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The Heart Of A Gun: Bad Guys, Bullets, and the Batman Movie Massacre

By Serge Bielanko |

Think about it.

It’s all over the place now, what happened in Colorado last night.

A young guy guns down at least several dozen people watching a movie in a theater and, once again, the world focuses it’s attention on our gun’d-up nation.

In the wake of yet another unspeakable unimaginable, yet very real tragedy, every voice out there in the cyber-wilderness howls their opinion up into the wild wind. It’s only natural, I guess. I mean, what else can we do? We need each other at times like these more than ever. We need to listen to other human beings, and we need them to listen to us.

Processing events like the one in the suburban Denver town of Aurora is tough, that much is certain. But in the days and weeks to come, as the more radical off-the-cuff voices fades away and people turn to the more thought-out viewpoints and debates that will no doubt be everywhere we turn, there is one thing that I hope comes up again and again.

And that’s guns.

Because we’ve got ‘em here in America.

And more and more, we’re using them to get our little warped points across.

I’m a dad.

I’ve got a three-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. They’re great kids and anyone who knows me or reads me or even passes me in the mall probably recognizes that they are my everything.

I’m also a husband. I’m madly in love with my wife and even though we have our moments and struggles like a lot of other couples, I’d head out into the garage and jig-saw out a kidney or some bone marrow, or even my heart, if it ever came down to her needing one of those things in this lifetime.

I’m an American. I’ve put in 40 years now of upstanding citizenry, never causing any fuss for the local cops, never latching on to government teat for stuff I didn’t really need, never bitching about paying my fair share of taxes come that time of year. I’ve delivered newspapers and auto parts and cleaned the divut dirt off of rich people’s golf clubs and laid tile and painted walls and mowed long yards and played my guitar and written stories down through the years just so I could make an honest dollar and keep my nose a half-inch above the rising waters of everyday living.

What I’m trying to say is that I just am like so many of you, my neighbors and friends and strangers who I’ll never even meet, who might be reading this.

And I am so @$^&!*% confused today about this whole gun thing.

I should also tell you that I am a gun owner too. I have a couple of shotguns of my own that I use to hunt wild turkeys because I like to do that in the spring of the year when the leaves are just starting to bud on the trees and the mountain sides that rise up all around my home are a place where I can go to to walk amongst new wild flowers and baby deer and listen close for the distant sound of a tom turkey gobbling across some hollow. I rarely shoot my gun, I’m sort of ashamed to admit. My skills as a woodsman seem to be sort of lacking, I guess.

But, I’d turn them over tomorrow, man. My guns, I mean. Watching this thing unfold today, hearing yet another tale of children being rushed to emergency rooms and seeing people on the news describing the carnage they just had to witness, it’s all too much for me anymore. I could hunt a turkey with a bow and arrow if I really wanted to. But, you’d be hard-pressed to get far with one if it’s all you had in your possession when you headed out into the night for a human killing spree.

I don’t trust a lot of these voices who keep harping on the 2nd Amendment anymore. I don’t trust the people who tell us that guns don’t kill people, that people kill people. That seems like a cop-out to me, a cutesy slogan you can march out any old time that blows the head off of a child or their mom or dad. They are ancient voices, these ‘patriots’ are. They’re just echoes from a by-gone era. I try and see clearly what they mean when they say we have to have our guns, but there is never any brighter future in their words that I can make out.

Who are they fighting for?

Exactly what are they fighting for?

Don’t tell me that it’s our God-given right to arm ourselves to the teeth in case some kind of Red Dawn thing goes down, because frankly, that’s just bullshit dipped in bullshit.

We are a nation whose military is mightier and more adept at protecting our own shores than any other country in this world or in the next one. And if the day ever comes when somebody figures out a way to blow past all that, I got news for you: a foe that tricky won’t be kneeling down in surrender as a bunch of unorganized local yokels march down Main Street with their semi-automatic rapid fire people destroyers.

Those days are over, ya’ll.

It won’t be a bunch of red-coats coming down the midnight pike on horses next time. Mankind has seen to that. It’ll be a cloud of something nastier and meaner than anything you could ever dream. It will be a long slivering snake in the sky  and it would be a cold day in hell when you or me could hope to pop a bullet hole in it.

You know it and I know it.

And if you deny that truth, then you are a damn liar.

So, why do we need all these guns that we say we need? Or don’t we really need them at all? Could it be that we just like having them for our own selfish reasons, so that we can get together with a couple of buddies and shoot up some paper targets or some water balloons and stand in our own acrid smoke with our hearts beating fast?

I don’t get it anymore. I don’t see people in Nebraska or Washington or Florida on the news, standing over the body of a terrorist who they shot red-handed as he prepared to fly a plane into a building. It just doesn’t happen. All of these millions and millions of guns: take a good hard look at them, man. Certain people swear that they make us safer, that they protect us from the forces of evil, but I’m not seeing it like that anymore.

Hell, truth is, they aren’t stopping much bad from happening at all.

But they sure are destroying the lives of a lot of people.

They sure are creating a landscape littered with the ghosts of decent American people who just wanted to go to school or watch a movie, who just wanted to live.

