The NRA gave him the gun and Hollywood gave him the reason: James Holmes and the Aurora Theater Shooting
Gun violence in the United States has made us seem, to the rest of the world, as backwards and primitive. While that may not matter to some Americans, and in fact, some may actually take pride in that point, it should matter. Everyday, 8 children die by gun violence in the United States. Every year, approximately 12,000 Americans are murdered by guns. That means every year, four times the total number of Americans KIA from the entire Iraq war are murdered by guns.
In Japan, a nation of 130 million, in 2008 fewer Japanese (total of 11) were murdered by guns that entire year than the 12 Americans who died in Aurora, Colorado last Friday morning watching the latest Batman movie (see "Aurora Theater Shooting" by Allison Sherry and Sarah Simmons of The Denver Post).
And while some people self-righteously claim this is not the time to "politicize" the Aurora theater shootings, if gun advocates are sincere in their belief that more guns will save lives, then this is exactly the time to make that point. If gun advocates really believe that an armed citizen could have stopped James Holmes, then why wouldn't they make that point right now of all times? My suspicion is the reason they are not, and instead are relying on indignation, is that they don't even believe their own "more guns makes us safer" nonsense. When, in the entire history of the United States, has an armed citizen stopped a gun massacre? As far as I know, the next time it happens it will be the first time.
The reason, I believe, not one gun rampage has ever been stopped by a armed citizen is because even if a member of the public was armed, his natural instinct would be to run away and not confront an aggressive, determined shooter, particularly one like Holmes in protective body armor. Plenty of gun owners think they are Audie Murphy when they are the range shooting at paper targets or in the field shooting at unarmed moose, but in the moment of battle, I doubt very many, if any, would react quite like they think they would. It takes more than a gun to make one a hero. It takes months of training every single day to have the necessary skill, and even more importantly, the discipline to do the job. That is why so much of military training is devoted to esprit de corp, drill, and seemingly unnecessary, but absolutely vital, ceremony and ritual.
One other point I would like to make though is not about guns, but about Hollywood. From the news reports I have seen it seems Holmes was fascinated by Batman, and in particular, the villains. It is time, not only to ban private ownership of guns, just like Japan, but to examine the trash culture Hollywood pushes. It's time we examined Hollywood's money making machine glorification of anti-social, alpha male characters (I call it "alpha male-itis") like the Joker and Tony Montana. The NRA may have provided Holmes the means, but Hollywood provided the motivation.
There is a strong culture of aggression developing in America today which is pretty psychotic. You can see it when you accidentally bump into a stranger on the street, you can see it on the highway when someone explodes in road rage, you can see it in a bar when knife-fights break out over the smallest things, you can see it on the Internet when people start attacking each other in profanity-ridden tirades, you can see it on television shows that glorify mobsters and biker gangs, you can certainly see it in our political landscape, and you can even see it in 8-year-olds who exhibit large amounts of "attitude." Something is very wrong here.
Considering the destructive and dysfunctional message Hollywood pimps for a cheap buck, maybe it's time Congress imposed a sin tax on Hollywood movies to make up for the cost to the rest of society. There is no reason a sin tax should just apply to gambling, alcohol, and tobacco when Hollywood trash is just as dangerous.