Aurora Shooting: Everybody Take a Deep Breath

In the aftermath of the shocking act of gun violence in Aurora, CO everyone has something to say. Facebook is still littered with cartoons, posts, eCards, and images about gun control. The same event has brought venomous commentary from both sides of the gun debate.

Some call for looser gun restrictions. Others are calling for tighter gun control laws. The second amendment always plays the hero or villain after events like this. This shooting has poured gun powder on to the smoldering coals of the gun debate. More guns, fewer guns, no guns, guns everywhere. Maybe we should take away everyone’s gun, give everyone a gun, or maybe we should just put one behind glass next to the fire extinguisher, “In case of emergency.”

It’s misguided and very dangerous to think of this event emotionally. We have had a lot of gun violence that has shocked America and the international community. Remember Fort Hood? Remember the shooting of Gabrielle Gifford in Tucson? Death, violence, a madman, a gun. After those events everyone panicked, too. I call it, “Going all 9/11.”

After 9/11, we freaked out, lashed out, and wanted an eye for an eye. In the aftermath of Aurora, we seem to be doing the same thing. We want to arm everyone, or arm no one. We’re not thinking with our heads, we’re thinking with our hearts. We are gnashing our teeth and pounding our fists for action, but we can’t seem to agree on what that action should be.

I suggest we do nothing. Nothing at all but remember those who were killed or injured and affected by this tragedy. It’s not that laws should be changed, but that they won’t be. We’re not going to abolish gun rights. The second amendment is untouchable even after school shootings, college campus sprees, and shootouts leading to the death of police officers. Even assassinations of presidents and civil rights leaders hasn’t changed our stance on the amendment guaranteeing our rights to own a gun.

We are enduring the stages of grief as a nation. We were angry, and now we’re getting ready to bargain our way to comfort and the illusion of safety. We could outlaw guns, but guns would just get in to the hands of people who wants them same as drugs do now. We could arm everyone, as I’ve always said we should, but it would just lead to more violence and a social Mexican standoff. We’d be outlaws ready to skin the smoke wagon at the drop of a ten-gallon hat.

Any event of this magnitude will ripple across political and social boundaries and get pundits and armchair legislators crying foul one way or the other. Your thoughts and prayers can be with those affected. Your heart can go out to them and their families, but your heart should stop making decisions at that point. We need to be level-headed, calm, and not give in to the desire for something to happen. Action for the sake of action will always be far more dangerous and destructive than doing nothing.

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