 

Image: deskofbrian

 

You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.

And on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep up with Babble.com on Facebook.

More from Serge:

The Ways Of Love: 20 Things My Kids Have Taught Me About Living

Requiem For A Dinner Table: What Ever Happened To Those Family Meals?

Come On Up For The Rising: Heading Home After the Fire

25 Things About My Son, Henry

 

 

 

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About Serge Bielanko

sergebielanko

Serge Bielanko

Serge Bielanko writes about fatherhood for Babble Dad and about marriage stuff for Babble Voices at He Said/She Said. His writing has appeared in Esquire and The Huffington Post, as well as on his personal blog, Thunder Pie. He lives with his wife and two kids in central Pennsylvania. Read bio and latest posts → Read Serge's latest posts →

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54 thoughts on “The Heart Of A Gun: Bad Guys, Bullets, and the Batman Movie Massacre

  1. Nicole says:

    More important than focusing on gun control,
    Is to really focus on healthcare and treating all the people with these kinds of mental illness, support and treatment for people like this guy,
    Before it comes down to them using a gun, a bomb, a knife, they’re hands or whatever means they choose to murder innocent people.
    It’s not about guns really, it’s about the mental
    State.

  2. Cynthia Rodriguez says:

    Completely agree. Guns are made for one thing…to kill. Be it a turkey, a deer or whatever, I don’t think gun manufacturers are thinking, ‘We’ll make this one just for decoration!” And the “for protection” argument wouldn’t be necessary if guns weren’t around. However, I don’t think we’d ever be able to get all the guns we have on the streets destroyed. So what’s the answer?

  3. Betsy says:

    Wonderful post! I’ve for the most part avoided the news today because quite honestly it’s too heartbreaking to hear about yet another mass shooting. I’ve felt that way since I had the heart stopping experience of having a family member attending VA Tech at the time of the shootings there. But I’m really glad I read this.

  4. anon says:

    I’m a woman, early-thirties, educated and with a doctorate, and I’m an Independent. I live in a Southern state, where hunting rifle and shotgun ownership is the norm, and I keep a handgun in my home for personal safety. (Not for stopping militia invasions as you describe, but for the practical reasons I think most people own gun–if an intruder comes into my home at night, I have a fighting chance that I would not have without a weapon.) Although I personally dislike the idea of powerful assault rifles and the like being available to the masses, I can’t say I’m in favor of more extensive gun control because the stats have never seemed to indicate that such a thing was necessary.

    Just as a snapshot, the number of people killed by guns in the United States in 2004 (first year I came upon in a quick search) was 29,569. Of that 16,750 were suicides (meaning 56% of all U.S. gun deaths) and only 11,624 were homicides (40%). 649 were unintentional shootings (311 from legal intervention and 235 from undetermined intent) (4%).

    So 11,624 yearly homicides in a country of 300 million people?

    To me, a percentage rate like that doesn’t indicate a public crisis at all but instead an anomaly–a rarity that (mainly through the media’s grotesque intervenion) attracts a disproportionate share of the public’s fear and attention the infrequent times it does occur.

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Anon, did you just roll out some hot stats?

      Wow.

      Personally, I would have thought it more, shall we say… graceful (?), to maybe give the dead like a full 24 hours after the buckshot ripped through their foreheads and their windpipes and their ribs and their hearts before rolling out the hot gun-death stats, but what do I know?

      As for playing the percentages and weighing numbers of innocent people killed versus how many are not, I’d simply say this: you are one cold cup of coffee.

      Thanks for playing, though.

  5. hey says:

    I absolutely agree with anon that this is an anomaly. Compare the number of deaths from intentional gunshots to deaths related to drunk driving (maybe we should take away alcohol??). There is NO comparison! It’s just that when things like this happen, while absolutely horrific, it is out of the norm and therefore sensationalized by the media. There are always going to be crazies out there who want to do something like this, and it doesn’t take a gun to kill dozens of people. This guy was nuts, and I’ll bet if he didn’t have guns he would have found another way to make his “statement” – maybe by making some explosive devices – and killed even more.

    I’m a Democrat and a woman in my early forties with a college education. I have quite a few guns, from shotguns to pistols, and live in the north. As a woman, I think it’s important to own a gun if you’re comfortable with it – I live in the middle of nowhere, and when my husband is gone I sure like knowing I have my guns around. And if it came down to protecting my daughter and myself? I wouldn’t hesitate to use them.

  6. Amanda says:

    I don’t have too much of an opinion on this, being as I am not trained to use a gun. My husband has 3 guns in our house. He has an AR-15 assult rifle, and two handguns. The Ar is his baby. It stays put up high, unloaded, and locked. Well all of them do. I would prefer if he didn’t have the Ar but I do feel better having a handgun in my house. But when my husband and I were talking about this today and talking about people talking about banning guns, he said this and it seemed a valid point to me. He said if guns are banned, the would still be available illegally. With enough money, you can get anything. So then the crazy people that are able to get ahold of a gun will have one, but we will be unarmed.

