The Aurora Shooting: Sometimes There’s Nothing Wrong with Politicizing a Tragedy

  • Share
  • Read Later
Karl Gehring / The Denver Post via AP

Aurora Police respond to the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday morning, July 20, 2012. A 24-year-old man was arrested in a car park nearby in possession of a rifle and handgun and reportedly told police that explosives were at his home.

The telegenic schoolmarms we call pundits are all denouncing the politicization of the tragedy in Aurora, calling out the crass opportunists who would dare to use human suffering to advance their preferred public policy choices. I feel terrible about what happened in that movie theater, and I’m agnostic about gun control, but there is nothing wrong with politicizing tragedy.

The talking heads don’t like it, because they think of politics as a silly game about who sang out of tune and whose words can be used against them and whose surrogate undercut whose message, but politics is about life and death and human suffering. At least that’s what it should be about.

If advocates or experts or even politicians think their policy ideas can prevent the next Aurora—by preventing potential killers from obtaining guns, by making sure potential victims can carry guns, or by some other method—then by all means, now is the time to spread the word. Pretty soon, the pundits will be back to “you people” and “you didn’t build this” and whatever new verbal gaffe overwhelms the competition to lead the free world.

It’s telling that the people who get paid to analyze politics recoil at the notion that its practitioners should connect it to real-life pain. They think they’re covering a sport, an entertainment. But politics matters, because policies matter. “Obamacare” and “gay marriage” are not just issues that might play badly with swing voters or turn the tide in Virginia; they’re issues that affect people’s lives. Gun control and the Second Amendment are issues, too, and now seems like a pretty good time to talk about them.

135 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
superlogi
superlogi

Politicization of  tragedy always leads to over-reaction and that is why it should never be done, because it assumes there are remedies.  We live in a world with ~6.5 billion people in a country with ~312 million.  Anti-social events will inevitably happen and no amount of control will stop it from happening.  On the other hand, perfect control would make this world not worth living in.  Anyone who's ever visited either the gulags or the killing fields can testify to that.

paulejb
paulejb

superlogi,

Ben said it best a long time ago.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

ahandout
ahandout

The liberals here must have been inspired by the walking brain dead.  So movies don't inspire crimes, right?

 http://brainz.org/15-films-ins...

Are you going to fry Quentin Tarentino?  No?  Didn't think so.

Newerspeak
Newerspeak

A dozen people are dead, and five times as many wounded. 

But we know exactly where Michael Grunwald stands on gun control.  So that's something.

Hussain Saqib
Hussain Saqib

Colorado shooting is an

incident having all the components of an act of terror but mercifully, the

shooter is not a Muslim and, therefore, not a terrorist. According to reports,

when Holmes’ apartment was searched, it was found to be booby-trapped with

explosives, forcing authorities to evacuate five buildings along the street as

a precaution. It was a clear case of terrorism but the authorities are trying

to soften the impact and describing the incident as “an act of extreme

violence”. If this is not an act of terrorism, then what is? Read more at: http://passivevoices.wordpress...

Papermill
Papermill

How about if you lie about it like abc did?

eaglestalon
eaglestalon

Hey Mike you liberal POS, would you be saying the same thing if it were a Republican politicizing this disaster?.The blood hadn't dried on the corpses before your kind were all over the TV linking the killer to the Tea Party just as they did in the Gillibrand shooting. And just like then you were wrong. You sickos just cannot help yourself

It's alwaya about politics all the time with your kind, isn't it? Rahm Emanuell said it all about your Party when he opined, "Never let a crises go to waste" You fools haven't even got the good sense to let the  bodies get cold before you shoot off your sanctimonious mouths much less allow the families to grieve.

Liberalism really is a mental disorder.

Kenneth Glenn Koons
Kenneth Glenn Koons

Gee Grunnie: it was OK for ABC to smear the TEAS and that 52 yr. old gent, huh? All right to smear Talk Radio and the NRA just hours after the killer killed? Fine when Bloomie calls for an end to the 2nd Amendment , huh?? OK if the killer was a white guy?? What if he had been Muslim, like Ft. Hood where the MSM did nada in blasting him or black or female or Hispanic? All the protected species the Left loves>>>>???? Sir, you are a dunce.

KansasGirl
KansasGirl

Hey Grunwald, I have the perfect tragedy.

It's called homosexuals spreading AIDS.

SideTraKd
SideTraKd

It's never okay to exploit a tragedy for political gain, and it never will be.  Quit trying to justify it.

hellothere30
hellothere30

People were killed by a psychopath .  Please stick to the truth .  

Laura Peterson
Laura Peterson

If anything this will likely spur calls for gun restrictions, more background checks, addendums to the various terrorist laws, and/or changes in entrance requirments for gatherings of over 50 people in a room, such as a movie theater.

