Monday, August 20, 2018

Darkness in Denver

Credit: refractor
Night descends on Denver

The massacre in Denver is a tragedy beyond words, but in words lies our only way of understanding.

There are times when words are inadequate. There are times when only silence will serve. The recent massacre in Denver is such an occasion. In shock I was minded to say nothing at all, but in shock I have to say something.

Why speak, why say anything, other than to express a natural human sympathy for the victims and those they have left behind? Why? Because this kind of tragedy is the occasion for all sorts of comment, all sorts of judgements, often losing sight of the simple truth. The simple truth is all I am interested in.

Please, please, let’s stay focused. This horror is not the fault of a society, of a culture, of a nation; it’s not even the fault of the constitutional right of Americans to bear arms. It is the fault of one sick and deranged individual, a person I refuse to name, because naming is what he wanted. Naming was his only motive.

We live in a secular age; we live in an age that supposes we are beyond good and evil. But we are not. Evil is a constant presence, made all the worse because it now comes most often draped in the cloak of mediocrity. All it takes is one pathetic, self-obsessed loner, influenced by one shallow impulse or another, to bring down a curtain of depravity. All it takes is a joker who is nothing but a joker.

I love America. It’s a second home for me, a place I’ve been visiting on and off since I was a child. I love to shoot. I have licences for a .22 rifle and a 310 shotgun. I love to go shooting with American friends; I have done on several occasions in the countryside of south-east Georgia, old cotton land. Am I bad, am I wrong; are we wrong?

The Denver tragedy, like Columbine and so many others before, is inevitably an occasion for the usual unreflective reflex – it’s all the fault of America’s ‘gun culture.’ It becomes, in a sense, a way of indicting a whole society, the decent and the indecent alike. More; it becomes a way of measuring the decent by the standards of indecency.

Society is not at fault; my Georgian friends are not at fault; I am not at fault. I repeat – it’s the responsibility of one deranged and pathetic individual. Millions of ordinary Americans, like my family friends, own guns, few of whom are capable of such loathsome and inhuman behaviour. We simply cannot legislate for lunacy. Neither should we allow lunacy to destroy freedom.

Stricter gun laws would have prevented Columbine and Denver, the cry goes up. No, I say, not necessarily, perhaps not al all. Norway has some of the tightest restrictions on gun ownership in the world, but that did not prevent Anders Breivik’s rampage last July. It has not prevented similar tragedies elsewhere in the world.

Great Britain, my own country, also has severe restrictions on the ownership and use of guns. That did not prevent the massacre of the innocents in Dunblane in Scotland or a more recent massacre in Cumbria in north-east England. In America the District of Colombia has particularly tough restrictions on the ownership of guns, but it also has the highest rate of homicides involving firearms.

The sad truth is that we cannot guard ourselves against contingency and chance. Where there is a perverted will there will always be a perverted way. We simply must not allow this to distort what we are; we must not allow this to distort and mutilate liberty.

I think tonight of the victims who, I understand, include a three-month-old baby, shot at point blank range. My boyfriend wanted to take me to see The Dark Knight. He will have to go on his own now. For me this film, justified or not, will always bring up images of darkness in Denver.

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Anastasia is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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8 comments on Darkness in Denver

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By Angie Alaniz on July 21, 2012 at 08:55 pm

I feel the exact same way: Where there is a perverted will there will always be a perverted way. AND we shouldn't let this destroy our liberty.

I also thought I was the only one who felt that way about the movie now. Because even though the movie might not have anything to do with the horrific killings, it now suggests it does (at least to me) and its left me with an ill feeling all around when it comes to Batman. Silly? Maybe, but I now have no desire to see it.

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By Theresa H Hall on July 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm

It is so difficult for us to process what was going through the minds of those held hostage by this barbarian. I agree that people who are responsible gun owners should be allowed to have them. In fact, it is our right to bear arms, that it is a civil liberty.

I agree he wanted to be famous and it is a seemingly popular thing some unfortunate, sick-minded people that they feel justified in wanting to act out their delusional fantasies.

Someone should have blown the whistle on this dude. When his own mother heard about the rampage, she knew it was her son. Why did she know, and why did she not do anything to help prevent this from happening?

I, too, am so saddened for the families, friends, those maimed and injured and the victims who fell. What was very strange was the shooting began at 12:39 AM, which was 3:39 AM for me living on the East Coast. I awoke suddenly at 3:39 AM Friday morning, and I felt so unsettled I could not go back to sleep. Uncanny!

Good piece Rapunzel!

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By ColonialBoy on July 22, 2012 at 01:26 pm

Ana - The various American mass murders at Columbine HS, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, and now Denver, all had their impact BECAUSE of arbitrary [unconstitutional] restrictions on the possession of firearms. In all of these events, the injury or death of the first 1 or 2 casualties could be attributed to America's "gun culture", but the deaths of the rest of the victims is directly due to the fact that they all took place in "gun free" zones! The authorities disarmed the victims, making it impossible for them to defend themselves.

It seems somewhat ironic that the perpetrator of this most recent atrocity appears to have been a darling of the anti-gun "Progressives". He graduated from their enclave at the University of California, was a councillor at a camp for "underprivileged" children, and as a graduate student attended another Progressive enclave (the University of Colorado) on a National Institute for Health grant.

It now appears that using those government funds, he had for MONTHS been purchasing weapons, ammo, and ingredients for explosives, and working out how to walk into a gun-free theatre and kill as many defenceless people as possible.

I can't help but wonder if he is the predictable outcome of someone being immersed in an educational culture that denies the existence of immortal souls, embraces infanticide (in the form of partial-birth abortions), geronticide (in the form of euthanasia coupled with a general disdain for the elderly), and environmentalism (that values bugs and birds more than humans). Were those unfortunate people anything more than targets to him?

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By Anastasia on July 22, 2012 at 05:14 pm

Angie, not silly at all. I simply could not sit through this movie without thinking of the carnage in Denver. I know it's not the fault of the film makers, but even so.

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By Anastasia on July 22, 2012 at 05:16 pm

Theresa, I share your bafflement about this creep's mother. The whole thing numbs me.

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By Anastasia on July 22, 2012 at 05:17 pm

CB, sadly I think not. They were less than human to him. The irony is he is less than human to me.

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By Uttam Gill on July 30, 2012 at 01:12 am

I agree with you Anastasia that we cannot generalise by imposing strict laws but I tend to disagree with you over an issue that we take this mindless massacre as an act of single lunatic. Yes he was lunatic...that’s how we need to have laws, rules, regulations to ensure that such people do not get an access to arms and ammunition...I am from the farming community Of Punjab where we all traditionally hold weapon for game and crop protection...Traditionally we are brought up in that environment and we don’t hear such mindless massacre...We hold weapon for game for self protection too...Arms and ammunition should not be in the hand of emotionally unstable man...And that’s where some accountability needs to be put in place...Liberty and freedom cannot be preserved unless the innocent citizen are not kept safe from such unsound people...America needs to ponder over this issue...Some measure to are certainly required and that should not be invasive in nature...

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By Anastasia on July 31, 2012 at 05:17 pm

Thanks, Uttam. The point here is that we should not lose focus, not blame a whole community of people for that acts of a single deviant.

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