  7. morgan says:

    I would love to know the statistics on how many people out of 300 million, stop intruders with the guns they keep for protection. I would venture to guess it’s even less than the amount of homicides and unintentional deaths from guns.

  8. LK says:

    Wow, Anon, your comment is so f-ed up on so many levels, I’m just speechless. Can’t believe you posted that, especially on a blog post about this extremely recent and horriffic tragedy. Unbelievable. Also, I for one don’t view over 11,000 gun homicides a year as insignificant in the least, particularly when you look at other countries with more restrictive gun laws. Your argument about the overblown fear of guns can easily be turned on your overblown fear of an intruder coming into your home with the intent to harm you – which is your stated reason for having a gun. You can tell yourself that you are safer in your home because you have a gun, but there are actually numerous scenarios in which having that gun could make you and others in your home far less safe. I certainly hope you are well trained in using and storing your gun, and that if an intruder comes into your home, everything lines up just right so that your gun actually protects you instead of causing what would otherwise have been a non-fatal situation to turn fatal.
    Serge, thanks for your heartfelt and insightful post – you are right on.

  9. Kim says:

    Yeah, about those stats: in what world is nearly 30,000 gun deaths a number we want to live with? If guns were unavailable, it would simply be a hell of a lot more difficult to kill anyone (including yourself). A trigger pull requires a lot less commitment than a beating or a stabbing or the like – incidentally – you can’t beat or stab someone to death ON ACCIDENT like you can with a gun. This nutjob would have wreaked a lot less havoc in that movie theater if he had to resort to less lethal means to mete out his deranged plan.
    The “protection from an intruder” thing is a red herring too. I believe you are lot less likely to suffer from an accidental shooting than actually ward off an intruder. Check the stats….

  10. Tessa Arneson says:

    Thanks for the emotion. Yes it’s gross and being back in your good ol Utah, the gun debate is back. It’s creepy you can walk into a store or trade show and walk out with a gun. (unless you are a felon…) yikes, I’m sure felons already own guns.
    The solution? While I don’t own a gun or plan on owning a gun and typically subscribe to fun control, would it have stopped this crazy mo fo? He’s a nut ball, so he may have figured it out regardless. I mean really the movies? How terrifing that would have been.
    Thoughts are with them and hopefully will at least make people think, since I don’t know the answer.
    -t

  11. duke says:

    Anon, you are right on. Blows my mind how so many are brain washed by media and social trends. Looking at every opportunity to throw freedom to the wind.
    I have lived in a country where guns are illegal. The only ones with guns are those who are dangerous and not law abiding citizens. Talk about going back in time. We took turns with our neighbors on night watch for safety arming ourselves with pathetic bats and kitchen utensils.

  12. anon says:

    LK, of the 90,000 rapes that occurred last year in this country (almost 9 times more frequently than homicide by gun, though you’ll never see anybody making much of a circus about that like these gun control issues), roughly 2/3 occurred via intruders in the victim’s home. So, yes, I feel I have a better chance of preventing that with an alarm system and proper firearm training.

    Your post was about gun control, Serge. I responded to your call for gun control with stats (facts and such, rather than hysteria). If you felt it was disrespectful to discuss the political aspects of this tragedy so quickly after it occurred, then maybe you shouldn’t have written a post about the political aspects of this tragedy so quickly after it occurred.

  13. ctrenta says:

    “Dear Internet people: Maybe choose another day to make pro-gun statements. Sincerely, good taste,” – Andy Borowitz, The Borowitz Report

    Great suggestion, Andy.

  14. Billy bob says:

    Hello pot, meet kettle! You’re really gonna blast this woman for speaking her mind, & responding to a post about gun control? Let’s not forget, that while you are ridiculing her for her post about deaths so soon after a horrific tragedy, that you felt the need to post the same thing, just with a different view. There in lies the problem, people, we are too quick to jump to conclusions about people based on certain views that we take. Anon was simply giving stats to back up why she felt the way she does, and you want to tell her how f’ed up she is, good going guys. The real issue here is the idiot that shot them, not Anon. Aren’t drugs illegal? Isn’t drinking and driving illegal? How are those two issues working out? You guys want to just bad mouth a person for taking a different stance than you. So let me get this straight, you want to ban guns because a few idiots go on rampages? Do you really think that they would not have found a way? This moron was supposedly the smartest of the smartest individuals, I’m pretty sure he would’ve found a way. Bad people are going to get their dirty little fingers on illegal stuff regardless of what you guys may think. More deaths are caused by drunk driving and illegal drugs than guns and that’s a fact. So you guys can sit in your ivory tower, oblivious to the world around you, and curse the law abiding gun toters

  15. H. says:

    I absolutely agree with anon about this. For instance, compare the number of deaths from intentional gunshots to deaths related to drunk driving (maybe we should take away alcohol??). There is NO comparison! And do we hear much about the MANY, many tragic deaths caused by drunk drivers, which is a much larger problem than deaths caused by guns? NO! Or, accidents/deaths cause by people driving and using their phones/texting? NO! It’s just that when things like this happen, while absolutely horrific, it is out of the norm and therefore sensationalized by the media. There are always going to be crazies out there who want to do something like this, and it doesn’t take a gun to kill dozens of people. This guy was nuts, and I’ll bet if he didn’t have guns he would have found another way to make his “statement” – maybe by making some explosive devices – and killed even more.