This last one will be the most difficult, since theaters make little money as it is and pay their staff even worse. Sneaking snacks in under your coat will be a thing of the past once the metal detectors are put in place at the door.

Politicizing it isn't enough for what's needed here.

ahandout
ahandout

 Let's just lock everyone in their own home.  That will prevent everything.  Or, is that not far enough? 

What a coincidence.  Violent movie.  Violence.  Hmm.  Nah, no connection.

ahandout
ahandout

The left is so blindly hypocritical.  You blamed Sarah Palin for the AZ shooting because she had a website that used targets to mark critical political races.  Never mind that the shooter never saw the website, and wasn't motivated by politics.

Liberals insisted that non PC symbols like targets on a website spurn violence.  Yet their synapses refuse to connect the same dots when it is plain to see that popular culture and various media has a terrible influence on society.  Even the copycats are motivated by the possibility to get 15 minutes of fame. 

This guy wanted to be the Joker, a character from the Batman series.  Case closed.

gysgt213
gysgt213

So the movie shot all those people. Got it.

MrObvious
MrObvious

What a coincidence. Violent movie. Violence. Hmm. Nah, no connection.

Terry Clifton
Terry Clifton

 "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow

the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who

have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own

downfall by so doing."

- Adolf Hitler

sixtymile
sixtymile

This will serve merely as a reflection of what people already believe -- yet another conspiracy to promote gun laws or clear proof that all who oppose them are idiots, neither is true. Those who believe their safety and welfare is solely in their hands and the world is out get them will still want more guns, and those who believe they can always depend on others for their security will still want no guns, neither is true. Michael believes that people with disparate and incompatible world-views can have a rational discussion about this, which is also not true.

fhmadvocat
fhmadvocat

With all due respect, while politicizing this issue, Michael, may make sense to you.  This incident does not help those for or those against stronger gun laws.

Stronger gun laws would not have worked.  This guy had no criminal record, and to my knowledge, no history of mental illness.  Sure you could ban assault weapons, but he could have done the same damage with a shoot gun or a semi-automatic.

Nor would having people carrying guns into the theatre worked, either.  It was dark and he used a smoke screen.  How many more people would have been shot if others would have tried to shoot the gunman in all of that confusion.

novaculus
novaculus

Simple human decency requires we show some respect for the grieving.

At the very least,  those determined to exploit tragedy to advance their crass political agendas should wait until the dead are buried before doing so.

Not that they will.

packsoldier
packsoldier

Let the Dems politicize it first.  If gun control becomes an issue Romney will win. 

jmac
jmac

Let Romney explain why he's with the Republicans in fighting for the right of those on the FBI's terrorist list to still be able to purchase guns.

Let's do it.  

Mikal Cg
Mikal Cg

Author of this article = Pile of dog excrement. You're using dead people for personal gain, a-hole.

MrObvious
MrObvious

What personal gain would that be? That he owns stock in anti gun regulation or something?

Rob Miller
Rob Miller

This is a foolish argument. Just like the Gabby Giffords shooting the people politicizing this as a call for eroding our Second  Amendment Rights fail to realize that had law abiding citizens in the crowd been armed, the Aurora killer would be in hell where he belongs and a lot of innocent people's lives would have been saved.

It really is that simple. Stopping law abiding citizens from bearing arms just gives people like the Aurora killer a free hand.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

Liberals want to ban ALL guns?

Did you injure yourself making THAT leap? 

At least a groin injury, anyway...

superlogi
superlogi

Many do.  Or haven't you been reading the posts on this website?  The fact is, your glorious leader would, if he could, take every firearm from every citizen in the country, law abiding or not.  But, my problem with him isn't just that he would abolish the 2nd Amendment.  My problem is he would abolish the Bill of Rights, if he could.  

MrObvious
MrObvious

Superlogi, no, Obama wouldn't.

Lets just deal with the facts at hand instead of the hyperbolic fantasies.

MrObvious
MrObvious

superlogi

What's been done?

Anything. That was long on rant but short on any facts what so ever that support it. Face it; people are still allowed without inpunity to legally own weapons.

Fast and furious? It has nothing on the hundreds of thousands of legally sold weapons flowing over the border.

And I don't have to pick any of your idiotic hyperbolic and hysterical points.

