Morgan Freeman's brilliant take on what happened yesterday :
"You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.
It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed
people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."
With each side endlessly repeating their usual bullet points and then getting bored and moving on.
And then in another week or month or year, some other sick bastard will buy himself a cache of weapons and slaughter more innocent people, and then we'll have the debate again.
And so on...
And that's understandable, if frustrating--especially for those whose family members and friends are the ones who are killed.
For better and worse, we do have a constitutional "right to bear arms" in this country, and it should take a broad consensus to amend the Constitution. And, yes, it probably does make sense for us to have at least some right to bear some arms, even if having the right to buy quasi-machine guns like the one used in the Colorado massacre seems ludicrous. And there's a vast difference between bearing some arms in, say, Wyoming, and bearing them in New York City, where the population density is a tad higher, and so forth. So, of course, this is going to be a contentious and impassioned debate.
But can we at least agree on one thing?
Can we at least agree that, since 1791, when the Second Amendment was ratified, the country's circumstances have changed?
In 1791, for example:
- There were only 3.9 million Americans
- The "arms" we gave ourselves the right to bear were vastly less powerful--namely they were single-shot muskets that had to be manually loaded with powder and ball for each shot, versus today's semi-automatic assault weapons that spray 50-60 high-caliber bullets per minute
- It was legal to own slaves in some parts of the country (Constitutionally permissible behavior that, fortunately, changed)
- "America" didn't extend west of the Mississippi River (and, really, it was only the 13 colonies)
- Indians still attacked occasionally
- We hunted a lot of our food
- "States" really were separate countries in those days--it took months to travel from one end of the country to the other
- The "frontier" (and many other parts of the country) was essentially lawless: Citizens had to protect themselves, because no one else was around to do it (Now, most states have well-armed police forces, etc.)
- And so on...
The Framers meant THESE arms when they wrote the Second Amendment? Really??
But can we all at least agree that it's a bit, if nothing else, outdated?
Or are we all totally cool with any old sick bastard being able to buy as many quasi-machine guns as he or she wants?
SEE ALSO: As Governor Of Mass, Mitt Romney Banned The Assault Weapon Used In The Colorado Massacre