    And please understand that I am in no way minimizing this horrible tragedy. I am responding to Serge’s emotional post, which, while I understand his point, I don’t agree with. If you want to take away something from the masses that will save lives, take away alcohol! And cell phones!

    I’m a Democrat and a woman in my early forties with a college education. I have quite a few guns, from shotguns to pistols, and live in the north. As a woman, I think it’s important to own a gun if you’re comfortable with it (I am well trained and practiced) – I live in the middle of nowhere, and when my husband is gone I sure like knowing that I have my guns around. And if it came down to protecting my daughter and myself? I wouldn’t hesitate to use them.

  16. H. says:

    I absolutely agree with anon about this. For instance, compare the number of deaths from intentional gunshots to deaths related to drunk driving (maybe we should take away alcohol??). There is NO comparison! And do we hear much about the MANY, many tragic deaths caused by drunk drivers, which is a much larger problem than deaths caused by guns? NO! Or, accidents/deaths cause by people driving and using their phones/texting? NO! It’s just that when things like the Colorado tragedy happen, while absolutely horrific, it is out of the norm and therefore sensationalized by the media. There are always going to be crazies out there who want to do something like this, and it doesn’t take a gun to kill dozens of people. This guy is nuts, and I’ll bet if he didn’t have guns he would have found another way to make his “statement” and get the attention he’s never gotten – maybe by making some explosive devices – and killed even more.

    And please understand that I am in no way minimizing this horrible tragedy. I truly can’t even imagine what horror the people involved are going through and my heart is broken for them. I am responding to Serge’s emotional post, which, while I understand his point, I don’t agree with. We have and use a lot of things for selfish reasons. If you want to take away something from the masses that will save a lot of carnage and lives, take away alcohol! And cell phones…

    I’m a Democrat and a woman in my early forties with a college education. I have a few guns, from shotguns to pistols, and live in the northern Midwest. As a woman, I think it’s important to own a gun if you’re comfortable with it (I am well trained and practiced, including shooting turkeys!) – I live in the middle of nowhere, and when my husband is gone I sure like knowing that I have my guns around. And if it came down to protecting my daughter and myself? I wouldn’t hesitate to use one.

  17. The Mommy Psychologist says:

    Evil doesn’t make sense. It never will. It just is. The only thing within our control is how we respond to it. As a child psychologist, I talk about trying to make meaning out of suffering here:
    http://www.themommypsychologist.com/2012/07/21/why-i-chose-not-to-talk-about-the-colorado-shootings-yesterday/

  18. Natasha says:

    I love this. I too dislike how people say, “guns don’t kill people, people do.” With the exception of hunting rifles, guns were made to kill people, with that purpose they were constructed. It’s a bunch of bullshit to deny it.

  19. H. says:

    Keep trying to post, but it’s not showing up?

  20. H. says:

    Why are posts not showing up??

  21. Audrey Pizerman says:

    I can’t imagine how hard it must be for those who have been wounded through this situation. America has been wounded today. I find myself recollecting my values and how I need to focus on living one day at a time.
    Love is the solution: http://www.happysandbox.com/inspire_view/333/8/love-is

  22. Tanja says:

    Dear Anon, I´m a woman in my late thirties, hold an MSc and a wellpaid job, since those details matter to you. I live in Europe, specifically Germany, which has a strict gun control law in place since 1931. Gun possession is anything but the norm in the EU, and why would you want to? The paperwork is a terrible hassle, and then the authorities may come to your home any time to check if your gun is locked up safely and take your license if not. If someone else commits a crime with your gun while it´s not locked up in your safe, chances are you´re going to jail, too.
    I keep pepper spray in my purse for personal protection because I travel a lot by myself, but never ever used it. I´m aware I carry it rather for my own sense of insecurity than real danger. I wonder how many times have you actually shot your gun at those midnight intruders who constantly attempt to rob and rape you?
    Here are some numbers from 2006 that I can´t help to come up with really quick:
    Weapons owned by civilians: USA 243-281 million; Germany 20-30 million.
    People killed by firearms: USA 10.310; Germany 155.
    Gun Killings per 100.000 citizens: USA 3,45; Germany 0,19.
    Killings per 100.000 firearms: USA 3,76-4,2; Germany 0,5-0,8.
    It´s the last figure that I find most significant.
    If what works in Europe seems too far fetched and abstract for you, you might look at the data from Canada. I´m sure that once you have your facts straight your concept of personal safety needs some reconsidering.

    That being said, Serge, it´s also a fact, and a sad one, that while gun control generally makes societies less violent and safer, it has nonetheless failed to prevent a number of horrible shooting sprees in Germany, Norway and Finland in recent years (Erfurt, Winnenden, Kauhajoki, Utoya), executed by singular mentally disordered individuals. The truth is, no one has a concept of how to prevent unremarkable, seemingly normal young men from turning into mass murderers seemingly all of a sudden. Obviously, we can´t have psychiatrists screen entire populations for underlying violent potential.