Fast and Furious was not a program to supply criminals with weapons. Again, since the assault weapon ban was removed criminals have had no problem getting their hands on legal weapons. The 2000 weapons from Fast and Furious is like a drop in the sea. To make so much have about the drop is to completely ignore the real problem.

superlogi
superlogi

Really?  "If the legislature won't act, I will".  The fellow has been ruling by executive regulation and fiat since he came to office.  You know it and I know it.  With regard to the 2nd Amendment in particular, what was the reason for setting up "fast and furious" without a system to track where the weapons went?  Was it simply to provide weapons to criminals to kill people, or was it to demonstrated that "guns" kill people.  Pick one.

harkin
harkin

He will still make sure though that Mexican drug gangs are packing untraceable weapons.

redfish
redfish

The point is that we should have a rational conversation about these issues, and exploiting tragedies can help enable demagogues who want to appeal to emotions over rational argument.

The sad thing is, as you're suggesting, we really aren't having a rational conversation about the issues. Political news has become, like sports, about the drama of it all -- who is winning or losing the debate, who looks good and who doesn't look good -- and not really about substance anymore.

Calling for people to politicize tragedies feeds into the problem, though. Politicians like using tragedies because its a way for them to make themselves look good and their opponents bad. "How could you be against saving lives?" "How can you be against outsourcing jobs?" "What about the children? How can you be against the children?" Touchdown! Score!

Jaym Esch
Jaym Esch

Only conservatives call "gun control"- the common sense, wise, and intellectual solution to this problem- "politicizing" it. 

Part of the problem is their ignorance at what is MEANT by "gun control"- which is *not* the wholesale sweeping up of all weapons from citizens.

It's about limiting the types of weapons- NO ONE needs an AR-15. NO ONE needs 16 guns. People can hunt with 1, MAYBE 2 hunting rifles. You can have a shotgun and a 9mm- ALL you need for self defense.

The key to gun control is making the process nigh impossible. To own a gun, you must jump through perpetual hoops. It should take a year. You should be subjected to months of psychological analysis. Your personal status, life activities, associations and political affiliations should be examined- with a fine tooth comb up front, followed by bi-yearly mandatory checks. 

If we make it near impossible to have guns, random people will stop getting killed. My house had two bullets randomly shot into it a few years back. First day of hunting season, drunk hunters, randomly drove through the neighborhood firing at houses.

A woman at our local summer festival was shot and killed from one shot OUTSIDE of the event. Random. No cares who gets killed.

If we DON'T enact gun control, it will be unsafe to go anywhere in our society at any time. Carrying a gun yourself won't save you. Would it have helped that woman? What if I had a gun at home? By the time we reacted, the car/truck was LONG gone.

We HAVE to get the guns out of the hands of those with unstable minds.

"If I was carrying concealed, I'd have stopped it!" False dream. Reality: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

"The 2nd Amendment says"... And they couldn't have EVER imagined an AR-15, and would NEVER have said citizens should be armed more than the local police force.

"We have to be able to rise up against the tyrannical government!" Yeah, if we EVER get a tyrannical government (and we've never come close- nope, not even under Bush Jr.) you can (ha!) "rise-up" with your shotgun, 9mm and hunting rifle. They use bullets too. You'll do just fine (until the military drops a MOAB on your area and takes the oxygen out of a 6 block radius).

"Criminals buy from the back of vehicles!" Yep. But with all the insane and unstable people able to buy 2-3 guns easier than a sandwich in some areas, the police doesn't have the resources to deal with this. If we remove the brunt of the problem, suddenly the police can start tracking illegal weapons shipments, breaking up these enterprises. You'd make it near impossible. Make the penalty for owning an illegal gun life in prison, and you now remove the majority of the issue.

This can be solved, it can be fixed.... but we HAVE to change the laws and protect our society. Then again, just less than half our nation doesn't want to pay a little in taxes to lower their health costs overall if that means helping pay for other countrymen's healthcare, so what can you expect these types to think about gun control?

They're going to think they're the movie action star- able to whip their gun out and stop the bad guy... instead of getting killed first or harming/killing others, as study after study shows.

superlogi
superlogi

Who made you god?  The law of the land says I can own and have guns at my disposal, although that law is, currently, being assaulted by people like you.  With regard to the AR-15.  It's a semi-automatic weapon which have been used for hunting and shooting since before WWI.  With regard to how many guns I can own, again, who made you god.  But the bottom line is, as long as bad people can obtain guns, good people should be allowed to protect themselves against bad people.  That is their right, and has nothing to do with your opinion.

PS  You know people were killing each other with deadly  weapons long before gun powder was invented.

ahandout
ahandout

 OH, you so nail it here.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

You know people were killing each other with deadly weapons long before gun powder was invented.

But they weren't going off and killing/injuring dozens on a fairly regular basis before the introduction of legal assault weapons into civilian society.

Nice strawman there... maybe you need an M-2 in your arsenal to feel really safe from those "bad" people.

Are you protecting yourself from "bad people"... or do you need all of those as protection against that government that you are just sure is trying to take them from you?

