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This past week our nation witnessed one of the most horrific violations in history. A beast that I refuse to name, planned and then killed 12 people in a theatre in Colorado. I won't go into details of how, why, or who committed this atrocity.
What I WILL address is the idea of our Constitutional "right to bear arms". The misconstrued perception of this "right", saddens and confuses me. The archaic belief that having a gun in our houses will enable us to "defend ourselves" is not only statistically improbable, it is metaphorically AND literally unsettling to those who live with us. A loaded gun in a house says,"I don't trust people", "I am afraid someone will break in and hurt us", and also "I am willing to shoot to kill another human being".
If you have a gun in your house and it is NOT loaded, the statistical probability of you being able to get to it, load it, and confront a home invader AND for the outcome of that confrontation to be positive in ANY way, is insignificantly small.

This is not to say I don't think we should be prepared. It is not to say that I don't think we should defend ourselves and those we love but having a dog and a home alarm system are profoundly more effective. The idea is to not have your home be very appealing to those who would invade it.

What all this brings me to is a conclusion I came to in my teens. There is NO REASON for assault rifles to be in the hands of the public. There is NO REASON for hand guns to be in the possession of the public. Hand guns and assault rifles were invented for ONE single purpose and that is to kill other human beings. SO - what do I say to those who claim they have a "right to collect" weapons? I say,"Get a life and collect ceramic frogs, lawn gnomes, or goldfish". Collect something that adds life to the world, not something that is designed to destroy life. What possible joy can a human being derive out of owning a collection of assault rifles?? What fearful illusional self perception of manhood needs to revel in the ownership of something designed to take away the life of another being? When I see a photo of a guy standing around with his buddies and brandishing their prize AK-47's, I wonder if it makes them feel powerful, macho, and strong? It also makes me wonder where this need for that sense of power came from. Is there a correlation between this behavior and the violent idiotic murderous video games? There are even TV shows dedicated to showing off "powerful weapons". I get nauseous when I pass by these shows on my way to the Discovery Channel.

I come from a long line of poor people in the South and I remember well my Father and my Uncles going out hunting and bringing home rabbit, deer, squirrels, and quail to feed our family. I've personally hunted and helped clean our kill to add to our dinner table. I understand the need to eat and I understand the idea of hunting to sustain loved ones. But I've never seen an AK-47 used in deer hunting and a hand gun is impractical for hunting anything other than humans. Also, I don't think there are very many families who depend on hunting for sustenance any more anyway. Maybe it would be a good idea to get rid of ALL guns! It works in a lot of countries.

So, I am not without understanding when it comes to the "right to bear arms" but the bastardization of this "right" has becomes the mantra of lobbyists with special interests in Washington and it sickens and disheartens me.

12 people are dead and 58 wounded, because of this "right". This monster had the "right" to buy machines made for the purpose of killing human beings. He bought everything LEGALLY on line.

To those who will say to me,"Guns don't kill people, people kill people", I say,"Tell that to the families of those murdered in Colorado. These types of guns ARE what kill people, furthermore, they are singly designed for that purpose. Yes, people kill people and it is these types of guns they use to do it.

I say ban assault rifles and hand guns. It certainly won't stop this kind of thing from happening but it WILL cut down on the number of lives lost and make the whole process more difficult.

Washington MUST do something…. but I've been to Washington, photographed Senators and Congressmen, so I know how it works up on the Hill and I recognize the fact money speaks louder than the voices of grieving family members.

Today I feel powerless. How many innocent people and how many good presidents must die to make these weapons illegal?

To those who will say to me,"Guns don't kill people, people kill people", I say,"Tell that to the families of those murdered in Colorado. These types of guns ARE what kill people, furthermore, they are singly designed for that purpose. Yes, people kill people and it is these types of guns they use to do it.

I say ban assault rifles and hand guns. It certainly won't stop this kind of thing from happening but it WILL cut down on the number of lives lost and make the whole process more difficult.

I hope Washington will do something…. but I've been to Washington, photographed Senators and Congressmen, so I know how it works up on the Hill. I don't have a lot of hope because money speaks louder than the voices of grieving family members.

Today I am heartboken.

Some stats.
People killed by guns/year

USA: 11,127

Italy: 483
Germany: 381
France: 255
Spain: 113
UK: 68

483+381+255+113+68=1300. There are about 9 times more gun-related deaths in USA than in these countries combined. Even though their combined population is about the same, even a bit bigger than USA's. about this??
  • Listening to: the hum of the G5
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hotwiar Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2012
I want to move to England... northern England or Scotland. Just need the job that will enable this to happen...yep.
EvilTarte Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Well stated. I myself think that if we start becoming better human beings then things will start to change. People that resort to actions such as the shooter in Colorado have mental problems. It's not always possible to notice and try to help such a person, but maybe if someone had tried, the outcome would've been different.
lauriek Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
Here in Australia, we had a similar incident happen in 1996 when Martin Bryant went on a rampage killing many innocent people.
Our government went against the masses and declared semi automatic weapons illegal and tightened gun laws considerably.
One of the best moves ever, IMHO.
Azyiu Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks Mr. Helms for the journal, and I pretty much agreed with your views there. And sadly, you are right about many things won't get done when politics come into play.
ryo257ma Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Banning guns will do nothing to stop the violence. It will enable criminals because they already have the guns. ILLEGALLY. Tell me about how criminals follow laws, especially the ones about guns. Automatic weapons, sawed off shot guns. All that stuff is illegal. I don't know any law abiding citizen that owns automatic weapons or sawed off shot guns. You're talking about two very different things here. The right to bear arms and the right to collect guns. I totally agree that there is no need for anyone to own an assault rifle or automatic weapon. Hand guns are a different story. Yes, they are designed to kill, created to wage war, but they purpose of a hand gun, even in war, is self defense in confined quarters, like, say a home. Maybe owning a gun says "I don't trust people," but the fact is you CAN'T trust people. People can be selfish, and inhuman creatures. They will take what they want and harm whoever gets in their way. There are absolutely too many psychopaths in this world today. And by that I don't mean crazy people. I mean people who won't flinch at taking someone's life. People who feel no emotion and are willing to do anything as long as it helps them satisfy their hunger for more of whatever they want. Fact is a dog won't scare someone who really wants your stuff because they WILL have a gun. And alarm systems are incredibly unreliable, always giving false alarms, costing the public millions of dollars because the police HAS to respond to an alarm no matter what. ADT and those companies don't want you to know that. Those companies don't respond and they don't pay the police to respond. They pocket the exorbitant amounts of money they charge and let the public flip the bill for the police. Which brings me to another point. Seeing that most of our country is poor owning a gun is cheaper than a dog and definitely cheaper than an alarm system. Fact is banning guns will do nothing but enable criminals.