    I feel deeply sorry for the victims and their families but avoid the media coverage. I am sickened by politicians and activists and other stakeholders entering the stage and exploiting the killings for their cause, again, when none of them has any true answers, ideas, concepts to offer.

  23. Kerri Linda says:

    Wow Serge. The way you spoke to Anon is out of line. You can write an article that for all intents and purposes you will be making money off of the next day but she can’t voice her opinions in opposition of yours with facts? That’s ridiculous.

    I’m a liberal. Very liberal in most aspects. But I am for gun ownership (and control). Colorado not only didn’t have gun permits, from what I read (and I could be misunderstanding things), it is illegal for any jurisdiction to require them. Maybe that’s the problem. I’m for gun ownership not because I think I’ll have to shoot a terrorist or because I’ll have to fight against another country but because of personal safety against criminals AND the government. If cops can have guns, citizens should too. I don’t know too much about it and I don’t mean to speak out of turn but it is my understanding in England citizens don’t own guns and cops don’t carry them? Then MAYBE I can understand banning it for citizens but no way am I going to allow a bunch corrupt cops (not all, maybe not many but some) with superiority complexes to come near me or my children in the middle of the night thinking they have the right address for a drug bust and start shooting at my husband who may only be holding a baseball bat. I’m just not okay with that. And I’m not a “damn liar.” I believe what I’m saying. I’m Mexican, my husband is Jewish. The holocaust was within the last century. I don’t like that idea that one day I could be come after for my race, religion, etc.. Your writings against homophobes should show you just how many people still have backwards ass thoughts that could make something like that possible. Some of those people already within our government. It’s the same reason I vote Democrat but am registered an independent, I don’t want the government on some witch hunt against democrats coming after me the way they did communists back in the day.

    I’m rambling here but there are reasons to own a gun beyond turkey hunting and there is nothing wrong with having a discussion and using facts. Maybe psych evaluations, waiting periods, annual evaluations, etc. for gun ownership should be put in place in all states. I don’t have the answer but we should all be able to voice our opinion, just as you have here.

  24. Steph Meighen says:

    I gotta say as an Australian, where we have gun-control, this thing twists my brain. And my heart. I have just been reading a few articles from pretty mainstream sources and comments such as from Cold Cup of Coffee above are popping up. I can barely express how horrifying this kind of justification is – one innocent person being killed by a gunshot is one person too many. Clearly. What kind of person needs that explained to them? Is the argument that X amount of innocent people (including children) will be murdered by gunshot each year so others may enjoy the peaceful feeling of having a gun underneath their pillow at night?! What a way to think. What a way to live. As an outsider looking in, it seems this kind of calm, callous -and seemingly widespread- justification has a more damaging influence than perhaps these abhorrent acts of violence against the innocent. It’s these “rational” and “sane” masses (and whatever other f-ed up politics) that allow guns to be so freely available. And until they are not, this is going to happen again and again. And so on.

  25. Little Willy Wig Wam Bam says:

    Serge, if you don’t want dissenting opinions to your op ed, don’t write them. I will never understand the cognitive dissonance of bloggers who put out their opinions online and then have a melt down when someone doesn’t agree with them. There was no disrespect from Anon, she didn’t agree. Settle down, child.

    Also? Calling for a ban on guns to stop the bloodlust in this country if like putting a band aid on a gaping wound. Ineffectual.

    https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/524087_498280200197412_1293353299_n.jpg

  26. gina says:

    Drastic measures may include obtaining a carry and conceal license if it means taking out a crazed killer and saving the lives of your family and other innocent people. Remember: the scheming criminal minds of terrorists will ALWAYS be able to find their weapons. Making it more difficult for them to get weapons legally can never ensure anyone’s protection. Guns are here to stay until our government issues a law and sends out forces to collect them from law abiding citizens. When that happens, the only people who will have the bullets are the bad guys. Yes, because they are criminals. Oh, man. I just wish ONE good guy with a good aim had a gun the other night. Anyway…The way things are going, we the innocent law abiding citizens may NOT always be able to protect ourselves.

  27. Tanja says:

    Anon, I´m a woman in my late thirties, hold a MSc and a wellpaid job, since such out-of-context info matters to you. I live in the EU, in Germany, which has a gun control law in place since 1931. Civilian gun possession is anything but the norm, and why would you? The paperwork is a terrible hassle, the authorities may come to your house any time to check if your gun is locked away in the safe you have to provide for it, and they´ll take your license if it´s not. If someone uses your gun to commit a crime with it while you failed to store it away, chances are you´re going to jail, too.
    I carry pepper spray in my purse for personal safety because I travel a lot by myself, but I never ever used it. I´m aware the reason I´m carrying it is a diffuse sense of insecurity rather than real danger. I wonder how many times have you actually shot your gun at all those night time intruders who constantly attempt to rob and rape you?
    Here are some figures I´m sorry I can´t help to bring up here real quick, also from the 2004 Small Arms Survey.
    Millions of firearms owned by civilians: US 243 – 281; Germany 20 – 30.
    Homicides involving firearms: US 10.310; Germany 155.
    Homicides involving firearms per 100.000 citizens: US 3,45; Germany 0,19.
    Homicides involving firearms per 100.000 weapons: US 3,76 – 4,2; Germany: 0,5 – 0,8.
    Pull any other European country you like and compare. If what works in Europe seems too far-fetched and abstract for you, look into the data from Canada to correct your perception of where gun abuse is rare and an anomaly and where it´s not, and how that concept of personal safety of yours, shared by too many, adds to the stats.

