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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aurora — the Next Chapter

"If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking is freedom." — Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Now that the shootings in the Aurora Cineplex are 5 days old and the 24 hour news channels have moved on to other stories the facts are beginning to emerge. The instant emotional, agenda driven coverage by the mainstream media and cable channels has given way to the ground pounding, fact-checking, and interviewing done by real journalists. No longer are we hearing tirades against the Tea Party, guns, and our Second Amendment rights. We are now being to get facts about the shooter, the shootings, the guns, and the victims. The problem is that most of these facts will not be heard by all who heard the emotional and inaccurate first reports.

One of the facts to emerge is that Holmes did not use an assault rifle. While the press loves to talk about assault rifles they are either misinformed or deliberately distorting the facts to suit their agenda. The term assault rifle is a translation of the German word Sturmgewehr (literally "storm rifle", as in "to storm a position"). The name was coined by Adolf Hitler to describe the Maschinenpistole 43, subsequently renamed Sturmgewehr 44, the firearm generally considered the first assault rifle that served to popularize the concept and form the basis for today's modern assault rifles.

The translation assault rifle gradually became the common term for similar firearms sharing the same technical definition as the StG 44. In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least the following characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:

  • It must be an individual weapon with provision to fire from the shoulder (i.e. a buttstock);
  • It must be capable of selective fire;
  • It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol but less than a standard rifle or battle rifle;
  • Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable magazine rather than a feed-belt.
  • And it should at least have a firing range of 300 meters.

Rifles that meet most of these criteria, but not all, are technically not assault rifles despite frequently being considered as such. For example, semi-automatic-only rifles like the AR-15 (which the M16 rifle is based on) that share designs with assault rifles are not assault rifles, as they are not capable of switching to automatic fire and thus are not selective fire capable. Belt-fed weapons or rifles with fixed magazines are likewise not assault rifles because they do not have detachable box magazines.

The term "assault rifle" is often more loosely used for commercial or political reasons to include other types of arms, particularly arms that fall under a strict definition of the battle rifle, or semi-automatic variant of military rifles such as AR-15s.

The US Army defines assault rifles as "short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.

Private ownership of fully automatic firing weapons are illegal in the United States so therefore a ban on these weapons is redundant.

Holmes used an AR-15 semi-automating rifle that fired one shoot every time he pulled the trigger. He had fitted it with an aftermarket drum magazine that would hold 100 rounds, but after he began firing the weapon the gun jammed and he discarded it an used his 40mm lock semi-automatic pistol and his shot gun — both legal weapons that would be extremely difficult to ban. It was his sot gun that caused mist of the injuries.

Last night Bill O’Reilly got into a shouting match with Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) over additional federal firearms control. O’Reilly was advocating that the FBI check out person who ordered excessive amounts of ammunition or purchased “heavy weapons”.

Chaffetz said:

Chaffetz said that the FBI should not be given a “master list” of every gun owner in the country, but O’Reilly interrupted Chaffetz to say that he was misrepresenting what he said. O’Reilly said that if you go to flight school, the FBI knows about it, but not if you purchase a machine gun. Chaffetz said O’Reilly’s assertion was “absolutely not true.”

Chaffetz said that anyone who buys heavy weapons has to get a tax certificate from the ATF and pass a background check. O’Reilly countered by pointing out the gun show loophole in the law, to which Chaffetz responded, “You can’t just buy a bazooka.”

As I stated above so called “heavy weapons” such as machine guns are illegal now. As to the large qualities of ammunition if a person such as Holmes wanted to stockpile ammunition for malevolent purpose he would simply order small quantities at a time.

It is now being reported that James Holmes was financed by the federal government through a $26,000 dollar grant and paid tuition at the University of Colorado. WNEW News reported that Holmes was awarded a prestigious grant from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. NIH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

“NIH gave the graduate student a $26,000 stipend and paid his tuition for the highly competitive neuroscience program at the University of Colorado in Denver. Holmes was one of six neuroscience students at the school to get the grant money.

Holmes is expected to be formally charged next Monday. He is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, and he could also face additional counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations. Holmes has been assigned a public defender.