Also, you have some of those paragraphs up there twice which makes me thing you just copied and pasted something from somewhere without even really thinking about what it says. And people do kill people. They've been doing it for thousands of years. For that, any weapon will do.
The-last-black-rose Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Student Writer
I completely agree.
Living in the UK, it is terrifying to think that this kind of thing is allowed to happen in other countries.
I agree that the mentality of the person is a huge aspect in cases such as these, but had this person not been able to access guns so easily this may not have had such a fatal outcome.
This leaves me slightly put out at the pathetic nature of the human race.

However, there is hope in those who can see past this horror. You for instance. I would put my trust in you. You should become involved in politics, make changes. You are very influential and wise beyond anything i could wish to be. :) x
JSHelms Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012
I'm sure someone else has already said something along these lines, but declaring that guns kill people is akin to declaring that spoons make people fat. Guns don't pull their own triggers.

As far as our right to bear arms is concerned, our founding fathers did not necessarily foresee the invention of the assault rifle, and for the sake of this information assault rifles and their capabilities are unimportant, but their intention with the Second Amendment was to ensure that we citizens would have the capabilities to defend ourselves against a tyrannical government in case the government they founded became corrupt (excellent foresight on their part if you ask me). As long as our government's watchdogs/enforcers/soldiers, etc. have assault rifles and handguns, we, the people of the United States of America, should retain the right to own equivalent weapons in case the government officials decide to try to take us down a notch or two when the country begins to fall.

Make no mistake. This country will fall just like every one has before it and every one will after it. Nations are not permanent. Changes come. The government will have to deal with unrest and discontent on a massive scale and, when the only tool the government has is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. You think they're not going to use their own guns against us if we are unarmed? Look up some U.S. History and find out about the massacres that our own government has already perpetuated on unarmed protesters and the like. You might be shocked. You might be appalled. You might not care at all.

I guarantee you that gun control will not stop violent murders. It will only change the means by which they are carried out. Criminals will use knives, sticks, stones and whatever else they can get their hands on to carry out their crimes. The problem with crimes in America isn't the specific tool used, but the person using the tool. We will still have the same number of criminals carrying out the same number of crimes. It's a social problem, not an issue of tools. Guns are simply tools. Many thousands of tools can be used to murder a person. Shall we outlaw everything that can be used to take a life? Well, I guess we'll have to cut off our own hands eventually.

I appreciate your art and your heart, but just because *you* and some others like you don't understand what other people get out of something like collecting guns doesn't mean that those persons who collect them are maladjusted or trying to make up for a small penis. You are making small-minded assumptions and I thought you were better than that. If your logic in this case were to be applied in cases such as gay rights, well, we would just make legislation that bans homosexuality outright. I certainly don't want to have sex with another man and I know others who think it's an abomination, so we should just outlaw it outright, yes?

No. Absolutely not. I am not sexually attracted to other men, but I want homosexuals to have the exact same rights and freedoms that I enjoy. And, if any of my homosexual friends were being brutally beaten by a group of homophobic thugs, you can rest assured that I would pull out my .38 Special and make those thugs think twice about continuing their actions. Guns are not only tools of action, but they also can be tools of prevention. You never hear the statistics of crimes that were not completed because, for example, a home invader heard the distinctive "Click-Clack" of a 12 gauge pump-action shotgun chambering a shell.

Anyway, you're entitled to your own opinion, but I seriously doubt that it's a good idea to try to take away the rights of persons who collect guns or who own just one or two guns because they're usually of the mind that people who want to take away their guns are the enemy. If you try to disarm me and prevent me from being able to protect my family from criminals (including the government), your are my enemy.

The end.
Stereoblind Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Professional Photographer
It's easier and cheaper to get a gun than access to proper mental health care and affordable medication.

I can set up a shell corporation hiding millions from being taxed in a few days with no ID but I need a note from my Doctor to see a nutritional specialist. Most places won't even consider a cash patient. Without insurance, no care. Please add the PPACA to my wish list.

I can watch a full length movie where people are butchered and stitched together into a human caterpillar-like creation of torture and brutality. That movie is rated R. I can even take my kids.

One act of love and nudity and it's rated X, taking my kids can land me in jail.

I would much rather face someone with a knife at 10 paces than a gun. If there wasn't so much money to be made by alcohol and guns they'd be illegal. The reason pot isn't legalized in most places here is because it's too easy for a regular person to grow it and use it - it can't be taxed or controlled for profit.

I've never even held a real gun in my hands and I don't want to. Knowing how to use one will never save my life because even if a loved one was in danger I can't kill another person. I've never killed an animal for food (not even a fish) because I live in a country where meat isn't a necessary item.