    That being said, Serge, it´s also a fact, and a sad one, that while gun control makes societies less violent and safer in general, it has nonetheless failed to prevent a number of horrible killing sprees in recent years in Germany and Scandinavia (Erfurt, Winnenden, Kauhajoki, Oslo/Utoya), executed by singular, deeply disturbed individuals. There seems to be no concept to prevent unremarkable, seemingly normal young men from turning into mass murderers seemingly out of the blue. It´s a phenomenon that has evaded gun control laws too many times. Obviously, we can´t have psychiatrists screen entire populations for psychopathy and underlying violent tendencies. We´re all left in shock and awe every time, helpless and clueless.

    I feel deeply sorry for the victims of the Aurora massacre and their families, but try to avoid the media coverage. I find it sickening how politicians and lobbyists and stakeholders now flood the stages to exploit the killings for whatever their causes are, when no one has an idea of what really needs to be done.

  28. Molly says:

    This post isn’t in response to the gun control policy discussion that inevitably follows every massacre in the United States. It’s to the hypocrisy in this post: you wrote a blog entry about the debate over gun control, and then were upset when someone took up your discussion in the comments? It’s tasteless to make a comment so soon after this tragedy, but not to publish about it?

    And why do “hot stats” (whatever that means, it sounds kinky to me) make a person cold-hearted? The commenter just as easily could have argued a case FOR gun control with numbers rather than an emotional statement about your child and a casual reading of the second amendment. She or he seems to be simply responding to the content of your post. As a professor and the wife of a political science professor, I am always saddened to see logical arguments dismissed in favor of emotion; in this case, it’s even worse that it’s done through shame (i.e. “you’re a cold person”).

  29. Maria says:

    “to maybe give the dead like a full 24 hours after the buckshot ripped through their foreheads and their windpipes and their ribs and their hearts”

    That is VERY inappropriate, Serge, no matter how far from 24 hours we ever get from this tragedy. Shame on you for such crass descriptions of needless deaths.

  30. Vi says:

    Thank you Anon! You hit the nail right on the head.

  31. laura says:

    Serge, I am a woman in my early 40′s who favors gun control and thinks that most guns need to be out of the hands of people. However, your response to Anon is way out of line, Babble encourages a range of opinions and as a blogger surely you must know that not everyone agrees with you. Anon didn’t post anything insulting to your views just contrary to them. Your response is insulting and totally uncalled for. Furthermore, your line ““…after the buckshot ripped through their foreheads and their windpipes and their ribs and their hearts…” isn’t as dramatic or poetic as you were hoping. It is exploitative and indulgent.

  32. KB says:

    “If you felt it was disrespectful to discuss the political aspects of this tragedy so quickly after it occurred, then maybe you shouldn’t have written a post about the political aspects of this tragedy so quickly after it occurred.”

    And there it is. Seriously Serge, that was a very immature way to react to your ONE comment on this string. I like you and I like your writing, but the “buckshot through their heads AND their ribs AND their hearts” bit was over the top and pointless.

    I’d also like to point out that men often feel inherantly more “safe” than women. I doubt many men ponder what they would do if a man forced themselves into their home and into their bedrooms in the same fearful way that women do–often, knowing we wouldn’t have a chance without a weapon of some kind.

    I think you were unduly harsh to again, your -one- comment on your blog in which you earn income. If I kicked the shins out of everyone who differed with me during a work meeting, I’d be in the unemployment line. Get some respect.

  33. Susan says:

    I live in Canada, I don’t have the sweetest clue how I would go about buying a gun. I don’t think I can here . Might be something to that huh?

  34. Punchy P says:

    So is another one of those articles where you only get to express your opinion if it’s the same as the author’s then?

    Anon brought up some good statistics and some interesting points. For the record, I am Canadian and DO NOT get American’s and their guns at all – but her comment was not disrespectful or showing any more lack of grace than Serge using the tragedy as his in to write his own opinions on gun control, he’s piggybacking on the event here too. Just because his position is guns = bad doesn’t mean that it’s not in poor taste to use such a horrific event to push your own personal views.

  35. H. says:

    Weird that my continued tries at posting won’t show up…

  36. Kayla says:

    @Anon – Applause… that is all.

    Also, Serge, you started this conversation, don’t shame someone when they jump in with an opinion… just b/c you don’t agree with it.

    I used to like your writing, it comes from a very passionate place… it’s also good but when you attack commenters like this – no thanks.

