It was like something out of a movie, as they say. As people in Aurora, Colorado flocked to the theater to see “The Dark Knight Rises,” the last of the Batman trilogy by Christopher Nolan, a deranged young man of just 24 years of age named James Holmes was preparing to initiate the largest mass shooting in American history. Just about a half-hour into the movie that features the fictional Gotham City being plagued by a merciless madman named Bane, Holmes burst into the theater in riot gear, complete with a ballistics helmet, Kevlar vest, bullet-proof pants, and a gas mask. He set off several smoke bombs to add to the confusion and make his defenseless victims even more sitting ducks than they already were. Then, he proceeded to start firing, eventually exhausting four weapons that were fully loaded.
When the smoke cleared, literally and figuratively, twelve people were dead and 59 injured, some not even in the same theater, as the bullets penetrated the walls and injured those in other showings. Eyewitnesses said that the killer methodically sprayed the crowd, seeming to pick his targets at random. He seemed to be especially vigilant toward shooting at those that tried to run away. After finally departing, he was quickly and unbelievably peacefully arrested by police at his car outside the theater, still in full riot gear and carrying three weapons. He told police he was “The Joker,” the evil villain from the second movie in the trilogy. He then gave the cops a polite warning that his apartment was booby-trapped with explosions.
The warning was nice, but the police and other federal organizations found it to be an understatement. An intricate system of explosives was in the apartment. It was so complicated in nature that experts in demolitions were unsure how to proceed. They said it may take days to safely unravel the traps. Five buildings nearby were evacuated indefinitely, and police confirmed that there was definitely enough firepower in the apartment to at least take out the building itself and the ones adjacent to it.
As America tries to come to terms with this unprecedented tragedy, Common Sense Conspiracy wants to offer its heartfelt condolences to the victims and the hopes that justice comes quickly to James Holmes, for what it’s worth. However, in the politically charged environment of an election year, we can’t help but wonder what the repercussions of this event will be. There are many people that believe that a freshly re-elected Barack Obama, free of any worries about votes any longer in his final term, might pursue a gun control agenda. In the past, we have theorized that events like this that seem to be happening in frightening numbers were a positive for the agenda. The government would institute gun control regulations as a direct response to these violent incidents involving firearms. People would be happy to turn over their weapons to try to end the tragedy. That was the theory. Now, people are going in the other direction it seems. People not only oppose gun control, but many actually think that people should be allowed more freedom to carry weapons for their own protection in light of these events. What might have seen like a positive for gun control advocates might quickly be backfiring on them. People are angry. And confused. And they are increasingly doubting the police’s ability to protect them, opting to take matters into their own hands.
The actions of James Holmes is nothing short of terrorism. A man in Tuscaloosa, Alabama just a few days earlier started shooting into a crowded bar, wounding dozens, but fortunately not succeeding in killing anyone. This is terrorism, plain and simple, and while we’ve all heard so much about the “War on Terror”, is it time to admit that the real War on Terror is right here in our own crowded streets, restaurants, and now, movie theaters? While the TSA gropes people as they try to get on airplanes, people are walking our very streets. They are Americans. They are not Muslim extremists. They are not of Middle Eastern descent. They are Americans through and through, and they are orchestrating terrorist attacks more successfully than any of the people that we classically fear.
Some believe that this is a consequence of America not having better treatments and diagnosis of mental illness. Others point to gun control. Others, still, point to the times. The lackluster economy. Unemployment. They say that people are simply going over the edge, losing their minds in hard times. But whatever the cause, what we do know is that it’s a problem. The War on Terror isn’t being fought in the caves of Afghanistan, the deserts of Iraq, or the streets of Israel anymore. Terrorism is now born in the U.S.A.