Saturday, July 21, 2012

Too Close to Home

The horrific movie massacre is too close to home for all of us.  We've all been in packed movie theaters and can only imagine what it would be like to experience the terror and chaos of this week's event.  We start to think - what would I do?  Would I duck?  Would I run?  What's the best reaction depends on the circumstances and nobody's mind really wants to go there.  We all just hope that we're never faced with a scenario like the one that occurred in Aurora.

This particular event was even closer to home for us.  Not only are we geographically close to Aurora, but the shooter was a PhD student in a neuroscience program in the graduate school that my husband oversees.  He just finished his first year but was in the process of withdrawing from the program.  Barry didn't know him, but people who did describe him just as you've seen in the media - as a loner.  Over the years, we've known many scientists and that description would apply to a good number of them. Certainly nothing that would set off alarms.  Scientists often work long hours at the bench by themselves, and many are just like that.

The shooter's booby-trapped apartment is directly across the street from the medical campus at an intersection that we pass every time we go to that campus.  So this whole experience is a bit more personal to us than it would be if we lived somewhere else. Barry's office was barraged with media calls from all over the world.  There is great interest in figuring out what would cause this young man to do such a thing.  

I personally keep coming back to the fact that he spent months getting ready and buying firearms and ammunition totally legally.  What is wrong with our society that someone can collect an arsenal like this without any alarms going off?  I would hope that this might make our elected officials say that no one outside of the military and law enforcement needs automatic weapons that can fire 100 rounds, but I am extremely doubtful that any gun restrictions will occur as a result.  I always want to believe that out of something bad, something good comes.  In this case, the "good" would be gun control.  But Colorado is a cowboy state and has a cowboy mentality, so I expect that others like the shooter will be able to buy whatever weapons of death and destruction they want.

It's all so sad. 

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