride. And here's a story about the 2007 holiday. I'm pleased to say this latter item pissed some people off, although I don't know why it did, exactly.

Still a troublemaker at heart.