Reacting to Shootings in Newtown, Connecticut

For those of you who have been following me for some time, you know that I am an avid advocate for gun control.  The events of Aurora, Colorado (about an hour south of me) changed me permanently.  I no longer feel like I can sit on the bleachers as shooting after shooting after shooting takes place in my country and my state.  I want to be an active part of the solution.  If you want to be a part of the solution, here’s a short list of what you can do today:

(1) Send condolences to the families.
(2) Contact local representatives and let them know this can never happen again.
(3) Give to charities who help families grieve through these charities
(4) Support loved ones with mental illnesses. If they know they are loved, they are less likely to reach their breaking point.

I am starting off with number two.  I spent the past hour writing a letter to my elected officials (state and national).  I suggest you do the same.  You are also welcome to share my open letter in any way you would like (just let me know).  Inaction is our biggest fault.  Here is the link:

An Open Letter to my Elected Officials Regarding the Shootings in Newtown, Connecticut

 

Strangest Week Ever

 

This past week has been different on such a level that I have a hard time understanding how I got here.  The shooting in Aurora underlined a lot…but there was so much more.  The coming realization that my closest friend is leaving the state in a month.  Worries about my mother, my grandmother, and my dog.  Trying to write something entirely new.  I think I may have strained my brain.

Today I revamped the website.  It should not be much easy to get around and find what you are looking for.  I also updated my About Me section so that you can contact me or find me elsewhere on the internet.  Let me know what you think.  I will likely have more free time in the evening.  Expect a late update of a memory, political, or flash fiction piece (I haven’t quite decided yet).

With Love,
Richard

 

Westboro Baptist Church in Aurora

 

There will be no update today.  I wanted to give you guys at least a memory update.  But I woke up and the Universe gave me other plans.  The bastards at the Westboro Baptist Church are coming out to Aurora, Colorado to protest the memorial services of the 12 people who died in the Dark Knight Rises theater shooting.  Reddit is organizing a human wall to put a barrier between the protesters and the mourners.

My friends and I are heading down there here in the next couple hours.  We will not let them bring further pain to this community.  I expect to see hundreds of people here for this event.  Please, if you live within driving distance, please join us.  The memorial service is planned for 6:30 this evening at Aurora City Hall.

Article of the Story

Reddit Campaign

 

Reaction to Dark Knight Rises Shooting in Aurora, Colorado

 

We all react to different types of news stories in different ways.  I like harrowing stories about a person who overcomes the odds and beats cancer.  I feel utterly exhausted when I hear stories about the presidential election.  But then there are stories that I don’t know how to handle.  Like today.  Less than an hour south of where I live, I man walked into the midnight release of The Dark Knight Rises and shot more than 60 people.  12 are dead.  If you haven’t seen the story, click here.

I feel like I react to shootings differently than most people.  I don’t know if that is actually the case.  I start off like most people.  There is an overwhelming confusion about how someone could do such a horrible thing.  The how is what gets me.  I know in the days ahead, everyone will be asking the why.  Why did he shoot a six year old and kill her?  Why did he pick that theatre?  Why a random attack?  The questions are endless.

But my question is: How?  I literally do not understand how someone picks up a gun and shoots 60 people at random.  How can your internal working be so fucked up that you do not understand what you are doing is wrong.  Or do you understand what you are doing is wrong—but you just want to go out with a bang?  If that is the case, why not just commit suicide?  How is killing a dozen people and striking fear into the movie-watching nation better?

My confusion transforms quite quickly.  I spent an hour this morning holding back tears as I read the reports.  I do not know anyone involved…but I feel like I could.  They are right there.  As I wonder about the dead, the injured, the mothers, father, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, and friends of each victim, I start to realize that something like this will dramatically affect the people of this state and this country.  So many people are touched.  I don’t know anyone involved and I am still deeply saddened.

Is it wrong that my thoughts quickly turn to anger?  I live in a country where our second amendment rights are closely guarded.  Although I live in this country, I do not share those beliefs.  Guns scare me.  The destruction that they cause is absolutely frightening.  My problem, however, is not that people own guns.  It’s that everything around owning a gun is easy.  People with mental disorders—such as the man responsible for the Tucson Massacre—are not restricted from owning guns.  Why would we allow someone who is proven mentally unstable to own a gun?

Then there is the extended clip.  I do not know the specifics about the gun here in Colorado.  But in Tucson, where Gabby Giffords and many other were shot, the shooter used a gun with a modified clip.  The extended clip allowed him to continue shooting without reloading for an extended about of time.  I can only imagine the same type of thing is responsible here in Colorado.  How does a man get at least 60 shots off?

I grow angry because the fixes are easy and our government does nothing.  Why can they not agree that extended clips are dangerous and make them illegal?  Why can’t they agree and put restrictions on ownership of guns for people with proven track records of mental instability?  It angers me to such a level that our Congressmen and candidates bicker as the people of this country die in disgusting ways.

Supermarkets.  Schools.  Movie theatres. We are supposed to feel safe in these places.  But the laws of the land no longer reflect the mentality of the land.  I am scared.  I literally cannot bring myself to go see the Dark Knight Rises this weekend.  I love movies, but I cannot understand this…and thus don’t feel like I know how to react to it.  I want to feel safe.  I know we cannot be protected from everything without sacrificing certain right.  But let me make something blatantly clear.  I am okay sacrificing certain liberties regarding guns and the second amendment in order to feel safe again.