Weeks before, Holmes quit a 35-student Ph.D. program in neuroscience for reasons that aren’t clear. He had earlier taken an intense oral exam that marks the end of the first year but University of Colorado Denver officials would not say if he passed, citing privacy concerns.

At a news conference, university officials refused to answer questions about Holmes. “To the best of our knowledge at this point, we think we did everything that we should have done,” Donald Elliman, the university chancellor.”

So much for Holmes being a member of the Tea Party. Holmes took tax payer’s money to kill other tax payers.

According to Yahoo News a young man who survived Friday's shootings in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater is planning to file suit against Cinemark, TMZ reported Tuesday.

“Torrence Brown Jr. was close friends with one of the 12 people killed in the attack, 18-year-old A.J. Boik. Neither of Brown's parents would confirm the planned lawsuits Tuesday afternoon, referring Yahoo News to Brown's lawyer, who didn't return requests for comment.

Attorney Don Karpel told TMZ the suit will allege that the Century 16 theater, which is owned by Cinemark, was negligent for not having the exit door guarded or equipped with an alarm that would sound when it opened. (Holmes reportedly left the theater via the exit door, propped it open, and re-entered with his weapons.) The suit also targets Warner Brothers, blaming their movie's violence for inspiring Holmes. Also named in the suit: suspect James Holmes' doctors, if they exist, for hypothetically not monitoring his hypothetical mental condition adequately.

J.H. Verkerke, director of the University of Virginia Law School's Program for Employment and Labor Law, told Yahoo News that in general, it would be difficult to win a claim against a theater in this type of situation unless you could prove that the theater should have known about the threat and that its safety standards are below average compared to most movie theaters.

Cinemark declined to comment on the suit through a spokesman. The movie chain released a statement on Monday saying its leadership is "deeply saddened about this tragic incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and loved ones, our employees and the Aurora community."

Now we will hear a continuing cry from the left that we should have more “gun free” zones in order to prevent gun violence. The exact opposite is true. The Aurora Cinemax is a gun free zone as are all Cinemax theaters.

Colorado is a concealed-carry state, as a noted film critic points out, but so was Virginia when a college campus there was racked by violence. Like the school, the theater chain was also "gun-free."

In December 2007, two church members were shot to death and three others injured after a gunman opened fire outside the New Life Church in Colorado Springs as Sunday services were wrapping up.

That tragedy could have been much worse, but the gunman was shot by a church security officer and was found dead when police arrived at the scene.

On April 22 of this year a just-released felon went to the New Destiny Christian Church in Aurora, Colo., and killed the mother of Pastor Delano Strahan before being killed himself by a congregant carrying a gun.

Unlike the tragedies at Columbine High School and the movie theatre in Aurora, there was someone at these venues willing and able to shoot back.

Other than the shooter, there was nobody armed in or at the Century 16 theater complex where 12 were killed and another 59 wounded, unable to exercise their right to self-defense.

Colorado is a concealed-carry state, as was Virginia at the time of the Virginia Tech shootings. But like Virginia Tech, according to World Net Daily, the Century 16 theater's parent, Cinemark Holdings Inc., has a strict "gun-free" policy at all of its 459 theaters, even for those who have concealed carry permits.

Film critic Roger Ebert opined in the New York Times that Colorado's concealed-carry laws didn't protect moviegoers, overlooking the theater owner's gun-free policy as will the media in coming days .

As Warner Todd Houston reported at in 2009, an Alaska-based member of a gun owner's message board reported that he tried to enter a Cinemark-owned theater with his open-carry weapon but was turned away because the chain was a "gun-free zone," the manager said. No one in that Aurora theater was allowed to defend himself.

The similarities between Aurora and the Virginia Tech massacre are eerie and maddening. In 2006, a Virginia Tech student was disciplined for carrying a gun on campus, despite having a permit. School officials were quick to note their school was a "gun-free zone."

On April 16, 2007, there was no one able to shoot back when Seung-Hui Cho shot 32 people to death on a Virginia Tech campus. Had one or two students or teachers been armed, it could have been stopped.

One wonders if Cho would have even walked on campus with a gun if he knew his victims would be able to defend themselves. Or how the story would have been different had Professor Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor who lost his life barricading a classroom door so his students could escape, had been able to fire back.