  37. Sarah says:

    Thank you Serge! Thank you so much. Anon get a taser! Jesus what is wrong with people? 11,000 deaths is insignificant!?! Would you be saying that number was insignificant if the average number of deaths from guns could be around a 100 every year out of our population. It will take time but we can be better. Shouldnt we want to be better and not say well this is just the way it is so we are stuck with it. I may have rose colored glasses on but I would give up my right to own a gun in a heart beat to know that maybe even my great grandchildren or great great grandchildren wouldnt have to grow up worrying about something like this. If we as a society gave up our guns it would be easier to spot the criminals that didnt.

    1. sergebielanko says:

      Hey thanks for all the comments, you guys.

      Two things:

      1) I am very sorry that these comments didn’t show up until today. I have no idea why, but they were in the SPAM file…all of them together. I will check there more periodically and notify Babble of the situation. I never ever censor anything or trash it unless it’s purely mean-spirited drivel (of which I reserve that right.)

      2) A lot of you referenced the first commenter, ‘ANON’, and thought that my response to her was pretty lame. And you know what,after reading it again….you’re right. It was lame of me to respond the way I did and I need to apologize to her here. Because, even though we may have different political views or whatever, she was only stating her case without any hint of anything other than her opinion. And of course she has every right in the world to do that and I thank her for taking the time to do it here, with me. So ANON, I apologize for being an ass.

      Okay, thanks everyone.

      Serge

  38. Mark says:

    The problem with people who can’t think for themselves is that they fill in the gaps of a logical thought process and knowledge of facts with their own guesses and assumptions.

    ANON responded to Serge’s own political comments with facts. As she said, Serge is the one who took the political approach to the tragedy. Anon responded. Don’t get angry at her because her facts don’t jibe with your personal world view.

    Secondly, to Sarah: You suggest to get a taser. Did you know there were over 500 taser-related deaths in the USA in 2010? Are they insignificant? Joking aside, you go on to suggest that stricter gun laws are the answer. Why? Did laws against homicide prevent this guy from killing people? Make all the laws you want; people who have a motivation to break them will do so.

    Mark Twain has a quote that fits this situation. ““The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. But he won’t sit upon a cold stove lid, either.” In other words, animals that lack the capacity of reason will draw faulty conclusions from their experiences. Don’t pull the wrong lesson from this experience. The stove lid wasn’t the enemy; the conditions surround it were.

  39. Ricky Ricardo says:

    Serge, I think it would have been more graceful for you to hold off on leveraging this tragedy in your misguided call for gun control, but you chose to do the opposite. How can you criticize someone for responding to a conversation that you initiated?

    Your claim that guns “aren’t stopping much bad from happening at all” is uninformed. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, from the Bureau of Justice Statistics: 550 rapes, 1,100 murders, and 5,200 violent crimes are prevented every day just by showing a gun. In less than 0.9% of these instances is the gun ever actually fired. Gun control only serves to disarm the law abiding; someone intent on rape or murder certainly isn’t worried about an illegal weapons charge.

    What happened last week was the action of a madman. You cannot explain, understand, or legislate the actions of a madman. Thankfully such events are rare, though certainly not rare enough.

  40. kas says:

    I’m with Anon. I want to be able to defend myself against lunatics like Holmes. Check out the crime in Chicago where they ban carrying guns. Only the criminals have them at that point and everyone else is a target for the criminals (and like I said check out the murders that happen there on a weekly basis…it will blow your mind.) You are not going to convince realistic thinking people to give up their guns. Ever. We’re the type of people you want on your side in times of trouble because we are prepared. We’re not violent, we are clear thinking and practical.

    Also, anon is correct. You are a hypocrite. You make the event political then chastise her for doing the same. You simply do not want to hear an opposing point of view. If you don’t want dissenting points of view, make note at the top so we’re aware that you’d like to take away our free speech as well as our guns.

  41. Shannon says:

    Gorgeous writing, Serge; I wholeheartedly agree with you.

  42. mobelle says:

    Well said Anon – I completely agree with you. And for heaven’s sake, Serge – Anon was quite respectful in her comment to you. So she disagreed with you. No bigs. Isn’t she allowed to post a view that differs from yours without you calling her an iced coffee? (Hmm….coffee as a slur now. New one. Who knew?) Thought having a level headed dialogue was acceptable on here. Guess not. Sheesh.

  43. Anna says:

    Serge, it’s very sad that you took this tragic event and turned it into a political debate. If you didn’t want comments like anon’s (which was a well thought out, fact based comment) you probably shouldn’t have written a post about such a divisive topic. Yes, the events in Aurora were horrific and we should not turn what should be a time of grieving into a gun control debate (which YOU did, not anon), but you chose to discuss them and you should expect people respond to what you have written. And your graphic response to anon’s “hot stats” was WAY more offensive and disrespectful than the comment. No one needed that.

  44. SJ says:

    Ah — it appears that you can only get posted if you agree with the author. I’m surprised anon made it through.

  45. Mrs Bob says:

    I’m in favour of gun control, but I find Serge’s response to Anon insulting, puerile and embarrassing.