I tried killing a mouse once and got violently ill. Bugs I have no problem with as long as they are less than 2 inches in size.

I'll never need a gun. I do need neighbors that I can trust whose first solution to intolerance and prejudice isn't reaching for a gun.

The numbers for managed health care and a no guns policy speak for themselves. Sadly, those who benefit from those concerns NOT being managed have more money to lobby for their rampant disregard for the value of human life.

If our votes were actually counted in a Presidential Election I'd be the first in line to keep things on the right path. As it is, I just have to pick the country with the least path of resistance to tolerance and peace. Unfortunately I'm used to living in the USA and finding a better place to live is outside of my realm of expertise. So here I stay, under the radar, out of my neighbors line of fire and finding beauty where I can.

One person at a time.
Pelicanh Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Professional Photographer
when I wrote this - it seemed so "OBVIOUS" and "clear" to me. THEN I started reading all the responses and I got even MORE heartbroken. I agree with you.
People love their guns. ugh
ryo257ma Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I totally understand the thing about not being able to take a life. The sad thing is that those who threaten you or your family won't even think twice about squeezing that trigger. So for me, I can't willingly go out and just take someone's life, but if it's kill or be killed (or watch my loved ones be killed) I'll do what I need to to survive.
Stitched-Vampyre Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012

America unlike all other countries gives it's people much more freedom than every where else. At least we can talk shit about our government, in other countries, you get shot for that, by those government officials you trust so much. People are evil not machines. I refer to my previous comment that guns do not kill people, people kill people. Violence will not stop with a lack of weapons, we will just come up with more creative ways to massacre people, like the fuck tard who ate another guys face, or the idiot whoh ate his room mate for being loud, people such, not machines.
Atlantean6 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
IT's worse if someone politicizes it.
InterloperUX Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey, no need to diss video games :P
You make a good case. I live in Australia, which, since a massacre in the 90's, has outlawed guns but to gun collectors and sportsmen (who have to jump through many hoops to keep them, I'm sure), farmers, and those that legitimately hunt for food. ..Those hunters probably ARE farmers in order to qualify for the weapons.
The police don't even carry guns under everyday circumstances. They don't need to - virtually noone carries guns. Armed robberies are committed with knives or people pretending to carry a gun under clothing. Muggings - again, knives or baseball bats.

I'm a very socially liberal libertarian so I'm actually an advocate of the right for ordinary human beings to own whatever they like, however I do understand and agree with your argument on a personal basis.

Another thing I'd like to point out while we're here, is that I can see essentially the same behaviour occuring that happened ten years ago with the Columbine High School shootings. Ordinary Americans are afraid because suddenly the violence and massacre is in their faces. But the American government lends funding and military training to dictatorships for the sake of strategic footholds, oil, and other resources. I read this a couple of days ago: [link]
Like most people, I don't particular care about these people dying in some country I'd probably struggle to locate on a map - but I think its funny that people suddenly care about massacres, and often on much smaller scales, when it happens in their own backyard.
bear48 Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012  Professional
Yes the world is an odd place

be well
Stitched-Vampyre Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012
You know. I would normally agree, but a gun doesn't kill people sir, as a former Marine, people kill people. The issue is not guns, which were actually made for the purpose of hunting, not warfare as you so commonly think, guns, much like any machine are beautiful creations.

What we need to do is somehow breed out violence in our race, but then it's more like big brother. Sir, we are animals, and as animals, we are violent, if it wasn't guns it would be razor blades, or knives, or swords. While you're taking our freedom away, why don't you portion how much we eat, and sleep, oh how about how much money we can make too? lol

seriously dude, guns aren't the issue, it's people, and while people exist, who are animals, we will always commit horrendous acts of violence and mayhem.

I do how ever feel your pain, as I was formerly a colorado resident, and I like to tell people how polite we are, and how nice it is to be out there. Funny thing is alcohol kills more people a year than guns, as does smoking cigarettes, yet there is no where near the outcry for drug control as there is for gun control, how about suicides a year, still totaling higher than gun deaths, I strongly urge you to re-approach this issue with unemotional eyes and realize, that until the animal is bred out of man, the world will never be a peaceful place.

Aside from that, I love your photography, and I sincerely hope you keep up the amazing work sir.
LNIN9 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist
i say forget the gun argument, as a person who works in CO and heard the all call for assist, i just want to say that the response time by all those involved was incredible. the cooperation between districts and agencies deserve the recognition, but that will not happen as it should due to the fact that what happened has become about 1 person and 3 weapons he purchased legally and now a political tool to those running for election etc. however what i would like to say, ive really no words......
JohnOBPhoto Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012
"A loaded gun in a house says, I don't trust people"

yeh? and 60-odd people in a movie theater trusted that they were safe....
guess what... they were wrong.
FallingFrozen Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I understand why you feel the way you do, but from where I'm sitting I see plenty of othe countries with fairly relaxed gun laws with no where near as many deaths as a result. In my opinion I think there's obviously something different about america, slightly more bloodthirstiness? I dunno, but it is odd.
Also, I don't feel that just because there are guns around people use them. I myself think weapons are cool, alot of guns are actually quite fascinating, the mechanics themselves are intriguing to me n I don't feel there's anything wrong with admiring/collecting guns if they interest you.
I don't own a gun, I've never really felt the urge to have one, but I don't think idiots should ruin guns for sensible people. Plus just because he used certain guns doesn't mean more people died. It would've been fairly easy for him to jump online and figure out how to whip up some homemade explosives.
KoImprobable Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm heartbroken at this tragedy, too, but I must refute your comments.

