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Colorado Massacre: The Aftermath, and a New Gun Debate, With Sunday Updates | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Colorado Massacre: The Aftermath, and a New Gun Debate, With Sunday Updates

I started live-blogging the shootings in Colorado, and the aftemath, Friday at 8 amit’s all here—and will continue updating this weekend. My books here.

GO HERE FOR THE RETURN OF MY CAMPAIGNUSA BLOG ON MONDAY

SUNDAY

9:25 Obama spokesman makes it official, says he will not push for new gun control measures. Read it and (literally) weep: “Carney said that includes a reauthorization of the Clinton-era assault-weapon ban that lapsed during the George W. Bush administration. ‘As you know, there’s been opposition to that since it expired within Congress.… The president is focused on doing the things that we can do that protect Second Amendment rights which he thinks is important but also make it harder for individuals who should not under existing law have weapons to obtain them’ ”… Even Bill Kristol says Dems being “foolish” to not push for new “sensible” gun measures.

5:00 NRA CALLS FOR EXTREME ACTION Pro-gun group calls for total ban… on movies. So claims humorist Andy Borowitz in new post at his new home at The New Yorker. “Tracy Klugian, an official spokesperson for the gun-lobbying organization, said that the N.R.A. had taken this extraordinary step because it ‘could not stand idly by and watch movies tear apart the fabric of our civil society.‘ ̵

4:45 VICTIMS TO BLAME Former right-wing Arizona legislator blames those shot in Colorado for the tragedy—because they were not armed and “brave” enough to stop the madman before he killed (like those ariline passengers on 9/11). He’s backed off but his words stand.

1:00 JAMES HOLMES VIDEO The Guardian posts brief vid of the alleged shooter making presentation at summer camp about six years ago. Background here. He’s referring to a project on “an illusion that allows you to change the past.” Retroactively.

12:50 RED ALERT: GUN ASSAULTS PER STATE While gun advocates love to point to DC as place with tougher gun laws and highest rate of gun crime, this story and map show that almost all of the other top gun assault state per capital are “red” and have lax gun laws. South Carolina and Tennesee the very worst. So theory that guns deter crime might be a bit shaky.

9:50 COP SHOOTS SON As an extreme example of a daily occurence in US: Man in upstate New York thinks his hotel room being invaded, shoots and kills intruder. Shooter is local cop. “Intruder” is son, age 37. But hey, let’s arm everyone and let them pack heat in movie theaters, college classrooms, football games. No trigger-happy people out there… Great response (I linked to it yesterday) to claim that Aurora massacre could have been halted if only the theater was not a gun-free zone, or “Half a Dozen Blasting Away in the Dark.”

9:30 NO PLACE LIKE HOLMES’s Police probing the alleged killer’s home, tape up windows to keep out gaze of onlookers, find “Soldiers of Misfortune” poster on wall (left, before window taped up) with paint-ballers in masks and firing position… More from Denver Post here. But mystery remains: Why did Holmes wire apartment for more killing but then tell potential victims (the cops) about it? Of course, he is nuts. But possibly slight change of heart once in custody? …Obama in Aurora today.

 

—SATURDAY

7:35 EVENING UPDATES The great Garry Wills with must-read NY Book Review on the Second Amendent defense of guns (one of the books reviewed is by NRA chief Wayne LaPierre)… Just out: Obama to visit victims and families on Sunday… New piece about James Holmes as camp counselor—along with a couple of photos of him from those day.

5:20 WHAT WAS HE BUILDING IN THERE? NYT advances the Holmes profie a bit in new story, includes this graf: “Some nights, neighbors heard loud music throbbing in his third-floor apartment, and often complained about it, or noticed a strange, purple light in the windows. Sometimes, the windows were masked by newspaper, as if he wanted no one to see inside.” First time I’ve his neighborhood described as “gang-ridden.” He ate burritos alone. Here’s one of the great “songs” of our time, Tom Waits’s “What’s He Building in There?”

2:30 A TICKET TO FIRE Great response to claim that Aurora massacre could have been halted if only the theater was not a gun-free zone, or Half a Dozen Blasting Away in the Dark… Meanwhile, Holmes’s apartment cleared, evidence now being removed… Nate Silver tweets: “Here’s a non-empty gesture: How about donating this weekend’s box office proceeds to community mental health clinics?”

1:00 AFTERNOON UPDATES Noted comic/banjo player Steve Martin tweets: “I am sure the NRA is holding an emergency meeting to try and figure out just exactly what to do about assault rifles”… I linked to Roger Ebert’s op-ed yesterday, now he has a blog post on gun violence, “Body Count”… Waiting for the many faith-based gun nuts now sounding off to claim that Jesus should have been packing heat, never would have gone up on cross… @AmandaMarcotte: “Making gun love a religion of phallic worship was a genius move; criticizing religion is so taboo in American society.”

11:30 FULL-FORCE GAIL Collins weighs in at NYT: “People from most other parts of the industrialized world find the American proliferation of guns shocking, but, really, they have no idea. Even most Americans don’t know that Congress has, in recent years, refused to consider laws that would ban the sale of assault weapons capable of firing 100 bullets without reloading, and declined to allow the attorney general to restrict people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing weapons.”