Here's a hint... it isn't. But you are the type I think of when I refer to guns as a religion to some. To most, they are a tool... an implement. Not to you.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

What you have in your "arsenal" is an impressive amount of paranoia and tinfoil-itis. But thanks for giving us a ringside view into the psyche of a real, honest-to-goodness, gun nut.  There a considerable side-order of militia mentality in that last rant, too.

Seen any black helicopters lately? To quote line I heard once, your viewpoint is so twisted you have to screw your cap on to go outside.

But thanks for proving the case for common sense firearm restrictions.

The ARE people who have NO business with a firearm... no matter how much they think they NEED one.

superlogi
superlogi

No, you silly twit.  In the past, they were killing millions sanctioned by their government and doing it with impunity because those millions couldn't defend themselves.  What I have  in my arsenal is experience, historical perspective and self-awareness.  You ought to try it sometime. Oh,and I also have a loaded Sig P22o .45 ACP in my side dresser, in case those other things in my arsenal can't protect me or mine before the local police find the dead bodies.  The fact is "protect and serve" is only an empty phrase.  Now, go discuss this with someone who has your level of expertise.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

AR-15? Hunting? Before WWI?  Really, logi?

That was the civilian version of the weapon that was developed by Stoner Industries to replace the M-14, during Vietnam. The military version is called the M-16.

Can I have some of that stuff you're smoking?

Jeez... what an idiot.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

Logi, do you actually read ANYTHING anyone posts before you  fly off?

Or do you just scan for the big words?

NOTHING in your reply actually addresses what I said.  The M-16 is the replacement for the M-14 as the main infantry weapon.  The M-14 was too freakin' heavy to carry.

What a jerk...

superlogi
superlogi

Both returns and Ivy need to learn to read and comprehend.  I said, "With regard to the AR-15.  It's a semi-automatic weapon which have been used for hunting and shooting since before WWI.  Both the 1911 Colt 45 ACP and my trusty Model Remington Model 11 (Browning auto- 5) shotgun were used for shooting and hunting at the beginning of the 20th Century.  I still have my model 11 (semi-automatic) and it shoots as well as the day it was manufactured.  It's design was created circa 1900 and sold in 1903.  I also have a 1911 semi-auto pistol designed in 1911 which is one of the most popular handguns in existence, even today.  

PS  Since I fought in the war where the AR-15/M-16 was introduced, I'm quite certain I know much more about the weapon than either of you.

superlogi
superlogi

Semi-auto's have been around longer than your grandfather has been alive.  I have one.  It's called a Remington 11.  My first gun in the military was a garand auto 30-06.  The 1911 45 ACP auto was used in WWI as was the German Luger.  Machine guns were also used in WWI.  The point is, you are dumb as a rug and understand nothing about the subject.  If you want to get into a pi$$ing contest on either guns or ballistics, I'm your man.  But the fact is, you're nothing but an argumentative little twit whose only knowledge comes from a search engine.  Many of us, unlike you, have first hand experience.

PS  The M-14 and M-16 are entirely different weapons, not just in caliber, but in utilization and purpose.  It's obvious you're not familiar with either. You know what really pi$$es me off.? It's some twit who's never been there and done that who suggests he has.

superlogi
superlogi

Yeah really dumba$$.  The A5 Browning/Reminton 11 was patented in 1900 and used for Pheasant hunting.  The 1911 which is one of the most popular semi-autos today was used widely in the military in 1911.  The Garand auto (30-06) was the first rifle I shot in 1968, after joining the service and was the primary weapon in WWII.  You are not only ignorant, you are stupid and a liar.  Don't get cute with someone who knows what he's talking about.  You'll only get sh!t on your shoes.  The point is and has always been semi-automatic fire weapons have been around much longer than you have been alive, as well as your dad and your granddaddy.

superlogi
superlogi

Yeah really dumbass.  The A5 Browning/Reminton 11 was patented in 1900 and used for Pheasant hunting.  The 1911 which is one of the most popular semi-autos today was used widely in the military in 1911.  The Garand auto (30-06) was the first rifle I shot in 1968, after joining the service and was the primary weapon in WWII.  You are not only ignorant, you are stupid and a liar.  Don't get cute with someone who knows what he's talking about.  You'll only get sh!t on your shoes.  The point is and has always been semi-automatic fire weapons have been around much longer than you have been alive, your dad and your granddaddy.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Wow!! That venison would be torn to bits.

Before WWI?? This was the most advanced automatic gun that was invented toward the end of WWI. Not exactly something that was used to go after Bambi.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

SpideyTerry
SpideyTerry

Yes, there is something wrong with politicizing a tragedy... especially after less than a day after the fact! Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that.

What matters is that a number of people are wounded and a number of people are dead. Show your condolences, but leave your politics at the door.