In that shooting in Aurora, if one of those 12 people could have had the "statistically improbable" chance of defending themselves with a firearm, they would have given anything and everything to have it. A gun doesn't make you safe. It makes you more likely to survive an incident where you will need it. And, in terms of statistically improbable? 90% of defensive uses of firearms do not require the firearm to be fired (National Crime Victimization Survey, 2000, Bureau of Justice Statistics, BATF estimates on handgun supply). The mere fact that the criminal's target is capable of using lethal force against them changes the situation so greatly the criminal will flee, even if they are able to match lethal force for lethal force. Whatever they wanted isn't worth getting shot.
Having a gun does mean "I am willing to shoot another human being," but it is more accurately stated as "If I have to shoot another human being to survive, I will do so." Gun owners do not want to have to use their firearms against another human being, but sometimes it has to happen. If you're in a life or death situation, wouldn't you like to be able to choose which one you get? Home invasions happen, whether or not we try to hide in our neighborhoods to make ourselves less of a target.
Home alarms only work to prevent harm to you and your family, if the criminal waits for the police to show up before carrying out his invasion. Dogs only work if they're more of a threat to the criminal than the criminal is to them.

Let me clarify something for you. The moron in Colorado did not have an assault rifle. The term "assault rifle" has an actual definition, and it is a fully automatic weapon of intermediate chambering with at least a 20 round capacity. Fully automatic means that as long as the trigger is held down and more ammunition remains in the magazine, the gun will continue to feed and fire continuously. What the moron in Colorado had was a semi-automatic rifle. That means one and only one round per pull of the trigger. It does not mean burst fire or the ability to "spray." Revolvers fire just as fast.
The term "assault weapon" was coined to demonize a certain class of firearms in an attempt to ban them, apparently merely because they look "scary," as these firearms are no more powerful than hunting rifles, and are often less powerful. The moron had an "assault weapon," but only after he had assaulted people with it.
Tactical rifles, such as the AR-15 that the moron in Colorado used, are quite often used for competitive target shooting, recreational target shooting, and for hunting. The standard round, which the moron in Colorado was also using, and which the US Military uses in their firearms, is called 5.56mm Nato, and it's actually too weak to legally hunt deer with in many states because it isn't powerful enough to kill the deer outright often enough. Meaning, the deer would be seriously, but not fatally injured, or would die slowly over the course of hours or days. Neither of which any ethical hunter would want. Tactical rifles have plenty of uses that do not kill anything.
The hammer, being a metal headed blunt force instrument, was invented to kill. People found other valid uses for them. The same goes for firearms.

Handguns are also used for competitive and recreational shooting, as well as for tools of self-defense (meaning, only really used to protect life). Some are even used for hunting, though they're usually of more powerful chambering.

The joy of owning any gun is like the joy of being a car fancier. Both like the ballet of moving parts that all work together to create a fine-tuned machine. Much like with a car, you can take that machine out and have fun with it within the boundaries of the law. Unlike a car, owning a gun tends to moderate a person. The knowledge that a mistake can cost lives makes one more mindful of what they're doing. I don't know anyone who hasn't had a speeding ticket. It's rare to find a gun owner, outside of military vets, who have ever used their gun on a human being.

Yes, there is some attraction to them due to the power associated with them, but that's really only with the younger generations. Much like teenagers are more likely to want a Mustang over a Taurus because it's powerful. But, as stated, between the sobering thought of what will happen if they make a mistake with a gun, and the natural process of growing up, that attraction to the power tends to diminish quickly.

People do use AK-47s for hunting, though it's generally a bad idea, since the round isn't all that powerful, and the guns aren't that accurate.

Not many people rely on hunting for food, but the differences between one of the millions of cows in the beef industry being slaughtered for its meat and the free living deer being killed for its meat, are generally all positive. Wild animals don't live on giant, soul-less farms that "require" large tracts of forest to be razed and create large concentrations of greenhouse gases. Foolishness led those in the US to kill too many of the wild predators, so hunters keep wildlife populations from exploding to the point that millions of deer would be starving to death every year. Not to mention that a huge chunk of the money the various Conservation departments have to spend comes from hunting licenses and the federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition.

The idea that widespread gun bans work in other countries to reduce gun crime is true. But, it doesn't reduce crime in general. The UK and Canada, both have much greater restrictions on gun ownership than the US. They also have much higher violent crime rates than the US (British Home Office Data). Their murder rates are lower, though, but there is an extenuating circumstance: The War on Drugs. 70% of the firearm-related deaths of juveniles (17-20) occur as a result of gang warfare. Much of the violent crime in the US is done to fuel a drug habit.

The moron in Colorado didn't buy the firearms legally online, or at least not the way you're being told. The gun would have to go through a federally licensed gun dealer to be legally purchased online. The media likes to omit that part.

I would tell those families, were it even remotely necessary, that a psychopath killed their loved ones. The gun wasn't the one that chose the act or the targets. The gun was one of many tools he could have used to do so. Remember that he had booby trapped his apartment with explosives. If prevented from acquiring firearms, he might have used explosives instead. I suspect the number of deaths would have been significantly higher, and himself harder to catch, had he just chucked a few pipe bombs into the theatre and run back out the door. Take the gun from the murderer, and he's still a murderer. Or, should we consider him an innocent victim now that he's been disarmed?

Washington HAS been doing something. They've been doing something for over 40 years. But, gun control, then as now, doesn't solve the problem, or even come close to it. They've been doing the wrong something for 40 years. I'm not saying we need to repeal all of those laws, though I'll say we need to repeal some of them. The problem isn't the gun, or our access to them. Since 1970, the rate of gun ownership has slowly and steadily increased where the rate of deaths where they were used has risen and fallen, and has actually been on a steady decline since 1991 (with a few very small increases in the early 2000s) (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, CDC WISQARS, BATF Commerce Report 2002). In contrast, the UK's rate of gun ownership has plummetted in the last twenty years, due to their own gun bans going into effect, and their crime rates doubled, then slowly started trickling down (Weapons sell for just £50 as suspects and victims grow ever younger, The Times, August 24, 2007.). You're still more likely to be mugged in London than you are in New York.

