Americans must take responsibility for guns, gun violence
The Kansas City Star
Photos and video of James E. Holmes have zoomed across America and circled the globe in the last few hours.
The 24-year-old former medical student accused in the Aurora, Colo., mass killing at a movie theater last week couldn’t have made a better picture of himself for the National Rifle Association if he’d had professional costume and makeup artists working on him. Holmes’ wide-eyed, dazed look and dyed, curly, neon-orange and hard-blond hair left a lasting image as someone who was not at all similar in appearance to the average gun owner in America.
That is perfect PR for the NRA. It is critical that Holmes not look anything like NRA members or people that organization represents in its relentless lobbying for liberal gun laws.
The man accused of gunning down 12 persons and wounding more than 50 others during the opening of the Batman movie looks like someone the NRA could point to and say no way does he represent a law-abiding, gun-owning, everyday, taxpaying American.
Holmes is the odd duck, not the norm.
But gun owners in this gun-crazed country come in all races, both genders, all sexual orientations and most ages. Gun owners are tall, short, fat, thin, hairy and bald. They are rich, middle income and poor. They were well-educated and dropouts. They are mentally stable and mentally ill. They represent the full range of diversity in America.
We, the people, in America own the guns, and each of us has to own the gun problems, including the threats, the violence and the deaths that guns cause. We have to be held accountable for the ongoing public health threat that guns create. And like AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes and heart disease, the public has to mobilize to eliminate the epidemic of gun violence.
To do nothing enables the menace to continue to hurt and kill unchecked. Backing the NRA is far from the answer. Liberal gun laws clearly are not working. America has been held hostage by this NRA strategy for way too long, and we have paid dearly with the lives, injuries, hospital, counseling, grieving and burial costs of our citizens.