    Serge, why don’t you debate her on the facts if you disagree with her perspective? Is everyone who doesn’t share your opinion a troll? Or are you simply unable to effectively offer a balanced argument without resorting to name calling? It was classless of you to not give “the dead like a full 24 hours after the buckshot ripped through their foreheads and their windpipes and their ribs and their hearts before rolling out the” over-hyped, emotionally manipulative, unfounded political grandstanding in the name of blog hits, so watch your tone and start shoring up your position with hot stats and logical conclusions.

  46. Jill says:

    Anon is right. Serge made this political. Serge’s response to Anon’s thoughtful comment was mean-spirited and ridiculous.

  47. se says:

    i am trying to ignore your political preference, but it’s hard, man… your mind is set for a specific direction (clearly – from most of your writings), so you may as well label this as a partisan perspective, rather than an innocent “blog” (yes, yes, i know you have never claimed this to be an “innocent blog”, in spite of this being on “blogs.babble.com/dadding”!!! please just read on, for now… i am a friend).
    you seem to make a statement in an attempt to prove how “regular” you are… and you may be, but for a specific segment that prefers cnn to foxnews. here is what i am talking about (and again, in previous writings, other examples could easily be found): “I’ve delivered newspapers and auto parts and cleaned the divut dirt off of rich people’s golf clubs and laid tile and painted walls and mowed long yards and played my guitar and written stories down through the years just so I could make an honest dollar”. yet “cleaned the divut dirt off of rich people’s golf clubs” just stands out and reeks of contempt. the point is that all of those “jobs” were ways for you to earn the “honest dollar”. if there were no (poor or rich) people needing tiled areas and painted walls and mowed lawns, if there were no consumers (poor or rich) for your music and writing, your “honest dollar” would simply not be… REGARDLESS of who would be paying it…

    but, to the main topic of your writing… the issue is complex… you cannot, well, you can, but you should not present your collection of personal feelings as a somewhat logical/objective analysis. if you want to do that, then try to counter your own beliefs first. try to read a comment like anon’s without any “disappointment”. for heaven’s sake, you can be much better than a reluctant partisan…

    tragedies like this one are horrible and they translate into sensless loss of life, regardless of the reason or twisted mind behind it: wars, dictatorships, movie-theater shootings, terrorist attacks. but the guns are just means to an end. in the gunless word you advocate, somebody like the aurora shooter could’ve easily resorted to a chemical attack (as it was already theorized that he may have already had both the access and the knowledge needed for that). what’s next: control of all chemical substances (and, for the sake of avoiding an absurd controversy, no, i don’t mean drugs)?
    i am not saying that gun control may not be beneficial. maybe you are right, and maybe the good coming out of not having (easy) access to guns would counter the home invasions and attacks thwarted by the potential perpetrator’s fear that the owner may have a gun. or maybe not.
    ultimately, you have enough resources to study the situation in various countries that have applied this theory for a long time (unfortunately, i doubt that you have done that PRIOR to reaching your convictions). but, through your partisanship, you are underestimating the human mind, especially, the twisted kind. i mean, it would’ve been great if we would’ve had “plane control” prior to nine eleven.

    in any case, you may wonder why i bothered with this reply. you may say that i don’t have to read your words or that i don’t have to like what you write. and you would be right. however, if that would be all that you would have to say, if my words have not struck a chord in the sense of a constructive criticism, then you would miss something. because i like how you write. and i think you are much better than the limitations and constraints you set for yourself.

  48. Tudor says:

    Dear liberal colleagues,
    Roll over from your left side for a second… Anon is making a couple of very good points. Can you at least acknowledge that?

  49. Cassandra says:

    I grew up on a trap and skeet range. My parents owned and operated the gun club, and we lived in a little white house on the property out in the desert. Guns were everywhere, all the time 24/7 during my entire childhood. I’m 42 now and I sold most of the guns I inherited from those days. Yes I have one in case an intruder enters my home.

    My thoughts on this tragedy: the guns in that theater were brought in by a madman who spent $15,000 “fortifying his arsenal online”. Who needs military assault rifles and 6,000 rounds of ammo with head-to-toe ballistic gear? A crazy person. Why were there no red flags? Of course we need stricter gun laws. I want to sit in a movie theater with my family without being scared to death when someone goes out the exit door.

    Great post Serge. You weren’t being an ass by the way. Not at all.

  50. anon says:

    I accept your apology, Serge, but my problem with your post was not that you were abrasive toward me personally (or being ‘an ass’, as you describe it; that didn’t bother me), but rather that your politcal stance on the issue seems willfully uninformed and your intention seems to be to appeal to macabre hysteria, for what I assume are commercial reasons.

    1. sergebielanko says:

      “anon”…?

  51. anon says:

    When shown the statistics actually demonstrating the truth of gun homicide in the US–which is roughly 11,000 out of 300,000,000, which I believe is .003 percent or a miniscule three hundreths of a percentage point–the only response I got was that you launched into a disturbing, graphic imagining of the actual moment of death of these poor people.

    You can’t possibly look at those numbers and legitimately think there is anything approaching a gun crisis in this country.

    So, I can only assume the reason behind these multiple posts on the subject is the same I noted in my original comment–you and others in the media benefit financially from keeping grotesque attention focused on this killer.

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