Banning guns will work as well as banning alcohol. The black market will be quite happy to supply it to those willing to break the law, such as the very criminals gun control seeks to make us safer from. Fewer armed potential victims and the same number of armed victimizers. Logically speaking, that sounds like the wrong direction to go, doesn't it?

Here's another statistic for you: When ranking the top ten countries by rate of homicides, the US is not even on the list (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Centre for International Crime Prevention, Seventh United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 1998 – 2000.). I know for a fact that four of the top five have high levels of gun control. It's clearly not working there.

You're right. Money does talk in Washington. Espousing gun control, for many of the people on Capitol Hill, means they'll lose money in bribes when they lose their next election. After 40 years, the people are finally waking up to the fact that gun control has not, and will not, solve the crime problem.

Gun ownership isn't the solution either. Like I said, our crime rates fluctuate totally separately from our gun ownership rates. We've not gotten any safer due to gun ownership. We've not gotten any less safe due to gun ownership.

Had the theatre not been a "gun-free zone" and at least one person had been carrying there, the results might have been the same. But, they might not have. If I had been there, and my failed attempt to stop that moron had resulted in me being killed instead of one of those children, because he had to focus on me for a moment, I'd consider that a worthy trade. If I had been there and my courage failed me until nearly the last moment, and my shooting back at him saved one life, I'd consider that worth every penny I've spent on every firearm I own. But, honestly, I don't wish I'd been there. Not out of cowardice or a lack of considering those people's lives valuable, but simply because I don't want to be in a life or death situation, even if I'm armed and could possibly make a difference.
tramirez89 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for a well-thought, well-researched, intelligent comment. :clap:
tramirez89 Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
While I am GREATLY saddened by the actions of the clearly disturbed man in Colorado, and any people like him, I respectfully disagree with the idea that banning firearms from the public will prevent these kinds of tragedies.

The idea of owning and storing a firearm in your home is not borne out of a conspiratorial or paranoid belief that violence and "bad men" are around the corner waiting to get you, but a rational recognition of the reality of one simple fact: There are bad people in the world. Whether by conscious choice, or due to mental or psychological impairment, there are some individuals who can and inevitably will cause harm to innocent people. Man, woman, child and everything in between.

The "right to bear arms" does not exist as part of the framework of our country to create a hostile environment, to arm the mentally ill, or to cause harm to the innocent, but to allow those with good intentions, every day ordinary citizens, to protect themselves and their loved ones in the event that their life is threatened to the point where a serious injury or fatality could occur. In the end, it is the intent of the user alone that determines what a firearm is used for.

It is sad to say, but this man in Colorado was clearly intent on harming innocent people, with some unknown motivation or reason. The tools he used in this case were indeed firearms. But had he not had access to these, it would not have been a matter of this simply not occurring, but instead it would likely have been a different tragedy, in a different place, with a different weapon. A homemade bomb, a blade, a vehicle, a fire, his bare hands, a chemical weapon, or as the world knows, even a plane, a train, or many other things. The list of things that can be turned into weapons against innocent people is nearly endless.

While the intent is admirable and sound, (wanting to eliminate the possibility of one person harming others with firearms) in reality, it simply isn't that easy, and can never work due to the nature of the people who are causing harm.

Sick or malicious individuals will always find ways to harm the innocent, regardless of the tools at their disposal. Those who want to possess weapons to cause harm, will find a way of obtaining them or will utilize something else. No matter the method, or legality. A law-abiding citizen will not purchase a weapon if the government bans it. The same cannot be said of the morally corrupt or devoid.

The woman I love means more to me than my own life. If someone broke into my house, I would want a way to defend myself, and more importantly, her. The same way I prepare for hurricanes, earthquakes, losing my job, getting sick or getting into an accident, I own a firearm as preparation for the unlikely, but entirely possible eventuality that someone, someday might threaten mine or my loved ones' lives.

This, however, doesn't mean I would immediately shoot and kill someone if I was mortally threatened, because I know that having and presenting a firearm in itself can be a deterrent to violence.

I do not own a firearm because I am scared that someday someone is going to try to kill me.
I own one because I want to be sure that if it ever does happen, I can protect the people I love.

With that in mind, I sincerely hope I never have to use it this way.
springbok Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012
Hi! I'm from Italy. We have a different kind of ''right to bear arms'': it's impossible to have AK-47, and it's only possible to have a type of license for hunting or for personal defense (but in this case you can ONLY have your gun closed in your car or in your house). Furthermore if you had a problem with alcoholism, drugs it's OBVIOUSLY clear that you are gun-banned.
I don't think that Italy could be better with a right to bear arms like in the U.S.A.
complimentarybrick Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
This is another of the many reasons the world looks down on the usa...
cg7510 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012
The right to bear arms is for the express purpose of overthrowing a corrupt, oppressive or autocratic government. Murder is murder, the tool used is irrelevant. Murder has been illegal sense law was invented, it has not stopped any of the thousands of murders that happen every year. Selfish, anti social, mentally deranged people kill others. You have the right in the USA to possess firearms or not, that is freedom. Take away firearms and someone WILL start telling you what you can and cannot do. You will then be a slave.