11:15 MORE UPDATES If you missed yesterday’s angry Adam Gopnik piece at The New Yorker. Not so long ago he was wonderfully chronicling his family’s daily life in Paris… How many murders by firearms in Great Britain? Answer: 58. That’s just another day in USA… If that Adult Friend Finder page is really for James Holmes, there is one small detail in his profile that probably explains everything.

10:35 MOYERS WEIGHS IN Piece by Bill and Michael Winship on poisoning by NRA. “We are fooling ourselves. Fooling ourselves that the law could allow even an inflamed lunatic to easily acquire murderous weapons and not expect murderous consequences. Fooling ourselves that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of a ‘well-regulated militia’ be construed as a God-given right to purchase and own just about any weapon of destruction you like, a license for murder and mayhem. A great fraud has entered our history.”

10:10 SCREEN VIOLENCE STILL APPEALING Moviegoers line up for Dark Night… @TomCain: “Gun deaths in US since 1 Jan 2000 very nearly = number US deaths in World War 2. Forget al-Qaeda. America’s real war is against itself”… Did you know? Obama and the UN behind the Aurora massacre. So says Alex Jones. Watch for Drudge link any minute.

9:00 RETROACTIVELY Obama backs return of full ban on assault weaponry—as candidate in 2008… More on the evolution of Obama and Romney views… Reuters piece on how shooting unlikely to spark gun crackdown. Happiness still warm gun.

8:45 THE STOCKPILE AND THE QUIET AMERICAN How the alleged shooter assembled it, including easily obtaining 6,000 rounds (count ‘em) of ammo. Legally… For those who claim little link between guns and homicides… New from Denver Post on James Holmes, a new “quiet American” (with apologies to Graham Greene)… Still no release of his jailhouse photo.

8:10 NEW DEBATE OVER GUNS Wide coverage of this in the media, and NYT today has at top of its site this report on lax gun controls in Colorado (even after Columbine), but many warn that Obama and the Democrats will say and do nothing between now and Election Day—yet more proof of the fundamental undemocratic effects of the Electoral College and how a few voters in “swing states” dictate the national agenda.

From late Friday

A DAY LATE? Piers Morgan shouts at pro–gun rights guest who said today is not the time to talk about gun control: You’re right, he says, Yesterday was the day. Angry. Now “today is the day to act.”…. Earlier on CNN, in a debate over gun control with Rev. Jesse Jackson, Newt Gingrich said with a straight face that assault rifles were illegal throughout the U.S.

AMMO ON DEMAND Police chief in another press conference just now lowers casualties to seventy from seventy-one. Says suspect purchased startling 6,000 rounds of ammunition “over the Internet.” (Hey, this is America.) Still not moving on booby-trapped apartment… Suspect left medical school “voluntarily.” Nothlng else new. Loner. Chief says sheriff asked if he wanted to release new photo. He declined… Expired federal assault weapons ban would have covered purchase by gunman.

THE PHANTOM NYT says James Holmes a rarity for young person today—kind of a “phantom” with no Internet “footprint” found so far… Roger Ebert op-ed: “We’ve seen this movie before.” Comments: “That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands.”

MOVIE (TRAILER) PULLED CNN and others report film studio Warner Bros. pulls trailer for upcoming Ryan Gosling film Gangster Squad running before Dark Knight and other films. It shows shoot-out in crowded movie theater. Amazingly, when I went to find it at YouTube, all of the versions—a couple of dozen—were now blocked by YouTube (studio obviously asked). Studio not saying if scene will remain in film… Theaters banning people wearing “costumes” to Dark Knight… Studio has ordered ultra-violent scenes cut from Dark Knight trailer…I predict attendance will go down only a little this weekend. James Holmes already added to the gross—bought a ticket, then propped open exit door.

NOT A JOKE CNN claims it has confirmed that James Holmes indeed had dyed his hair red and called himself “The Joker.” As we pointed out earlier, The Joker’s hair is actually green. But the guy was crazy, so there you go.

SHOCKER: BREITBART SITE WRONG Like ABC, Breitbartians now seem to admit, somewhat, that their “finding” that the shooter was a “registered Democrat” seems to be wrong. No apology, though, which ABC at least did after linking guy to Tea Party. Poynter slaps both outlets here

POLLING ON GUN CONTROL Here’s a roundup in one place of numerous recent polls. What they usually show may surprise you: (1) By narrow margin, Americans want stronger gun control laws and/or stronger enforcement. It’s narrow but usually real. You’d never know this from most media coverage. (2) They favor by wide margin total assault rifle ban except for police. (3) Democrats are very strongly for more gun control, GOPers, of course, not. All of this makes Dem timidity on issue all the more disgraceful. One more thing: I am always surprised by polls that find at least four in ten people say someone in their own house owns a gun. Think about that.

Greg Mitchell is author of more than a dozen books on key issues, political campaigns, the media and history.

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