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New massacre stirs gun debate

July 22, 2012
The Journal

The U.S. woke up Friday to horrible news - a heavily armed man had shot up a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo. during a midnight showing of the new Batman move, "The Dark Knight Rises." Twelve people killed, dozens more wounded, and the nation once again asking itself, "How could this have happened?"

There are those who say it happened because we have way too many guns in America, that we need to limit access to weapons like the assault-style rifle the suspect was carrying.

There are still others who say that the solution is more guns - if someone else in the theater had been carrying a weapon, he or she could have stopped the shooter.

The question is not that simple, nor is the solution. The suspected shooter, James Holmes, did not appear to be the kind of anti-social loner or misfit that we have come to associate with these kinds of attacks. He is a 24-year-old honor student who until recently was working on his Ph.D. in neuroscience, someone at "the top of the top" academically.

He acquired the weapons legally. He apparently had nothing in his background that triggered any warning signs. He bought thousands of rounds of ammunition over the internet, apparently to avoid anyone asking, "What are you planning to do with all this?"

It will take time to figure out what went wrong with this individual, study his actions, and try to learn from the situation to guide any future changes in gun control regulations to prevent it from happening again. Knee-jerk reactions won't help.



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