Only those willing to obey the law will abide by it, Therefore a law banning firearms, arms, weapons, rocks etc.. will ONLY stop those who obey the law anyway, and by that definition will never be a threat to anyone. Those that ARE a threat will arm themselves regardless of the law. That leaves good people, law abiding people defenseless.

BTW in 2010 32,885 people died in car crashes, shall we make cars illegal? you will probably say those are accidents, and firearms deaths are deliberate attacks. Many were accidents but I see what you mean. You don't like murder, me neither but it is already illegal... 443,000 deaths from smoking.....

otherwise I completely disagree with almost every statement of opinion you offer above. everything but how sorry we are for those who lost their people in that insane attack by a lunatic.

I am a peace officer, I can not protect you, just clean up after the fact. It will probably take more than five minutes for help to reach you, good luck to you..
Gremlich Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
All of those countries you cite are Socialist. Countries whose economies are in the shitter (even Germany is squealing). Not having so many deaths (which, statistically needs to be considered relative to their populations) has nothing to do with our rights to bear arms, in this instance, it says something about the state of mental health in the US. Not saying that something should not be done about weapons in America, but getting emotional about something that needs to be considered rationally makes for very poor policy. How about abortions in the US - In 2008, approximately 1.21 million abortions took place in the U.S., down from an estimated 1.29 million in 2002, 1.31 million in 2000 and 1.36 million in 1996. From 1973 through 2008, nearly 50 million legal abortions have occurred in the U.S. (courtesy of the CDC, no stats on why the abortions took place). Who's screaming about that? WAAAAAY more deaths, murders depending on who you talk to, than by guns. Let's ban abortions? Oh, wait, that violates a woman's right to say what happens to her body. There are so many other things to worry about that impact millions of US citizens - like the economy and the state of the political systems - all in the shitter. AND, if the common, law-abiding citizenry have their rights to bear arms taken away, only criminals will will have weapons and the numbers of deaths in the US will not change except perhaps for the worse. It is okay to feel sorrow over this senseless event - but you better cry for the lives of those who never even got to see the light of day as well and be just as pissed.
Gremlich Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
And one other thing - where is the outrage over "Fast and Furious" and the border patrol agent that was killed as the result of the US governments attempts to deal with Mexican Drug Cartels? I didn't see anybody get their knickers in a twist over that in DA. It is just as bad - oh, but it was only one guy.......
Lalita17 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012
The right to own a gun being a law in a constitution is ridiculous in this day and age. When that was placed into the constitution during America's formation of independance it made sense, it was a time when a gun was needed by every family. Today, no one actually needs a gun. Of course, some benefit from it, as you said, to hunt, but the need isnt what it used to be.
Canadians are now in the same situation, I was in complete shock when the Harper gouvernment recently announce that Canadians whould not have to register their guns anymore. Now anyone can buy them and no one will have any record of who has a gun or not. It's truly a step backward when we're supposed to be setting an example for peace.
Lagartofero Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012
As some canadian politician pointed out in bowling for columbine, if guns made people safe, america would be the safest nation on earth.
01Ronin Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012
I am a proud American registered gun owner. I own an AR rifle, a Glock and M&P hand guns. I do not hunt. I do shoot competitively from time to time and enjoy the challenge of hitting my targets. I practice and adhere to strict fire arm safety rules and guide lines and laws. As an American i do have the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. I will defend this right with as much vigor as I would my right to the freedom of speech. As an American I will defend all of my rights, not just certain ones that "I like."

Fire arms are tools. Dumb mindless tools. They know not what they do. They do what ever their yeilder commands of them. I can kill with other tools as well - Gardening equipment, carpentry tools, a writing implement. I can use my dog or a frying pan. If I need to kill, and I hope with every molecule of my being I do not have to, each and every object is a tool, and i will use what ever means needed to accomplish that goal if need be.

America was forged on the back strap of fire arms when we sought freedom. That was a time when militias were needed. Citizens turned soldiers to defend the freedoms we wanted. Fire arms have continued to defend our freedoms ever since. Though we no long need to fight for our collective freedoms in the same way, defending our indivdual freedoms is some time needed when others feel they can barge into your home/business and lay claim to your things, or your wife, or your daughters. In times like this, I'd rather have my hand gun, loaded or not (the intruder doesn't know if it's loaded, he just knows you are willing to defend yourself!) than a phone to call for help. I saw a bumper sticker that said something along the lines of My handgun is for that split second desicion when the police are only minutes away.

Technically speaking, in this day and age, fire arms are a little out dated when some peoples are using planes and car bombs and rocket launchers.

Statistically speaking, Doctors kill more people in this country every year than do registered gun owners.

The evil that existed in that Co theater has nothing to do with the tools he used. It was entirely his sick mind. He could have just as easily walked in and started lobbing the gernades he rigged his apartment with. I'm glad he didn't, the death toll would have probably been alot higher! And though i can purchase any legal fire arm I'd like as long as I pass the required back ground checks, I can't do that with a gernade!

And as far as what other countries think of our guns, or American rights... I really don't give a sh*t! Your country, your laws. Our Country, our rules. Tend you own gardens...

