Letter From The Editor 

Two fantasies are propelling the national dialogue in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado, mass murder. One is that if just one person had had a gun in that movie theater, he or she could have stopped the madman by stepping up in the middle of all the chaos and shooting him. Nevermind that the bad guy was wearing armor and had an assault weapon with a 100-round magazine, plus a shotgun and a handgun. All it would have taken is one courageous citizen avenger willing to stand up and overcome evil. Kind of like Batman, now that I think of it.

The other fantasy comes from those who think we can somehow drastically reduce the number of guns in America and put the genie back in the bottle. It's similar to the fantasy that we can somehow send 11 million undocumented immigrants back to their home countries. Neither of these things is going to happen. When it comes to gun control, most of our elected leaders are either in the NRA's pocket or are afraid to stand up to them. They know that once the gun lobby targets them as someone who "wants to take away our guns," they're political dead meat.

Is there a middle ground that makes sense somewhere between these two fantasies? Possibly. Think of how we approach the problem of nuclear weapons. The U.S. and the Soviet Union mutually backed away from the arms race, recognizing that more nukes made it much more possible that we would blow the earth to kingdom come. Now, we spend a lot of time and money and diplomacy trying to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of unstable countries like Iran and North Korea.

Assault rifles and ammo are the domestic equivalent of nukes and should be treated as such to help keep them from unstable madmen. We monitor the sale of Sudafed in drug stores to detect people who might want to use excess amounts to make methamphetamine. If we can do that, why can't we monitor excessive purchases of high-powered ammunition? Such a policy might have at least raised a red flag about Colorado shooter James Holmes, who reportedly purchased 6,000 rounds in the weeks leading up to his heinous deed. And if our leaders can't find the cojones to reintroduce the assault weapons ban, surely we can demand more extensive background and mental health checks and licensing procedures for those who purchase them.

Or we can just hope that Batman is around the next time a madman rises.

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments (36)

Showing 1-25 of 36

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-25 of 36

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Pence Cancels Memphis Visit

Fly On The Wall Blog

MAF Has a New Meaning: Memphis Ass Farm

News Blog

Alexander to TVA: Don't Buy Wind Power

Intermission Impossible

Hattiloo Announces Season 12: August Wilson, Lynn Nottage, Soul Train...

News Blog

Memphis Theological Seminary Stands with Refugees

News Blog

Fight Over Forrest Statue Isn't Over

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Being There: No App For That

    • Jan 12, 2017
  • This Land ...

    • Mar 2, 2017
  • Where Nobody Knows Your Name

    The hacktivist group Anonymous announced last week that they would be outing hundreds of Americans who were involved with the Ku Klux Klan. The group claimed that they'd hacked KKK servers and obtained emails and documents that would reveal that many prominent American politicians were associated with the white supremacist group ...

    • Nov 5, 2015
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation