A Country in Mourning…

21 Jul

Today our nation awakes in confusion and sadness as we mourn the loss of 12 of our brothers and sisters in Colorado, with dozens more injured and in pain. Our hearts are  heavy with grief and we all wear a veil of bewilderment.  At moments like this, I wonder when we — as a nation — will finally have a candid conversation around gun control, masculinity, sexism, and racism.

This latest shooting by a white man also stirred up anger, frustration, and disappointment in the unbalanced conversation about violence in our country. Media blowhards and misguided authorities regularly vilify Muslims and disproportionately police African-American men when we seem to ignore the pattern of white male terrorists. I think about Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and Scott Roeder of Operation Rescue, just to name a few. I also look at the case building against George ZImmerman and have to say that I’m much more fearful of young white heterosexual men than any other population.

Our obsession with guns is more than just a little disturbing, as many hide behind the false cloak of the 2nd Amendment. The number of online references to the potential to save life by walking armed in the wake of Aurora truly baffles and saddnes me. I have to wonder how many lives we could save if we made a real effort to manage what kinds of weapons really belong in the hands of the average citizen. We control drugs, alcohol, medicine, and access to health care but not devices of destruction that can, in minutes, change hundreds of lives?

My heart goes out to all of the families impacted by the tragedy in Aurora and I can only hope we evolve as a nation and work together to stop this pattern.


15 Responses to “A Country in Mourning…”

  1. Tom McCollin July 21, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    I, like you, Michael, am confused at this “we need more guns to protect ourselves against all the people with guns” mentality. More guns do not solve this issue of the staggering rate at which gun ownership is rising in this country.

  2. Christine Noble July 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I am a big supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I want our government, the corporations and everyone else who might think to do so, to think twice about turning THEIR guns on us. That said, the American public has a very unhealthy relationship with firearms. We live in perpetual paranoia of both the state and each other. This is not an accident, it is carefully cultivated by corporations using their media branches.

  3. Tom McCollin July 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Second Amendment Rights…does not mean your right to own an AK47 assault rifle to mow down as many people as you can in the shortest amount of time….because you’re bored.

  4. prideinmadness July 21, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    I read that one of the victims in the Colorado shooting was also present at the Eaton Centre shooting Toronto a few months back. That’s so strange.

    I heard Gingrich speak to this issue yesterday and thought we was an idiot about it. Wolf Blitzer asked a questions about guns and Gingrich latched onto the second amendment. Jesse Jackson was also there and he said that Washington wrote that never having seen an automatic weapon! BAM! That should have ended that debate right there!

    Canada has gotten rid of it’s gun registry which kept a record of everyone who owned a gun in Canada. Brilliant idea but our conservative government ditched it because some people believe it was a privacy infringement…..The police have asked that sellers of guns keep good records just in case they’re needed.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 22, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      Gingrich is an idiot and an embarrassment for the United States. Yes, how bizarre is that about the woman who just barely avoided the shooting in Toronto and then tragically ends up being killed at the shooting in Colorado?

  5. Jay July 23, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    I’m certainly a supporter of more stringent firearms regulations–and the “well-regulated militia” clause of the Second Amendment gives that viewpoint significant Constitutional standing.

    I would observe that violent crime (especially of the non-domestic variety) is highly correlated with age and gender. Young men–say 16-25–represent by far the greatest statistical threat, and it is appropriate to take that into account when assessing a potentially dangerous situation.

    However, I believe it is problematic to view any particular race or ethnicity as especially dangerous. Stereotyping whites as a particular threat is, in my opinion, just as morally and ethically (and factually) troubling as those who would negatively stereotype any other racial or ethnic group.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 23, 2012 at 11:29 am #


      I think you will agree that I usually like to provide a counter narrative. In regards to acts of “terrorism” in the United States and my referring to a certain age bracket of white heterosexual males, I would be curious to see if you have facts that help to disprove my observations? My objective was to point out the horrific disproportionality in how the United States racially profiles and polices men of color.