So this horrible tragedy isn't about guns, and it shouldn't be made to be. That's like saying we should ban planes because of 9/11. Or cars because people are abducted in them. (It is all the same thing) we need to figure out how to make better people...
arieneforeveryoung Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012   Photographer
I think the US should have strict gun laws like Canada has, where you need to have a licence in order to own firearms, and that handguns are restricted to firing ranges and cannot be carried on the street. Even with strict laws, those who want to pickup a firearm and do damage to others will do what they want regardless, we need to be better human beings.
TheVeiledImage Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012
Is it really that simple Michael?
If you imagine that taking away guns from law abiding citizens will stop the sort of tragedy that occurred last week I believe that you are mistaken. The truth is that if one of those in the theater that night had put a bullet in the assailant’s head the death toll would have been far lower and we would not be subjected to the continuing drama of this idiot’s further adventures within the legal system.
We do not live in the utopian world where all that we need to do pass law and it will all be fixed. You are right about one thing though an unloaded gun is useless.
My own experience is has shown me that, properly used, firearms can be a force for good. In my case as a young man recently out of the Army and working in a service station in 1970 when three drug crazed criminals attempted to assault one of the younger employees and rob the station it was the fact that I happened to have a loaded pistol that prevented what could have been a very ugly event without having to fire a shot.
Firearms are not toys and should not be owned by people who do not wish to learn how to use them but just because they make you uncomfortable is no reason that I should not have them.
01Ronin Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012
Well said
transfigurated Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012
I'm a photographer in Colorado and its amazing how our community has been hit with so much gun violence.

We will prevail.

I took pictures of the Candle light vigil on Sunday night. I'd love to share them with you


I'm emotionally drained and in need of sleep. I hope you all the best!
faint-smell Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
some link. Candle light vigil/ where? Cool little people though.
Dragonwriter69 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
I feel your pain, and I shed tears for it from the bottom of my heart, I truly do. But I simply cannot believe in the idea of gun control as a magic solution.


There have always been and will always be horrible people who also happen to be amazingly driven, and those people will ALWAYS succeed at doing terrible things, whether they have guns or not.

jerb3 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
Mexico outlawed guns completely and even though it's claimed the majority of the guns come from the U.S., the fact remains they actually come from the south. To say we don't need to review our gun laws is ludicrous, but to ignore the fact that we are not the only nation that needs to do this is equal in shortsightedness. I own several handguns. I am a semi-competitive shooter. They are in a safe and only one other person knows the combination. I support completely the elimination of online ammunition and weapon purchase, having a two week to a month waiting period to receive your weapon and several other more stringent regulations to follow, but to take away my guns would be like taking away your camera because some sad, horrible few have taken taken kiddie porn pics.
madincleveland Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Professional Artist
its not a right its a privilege , I lived in Canada years ago, it amazed me people did fine without this so called right, people owned guns but they had to be licensed and registered and extreme firepower was restricted. I could walk anywhere I wanted in Toronto or Montreal any time of day or night. perfectly safe, the whole gun culture is the biggest obscenity I can think of
Gremlich Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
so are abortions to some people.
TheVortex Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
DWI's kill people too, so lets get rid of cars while we are at it.
vincentvonduhm Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
Better to have and not need, than need and not have. The way to own a gun is to pray you never have to use it.

Plus shooting is fun. The guns aren't the problem. Its education, and how easy it is for those who are mentally unwell to acquire firearms.

I hate the NRA talking point "If you outlaw guns, then only outlaws will have guns." But it's true. Plus, if no one had a gun, we'd just stab each other. It's human pragmatism.
danielleclaire Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
People are obviously fairly passionate when it comes to both sides of the argument here, and I have to say, being Australian, it all goes completely over my head.

The big spiel from the guy who called you a dumbass/scapegoat was a bit much and even though I don't really have an opinion on gun control (what right do I have to form an opinion on something I don't know about personally?) I found myself wanting to kick him in the nuts.

In any case, I was horrified at what happened in Colorado. Completely shell shocked.
eyepilot13 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The USA has a culture of Killing and murder... I don't own guns, never intend to... It , I think is a collapse of our moral and intrinsic values based on unsupervised and unregulated capitalism and TeeVeee and Movies based on action (VIOLENCE)... Why couldn't he have gone into the New York fortress of Goldman Sachs instead of real folk in a movie theater! SHIT! I don't believe in killing or violence... BUt those 1% fuckers are a French Revolution waiting to happen, but not by me!
johnnyjester Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think EVERYONE is missing the point here.

This kid....lived for 25 full years and nobody reported that he was a loose cannon or needed help? We are all guilty.

His parents CLEARLY neglected him and society ignored him. I'd like to hear what the parents, his friends, classmates, and teachers have to say about this guy. Did none of them sense some insanity with this individual? What's our responsibility here as citizens?

I met a young man once who turned about to be a murderer only a couple of years later. He killed two innocent retired people in their very own home. Did I know there was something wrong with him? Yes. The VERY first time I met him. I'm certain there were others who knew him for years that could have made the same assessment even if I am particularly gifted in sensing inner turmoil.

What I'm suggesting is that as a society we have a peculiar detachment to those of us who aren't in our "inner circle". And you know what else....we are all in a hurry. We don't have time for anyone else's problems and we see no need to be compassionate to someone who isn't related to us or a dear friend. Too many of us perhaps? Too crowded? Too busy? Just too inconvenient? I'm as guilty as anyone else, I suppose.

Gun control should always be debated but I don't think it's not the root of problem here. I think this is the price we pay for ignoring people. Some people won't be ignored and regardless....there is always a price to pay for lack of compassion. We need to give a shit....about everyone.
MatiasSoto Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I think you have a great point,really, it's definitevly a good idea to after all happened be dealt with, to be seriously considered.
Still, there's something I'd like to add: he was innocent until he was actually planning this whole thing, sometimes people choose the wrong over the right and though maybe there was a time that something could have been done for helping for him. But in reality, now we'll never know; he still went out and did that horrible thing, and people that doesn't have nothing to do him (apparently that is, at least no such connections have been made so far) are dead/wounded or traumatized , just because of his selfish actions.
I cannot forget also that very early on his parents notified the police that indeed their son was most likely the attacker, that happens to be quite a confirmation that indeed they knew he was capable of that, HIS PARENTS...I can't help that there was some serious irresponsibility on their part - that is truth. But I think it's also a bit of a stretch to call the whole society guilty for this crime precisely.
johnnyjester Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Not precisely...just generally. But the result is still the same. People who are out of their right minds identify themselves daily and sometimes several times a minute. I guarantee you that there were several teachers who were aware this kid had seriously strange ideas. Students will have known VERY early on and given him a WIDE berth. His parents were no doubt absent from his life or just downright abusive.

