The news this week of the shooting at a place of worship in my home state of Wisconsin that left seven people dead, including the gunman, and an officer in critical condition has me feeling disgusted and outraged. As has been widely reported in the national mainstream news this week, the mass killing at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek near Milwaukee takes place just 16 days after another man in Colorado, kitted up in tactical gear, entered a theater shooting, killing 12 and wounding 58 movie-goers.
The investigations into the separate shootings continue. Outside of the occasional small news bite update, presently there’s not a lot of information to add to Officer.com’s coverage of the events.
Coverage of the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.:
- Furious Colo. chief: suspect's lair rigged to kill
- Colorado gun sales surge in wake of massacre
- Colo. police pleaded for ambulances after theater shooting
- Source: Colo. shooting suspect not cooperating
- Aurora shooting dispatch recording analysis
- The trial of James Holmes
Coverage of the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wis.:
- Gunman identified in Sikh temple shooting
- Officers, Sikh temple president hailed as heroes
- Seven dead including suspect at Sikh temple in Wisconsin
- Chief: Officer shot at Sikh temple still critical
- Wis. gunman urged white supremacists to act
- Wis. temple shooter's motives might never be known
I have a miscellany of thoughts relative to the recent massacres and active shooter incidents that in themselves may not warrant their own posts. Alternatively, I’ve collected them here, including arrests at showings of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Ohio and Connecticut, opinions on “the maleness of mass homicide,” praise for a chief’s blog on pro-gun-anti-gun "reasoning" and my personal assorted thoughts on the American milieu in the age of active shooters.
(The commentary here is a gathering of views on this topic; I welcome and encourage readers to share their outlooks in the comments below.)
SUBSEQUENT ARRESTS CONNECTED TO BATMAN MOVIE
At least two instances of men carrying a loaded firearm to see “The Dark Knight Rises” have been reported since the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo.
Thirty-seven-year-old Scott Smith brought a bag carrying multiple weapons and extra ammo into a theater to see the Batman movie in Westlake, Ohio, on August 4. A 9mm handgun, extra magazines and multiple knives were reportedly among the items Smith brought with him in the theater. Smith was arrested prior to any other movie-goers entering the theater and is charged with several counts, including carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
It was also reported that Smith chose a seat in the middle of the back row of the theater, which authorities claimed would give one a “tactical advantage” in a firefight. (Note: Media reports assert no guns were fired and the firearm remained concealed until law enforcement questioned the individual. The “tactical advantage” comment is offered as a “for instance” suggestion, if you will. I considered omitting it from this post, but I think it serves as a gauge of the tone of the atmosphere where the arrest took place.)
Sung Hwang, a 46-year-old Connecticut attorney, was arrested in New Haven on August 7 for breach of peace. Police say he was carrying (reportedly with a permit) a loaded handgun tucked in his waistband into the theater to see the new “Dark Knight” film. According to the Associated Press report, Huwang’s lawyer says he had legal right to carry the gun.
MASS MURDERERS’ COMMONALITY: MEN
A brief piece on the maleness of mass homicide from Time.com addresses the gender disparity of mass murderers historically, more particularly, that men are the perpetrators of the intolerable violence.
Author Erika Christakis writes: “We know that the young men who go on murderous rampages are not always sociopathic monsters but, rather, sometimes more or less ‘regular’ men who suffered from crushing depression and suicidal ideation.” I encourage you to take a look at Christakis’ full article on the topic linked above.
CHIEF TO LEGISLATORS: ‘THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU’
In an excellent blog posted shortly after the early morning killings at the Colorado theater, Chief Steve Allender of the Rapid City, S.D., Police Department expresses his opinion on the pro-gun-anti-gun bickering that followed the news of the shooting. In a succinct statement, Allender addresses legislators, writing: “Do not make laws simply because your constituents are hurting or the NRA is bullying you. This is not about you.” It was sharp, bold and resolute. Bravo to Allender. I highly encourage you to check it out.
THINKING OUT LOUD
- People complain about the length of process and inconvenience of security at an airport today; what’s going to happen to commercial-type operations that cater to the public like the cinema if a moral panic should take hold? Especially considering the recent arrests of armed men at theaters in the wake of the Batman movie massacre mentioned above. Would we make ourselves to live in a hyper-militarized community because a select few of our male citizens can’t get a hold on reality and morality?
- I see lots of people on Twitter calling the man arrested in Ohio for carrying a concealed weapon into the theater a “shooter.” SIGH. This is a textbook example of how the over-assumptive nature and inattention to detail by the masses can change the perception of an incident. Put more simply: This is the game of telephone playing out in the 21st century’s social communication.
- Not much is known by public about Scott Smith's reason(s) behind bringing a cache of weapons to the movie in Ohio as of this writing. For instance, say he was protecting himself, given the Aurora shooting incident? His cache of ammo and knives is overboard, sure, but it's a possibility (and surely to be an option of defense for the defendant’s attorney). Whether or not that is his reason or if the public buys into that theory, what do authorities charged with protecting the public do if it becomes a pattern for people to arm up to see a picture show?
- The active shooter mentality, reality and regularity in America is a nightmare. What do al-Qaida and the other various militant terrorists need to threaten and attack us when we willingly, thoughtlessly take ourselves out? Put simply: Why fear attacks from international terrorists when the terrorism domestically is so pervasive?