      • Jay July 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

        I understand that you like to provide a counter narrative.

        It just seems to me that the most effective counter narrative is not one that stoops to the tactics of your opposition. If stereotyping men of color is wrong–and I believe it is–then it strikes me as equally wrong to counter that narrative by stereotyping white men.

        Yes, most domestic violent terrorists have been white men. Does that mean that fear-mongering about white male terrorists is appropriate? Relying on anecdotal evidence to characterize a huge population is ALWAYS a shaky practice. And besides, there are always contrary anecdotes–what, precisely, do John Allen Muhammad and Nidal Malik Hasan ‘prove’ about, respectively, African American men and Palestinian-American men?

        I’m just trying to make you better, Michael. You can provide a counter narrative and play a cleaner, fairer, and more statistically savvy game than your opponents.

  6. Jeannie Ramsey July 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

    Very well written post about the Aurora tragedy. I have brothers and nephews who seem to be obsessed by guns and own way more than they would need to protect themselves. I just don’t understand that mentality–is it fear driven?

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 24, 2012 at 6:51 am #

      Thank you for your comment here. Yes, I think it is very fear based and driven. Now we have to figure out how do we allow people to grow and evolve without subscribing to a culture of fear.
      Warm regards,

  7. James Queale July 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    I tend to stay away from debating guns, especially when the debating is done with Americans, but I know that you, Michael, and your blog are a safe place. I debated with people last year after the Gabby Giffords shooting and all I got was a headache.

    Americans and guns are like Americans and their religion, you can give every logical explanation and still they shake their heads and ignore the obvious. That is because guns are a religion here, in my mind.

    America has a culture of fear and paranoia and what is sold to “cure” all that? GUNS! Because, more guns cure other people having guns. Be afraid, be very afraid. BOO!

    I can honestly say that growing up in Fredericton, NB, Canada, I never saw a gun out in public. But being here in Philipsburg, PA, I have seen people walking casually downtown with rifles, or on the trails with rifles on 4-wheelers. Of course, I knew that they were not going to shoot me, but I felt uncomfortable.

    When you look at other 1st World Nations, the gun crime/death rates are a lot lower than America. Part of it could be the ways they legislate gun control, but I think it has more to do with the mentality of the society. America’s culture is submerged in guns and violence and the question is, how do you purge it out?

    I am not saying that all guns need to be banned. If you want to have a handgun in the house for protection, that is fine. Just make sure you are responsible and keep it in a safe place away from children. I have seen too many TV specials of irresponsible parents and their kids using the guns as toys and they end up dead.

    I see no reason for assault or military style guns. What is the point? You can’t hunt with them. And, this whole, “If the the government takes over we can fight back” mentality, is total nonsense. If you look at movies or at other world governments in control, it takes decades or centuries for the people to gain control again.

    People can go on about how people at the theatre would have lived if someone just had a gun on them, but these people clearly do not understand psychology or the situation that went on that evening. When someone sprays tear-gas and starts shooting off bullets unexpectedly, who would have the time to react in all of that chaos? It is a Hollywood movie fantasy Americans can’t get out of their heads.

    Alright, done my rant.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

      Thank you for your “rant” Jamie. I think one of the lovely take aways for me from your ranting is that you felt safe to say your piece on my blog, for I truly want everyone to feel safe to speak their truth here, regardless if we agree or disagree!

      • James Queale July 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

        I truly do Michael. 🙂 I like to discuss and share, but so many want to argue and get into name-calling. Nothing gets solved that way. Sadly, for all of the words and opinions discussed and spewed over the next couple of weeks, I have little faith that any real change is going to happen. These politics-of-the-month topics tend to fizzle after a couple of weeks. Despite that, it feels good to get my feelings out.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt July 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

        Jamie, I take it as high praise that you feel safe to discuss and share your views here!

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