Remember Bowling for Columbine? The two students wore Swastika symbol arm bands in broad daylight at school if I'm not mistaken. They were crying out for help and the louder they cried the further people separated themselves from them. Everybody made light of the situation up until the moment they were open firing upon their fellow students.

We are all connected...and society IS to blame. We have no problem ignoring people who we find distasteful and we often abuse them. We have a crisis oriented society and we often don't take action until there is already severe collateral damage to innocents. It's too late to offer people psychological help after they've killed several people. I'd give specific examples where we failed as a society but I haven't heard any relevant evidence from this case yet. If police find no history of psychotic episodes they simply aren't asking the right people or the people involved don't want to be. It's an ugly, ugly issue and infinitely sad. We probably won't start to open our eyes until this happens more and more frequently. We forget so quickly...
MatiasSoto Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Maybe I find it strange because thankfully it never happened to me, I've met some disturbed kids back in the day, mostly very depressed but never to the point to make such bold character judgement claims.

I don't recall that swastika thing, but that being the case that was a huge red light right there. Which leads me to your next statement:"We have a crisis oriented society and we often don't take action until there is already severe collateral damage to innocents". That I feel is the core, and ironically also a side effect, of today's society. What I mean by that is that definition fits well with many aspects that we take for granted and think of as normal, but when a pressing situation develops around it it's when it becomes obvious how bad it is.

For example the health care, once I heard a doctor said "instead of a health care system we got a disease system, because we don't really care if the person is healthy, but just if he/she has a disease or not, and wrongfully assume that if he/she is not diseased then he/she is healthy, which is not true".An analogy can be traced to some social problems, which being much more complex subject, we can see that just caring for it when it's sick doesn't make society as whole "healthier". I tend to think there's possible to establish a parable in societies, and human social development to a personal human being development, and I think that humanity is barely in teenage years just now, so still will take many many decades for us all to grow up into maturity.

It's really sad when people and political parties try to make out magic solutions regarding shootouts, I remember a case that happened here in my country where a high school kid took a gun to class because he was being bullied and confronted his aggressors with it, but ended up shooting an innocent class mate and the girl got shot in the spine and therefore loosing the use of her legs, all voices raised and people were offended everywhere but in the end nothing was done that it could prevent something like that would happen again.

Indeed we forget too quickly, another social problem, because from the food we eat to the way we relate ourselves everything is designed and motivated to be for fast use and discard. And we got it so ingrained in our way of living that we don't even notice it much, for example the excess of sugar we consume it leads to that: refined sugar enhances the feeling of euphoria and rush, which leads to anxiety behavior and it later puts depress the mood, very much like lots of drugs, but those excessive sugary foods and drinks are also given to children with no regard of the short and long term side-effects(with little to none government restrictions of their use and quality). We behave a lot like we are driven to behave by the circumstances, with little to none options if the rest of the social conditions doesn't change as well.
johnnyjester Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree with pretty much everything you said. As a society we really don't act like adults. We are conditioned to ignore and steer away from people who are unpleasant. It's not that we don't know they need help. Everybody knows and I even hear them say it on a regular basis. Something is wrong with that guy! Or that person needs serious help! But it not our business, right?

The two kids who were wearing the Nazi armbands at school were obviously messed up. Anyone who says that's a normal teenage thing to do is mentally retarded. Kids who threaten suicide on a regular basis, also, are obviously in need of help. These are the signs that our society very often does not take seriously. Nothing bold about my character judgments in this regard. It's just common sense.

Yes our health care system is messed up. We have our incentives backwards. A doctor makes more money off of sick patients than they do from healthy ones. A doctor should have incentive to keep people off of medication rather than on it. I'm guessing a huge percentage of people go into the doctors office with common colds and common flu. It strikes me as a colossal waste of time and money. We should all know how to treat cold and flu without making a trip to the doctor. On top of that people go to work sick on a regular basis and infect everybody else...and the employers are perfectly okay with this.

But anyway....we've got a long way to go, obviously. As far as I know we have eternity. ;)
Hangman87 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
im am from the uk, i am 25 years old and today was the first time i had ever seen a real firearm in real life, it was in the holster of a police officer at an airport. americas obsession with guns serves no porpoise at all, you are totally right, these are weapons designed to kill people not game, shotguns and rifles are for hunting, not ak's and glocks.
if people feel the need to fire a real gun, then by all means do it in a controlled environment such as a firing range. just handing guns over to the general public because they put some words on paper and were looked at on a computer does not mean they are to be trusted with an instrument of death.
JASIN-KALE Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
JASIN-KALE Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
It all comes down to choices we make as a person and whether we are going to have self responsibility & accountability.

Really the same argument can and has been made about artist nudes, like one person's art is another's porn. If some serial rapist out there is using your images to keep himself entertained between crimes, (say a search of any sexual offender has images that you taken on their computer). should you lose your right to take such photos even in the name of art and beauty?

I studied Criminal Justice and that is an valid argument that is discussed. So where is the line drawn. The senseless selfish actions of one person (a coward), and all the decent common sense people have to suffer. Our government is growing to big and taking away our freedom of choices, heck it is now being put into affect u have to have health insurance, no longer a choice.

If things are to be changed there are better ways to do so. but in the end, we are thinking animals. lions are know to kill lions, it's found in every species on the planet, we just have a choice.
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