Few Americans are aware that in an October 1997 shooting spree at a Pearl, Miss., high school that left two students dead, assistant principal Joel Myrick retrieved a gun from his car and immobilized the shooter until police arrived, preventing further killings.

Or, in another school shooting in January 2002 at the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia, a disgruntled former student killed Law Dean L. Anthony Sutin, associate professor Thomas Blackwell and a student. Two of the three Virginia law students who overpowered the gunman were armed, preventing further deaths.

In February 2007, at a Salt Lake City mall, armed off-duty police officer Ken Hammond killed a young Muslim named Sulejman Talovic after he had killed five people, preventing an even larger massacre.

Yet liberals will insist the answer to criminal violence is more "gun-free" zones and the disarming of more potential victims.

It remains to be seen whether Aurora, Colo., will be used to push the U.N.'s global gun grab in the form of the Arms Trade Treaty. After all, in this administration's view a crisis or tragedy is a terrible thing to waste.

Additional comments of more gun control:

"[T]he gun lobby is the majority of the American people. It's not a lobby that's stopping all this [gun control legislation]. The reason that the lobby is strong is because it represents overwhelming opinion in the United States. And how do we know that? The president of the United States, who had this tremendous opening if he wanted to push the issue of guns after a tragedy of this magnitude could easily have done it and he has assiduously stayed away from it because he knows it's a losing political proposition." --columnist Charles Krauthammer

"[T]he chain that owns the theater where the [Colorado] massacre took place has a no-weapons policy, which oddly enough did not deter the shooter any more than Colorado's strict laws against murder did." --Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto

When a radio host asked me what I thought of the massacre in Aurora, Colo., I had to ask for clarification. I said: 'What do you mean? Who could deny it's an unspeakable tragedy?' What he was really asking me was to address it in a political context. The problem is that I don't believe there was any political context to the shooting; not everything is political. But unfortunately, elements of the left seemed determined to graft political implications onto the event, irrespective of the absence of any factual basis for doing so. They seized on it both to demonize grass-roots conservatives and to pump new life into their perennial campaign against the Second Amendment." --columnist David Limbaugh

"The news media ... believe they have a higher calling than reporting news. In order to understand this, I offer this anecdote. A number of years ago, I was asked to moderate a panel of judges that included a former, very liberal, California Supreme Court justice. At one point, the justice said that his role as a judge was to fight inequality, poverty and racism. ... People on the left think the way the judge did. The primary purpose of every profession, as they see it, is to increase what they call social justice. ... So when [ABC's] Brian Ross linked the Aurora mass murderer to the Tea Party, in his mind, he was doing the right thing. Is there one person in America who believes that if Ross had discovered a James Holmes in Aurora active in the ACLU, he would have reported it? ... Defeating the right is more important than moral or factual accuracy." --columnist Dennis Prager

As radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said; "Blaming guns for murder is like blaming forks for obesity. Someone misused a gun; therefore no one's allowed to have one. This is what passes for logic among the left”

And finally there is the case of the dumb bride to be. The Blaze reports on a story of extreme cowardice and heroism:

Jamie Rohrs, of Aurora, Colorado, took his girlfriend Patricia Legarreta to a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” as you might expect many boyfriends did as a date. In fact, in a mildly kind gesture, he also brought both Legarreta and her two young children.

But then the shooting which has rocked the nation happened, and Mr. Rohrs demonstrated that, far from being kind, he actually might be exactly the wrong person for someone to date. According to reports, Mr. Rohrs not only didn’t try to protect his girlfriend or her children, but he actually rushed for the exit and got into his car, leaving them behind.

Fortunately for Leggareta, there was someone in the theater who was willing to try and help them – a 19-year-old college student named Jarell Brooks who escorted her and her children to the exit, where miraculously enough, the Leggaretas escaped the shooting virtually unharmed. Brooks, however, took a bullet to the leg.

Which brings us back to Mr. Rohrs. Despite his earlier show of cowardice, or perhaps because of it, Rohrs found his girlfriend and her kids at the hospital, and once there, he made the rather counterintuitive move of proposing marriage to Leggareta. And rather than slapping him for leaving her there, she apparently said, “Yes.”

Not that this was the story that initially came out regarding this unlikely coupling. Indeed, Rohrs‘ apparent cowardice is barely mentioned in this interview with Piers Morgan explaining Rohrs’ “harrowing” experience escaping from the theater. Perhaps understandably, Morgan didn’t push him on the full details, though readers might find Rohrs’ narrative more than a little self-serving in retrospect:

However, when more information emerged, showing that Rohrs had actually managed to escape from the theater without either of his children, and that his girlfriend and both those children were actually saved by the heroic Jarell Brooks, questions started to be asked. And since then, several internet sites have begun publicly pleading with Leggareta not to marry the man who left her for dead.”

This story also points out how shallow and incompetent the journalistic abilities of MSNBC’s Piers Morgan are. I guess a British accent is not quite enough to make you a competent journalist. He and ABC’s Brian Ross should get their own show on Al Gore’s Internet network with Keith Olbermann. They all belong together.

The country is still reeling from the impact of a devil on Earth entering a crowded movie theater in an otherwise peaceful community shooting 70 people and leaving 12 dead. It’s a disgusting commentary to what evil lurks in our midst. In the wake of this vile attack, there are stories of heroism. There are stories of boyfriends giving their lives so their girlfriends would survive. Nobody should expect to go to a movie theater for a couple of hours to de-stress and face the barrel of a heinous criminal’s gun. But, historically, when life and death situations confront good people, men lay their lives on the line to protect or save women and children.

It was a tad over 100 years ago when the fabled “unsinkable” Titanic rammed into an iceberg leaving it catastrophically damaged and on it’s way to the bottom of the frigid Atlantic. When it became obvious the ship would not survive, it was time to get to the lifeboats. There weren’t enough for all aboard so, a very strict women-and-children-first policy was employed. It was a no-brainer. That’s the way things worked. When faced with danger, the men faced it while doing all they could to protect the women and children. All in all 1,347 men and only 103 women died that fateful day in 1912. There were no throngs of TV and radio reporters with satellite trucks and live internet feeds waiting to interview the survivors — just a world in shock and an understanding why so few men survived the sunken ship. The men did what was expected. They died so those younger and weaker could live. That sensibility was again reality in that theater in Aurora, Colorado — mostly. Three heroes died so their girlfriends could live. Jon Blunk, Alex Teves and Matt McQuinn were killed while protecting their girlfriends from bullets. Then there’s Jamie Rohrs.

Most of us have never and will never face the kind of life and death situation faced by everyone in that theater on July 20, 2012. It’s easy to speculate but impossible to accurately report how we would react facing a gun-wielding evildoer. It’s not dissimilar to the questions we all asked ourselves after the attacks of 9/11. What would we have done in the face of that kind of evil — and the fate the 3,000 killed faced that day? It’s easy to say we’d attack the bad guy and take him down. But, you really never know. But, being a father of three, and a husband, there is NO doubt I’d put my life on the line to protect my family. How that would manifest itself is what’s not known. I can, however, also report that I would NOT do what the aforementioned Jamie Rohrs decided to do. You can see the video here

Rohrs, at the theater with his girlfriend and two children, speaks of looking for his family members, being disoriented, then suddenly he’s away from danger and contemplating going back for them. Without him saying so, it becomes obvious he got the heck out of there — leaving his young girlfriend and very young children to fend for themselves. And, as he says he was on the verge of going back in to look for them, he speaks of how he reconsidered, saying “if you go back, you’re dead too and what if our kids live and then they’re orphans…” WHAT? He was, at that very moment, expecting his girlfriend was dead and in the off chance his kids survived, HE needed to stay alive so they wouldn’t be orphans. Wow. Just wow.

One hundred years ago, that kind of cowardice would be faced with massive outcry by Americans if not a public flogging. In 2012, he’s so unembarrassed by his shameful cowardice that he not only showed up on CNN to retell the story of how he left his family for dead, he also had the unmitigated gall to announce that he chose the hospital room after the attack to ask the girlfriend he fled from to save his hide to marry him. Call me old-fashioned but, hearing a story like his and his rationale for why he thinks he did the right thing at that moment makes me hearken for days gone by and makes me respect even more, those who put themselves in harm’s way to save others. By the way, she said, “yes.” Wow!!!

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