Do We Really Need These Weapons?

I was in a theater Thursday night / Friday morning, one of the thousands who saw “Dark Knight Rises” on its opening night.

We actually went to a marathon; for $25, we got all three Batman movies. And a small popcorn.

It was a great family fun night. I loved each movie (hadn’t yet seen them!) and was very impressed by the whole experience.

Driving home at 3AM, I pondered the unique experience I had; sharing a theatre for nine hours with a crowd of people I didn’t know (save Marc behind us and Lenny and Lindsay up front). We entered as strangers; we left as strangers, still; but with a shared experience that somehow united us.

It was fleeting, for sure; but there it was. I watched three brilliantly made movies, and I was moved emotionally, and I felt like I wasn’t alone. It made me want to go see movies more often, like that weird commercial they play before the previews with the shrinking screen. Maybe it really is better together, this movie experience.

I went home satisfied, by the artistic experience, my reaction to it and the fact that I was part of a tribe of people who were willing to spend $25 and nine hours to see all three Batman movies.

And then I woke up Friday morning, and I saw a blurb on Facebook, and I thought, “What?”, and all my satisfaction swirling down the drain in a peculiar mix of disgust and sorrow. My experience was tainted because some other tribe – somehow part of my tribe as humans simply watching a movie – these innocent folks were assaulted and destroyed. Even those who escaped with their lives now were destroyed, because how do you sit through something like that and ever be the same again? Some part of you has to wither, some part of your soul, the place where you do simple things and know you’re safe, the place where anxiety stays under lock and key because it’s just a movie, for God’s sake, and everybody goes to the movies.

Everybody goes to school.

Everybody goes to college.

It troubles me, it disturbs me, and I know there’s nothing we can do, the guy had issues, he was crazy, whatever.

But I can’t help but wonder why the guy with issues was able to walk into a movie theater – everybody goes to the movies – with a semi-automatic weapon able to fire 100 rounds before he had to stop.

I’ve never stood on a soapbox to spout my position regarding gun control; I’m not about to do so now. I just want somebody to explain this to me. Somebody tell me why people in this country own semi-automatic weapons. 

I’m serious. Tell me, because I honestly don’t know. What do you hunt with a weapon that has this kind of firepower?

Other than people?

2 thoughts on “Do We Really Need These Weapons?

  1. I think I can give an ok perspective on this question. Firstly, the term “semi-automatic” is thrown around by many people as if it means some mid range machine gun, which is not the case. A semi-automatic firearm uses an action (the sum of all moving mechanisms in the gun) in which you typically load a magazine and chamber a round. When the trigger is pulled once, one projectile is fired, and the gun's mechanical design loads a new round. The trigger must be pulled again for the second round to fire. This is unlike a “fully automatic” firearm, where you pull and hold the trigger once and rounds fire continually until the ammo in the magazine is depleted.

    The term semi-automatic has no bearing on a firearm's firepower. “When police arrested Holmes, he was armed with an AR-15 assault rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and a Glock .40-caliber handgun, Oates said. Police found an additional Glock .40-caliber handgun in his car, parked just outside the theater's rear emergency exit, he said.” (Chicago Tribune) All four firearms cited by the police are semi-automatic guns and have very different kinds of power, which is mainly determined by the ammunition used. I believe some AR-15s have burst (3 or 5 bullets fired per trigger pull) or fully auto capabilities, but the article I found does not specify. Furthermore, and I know that this is beside the point, but no firearm available for citizen purchase can fire 100 rounds without pause. When you carry 3 or 4, however, this type of destruction is possible.

    I personally own three 12 gauge shotguns for hunting and target competition. Shotguns are normally used to hunt small fowl (dove, quail, woodcock, duck, etc.), but can be used to hunt deer. We have an AR-15 in our home; we decided to purchase one when President Clinton instituted the Federal Assault Weapons Ban prohibiting their future production in 1994. This ban on production ended in 2004, however. In any case, these guns are very common and serve many purposes, including hunting, target practice and recreation, armament for our military, and personal defense.

    Firearms have been very central to my life, and learning to use them properly was essential to my development of discipline, respect for man and for nature, and emotional control. Of course, these tools can be used incorrectly and for harmful purposes. However trite, I've always been of the opinion that if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. Knowing that citizens have the 2nd Amendment does indeed deter a number of potential criminals. I am not trying to belittle the awful tragedy that has occurred, but I shudder to imagine the crimes that would occur if gun ownership was determined illegal.


  2. We too have a similar collection, and respect their proper role. In order to use any tool properly, you must practice, so practice as recreation and discipline is important, but the most compelling reason to own is for self defense against equally armed (or much better armed) evil men. Hunting is an important tradition, but high capacity arms apply mainly to worst case self defense scenarios. Travis is correct on most things, but the burst mode is only available on true military M-16s, not on an AR-15. In regard to this horrible, well planned murderous attack: The theater was a “gun-free” zone…sitting ducks. There were several men in the audience with battle training, but who obeyed the rules. Had anyone been allowed to carry, one round from a 45 caliber handgun would have been enough to stop Holmes despite his Kevlar.

    A former victim of armed home invasion,
    Luke 22:36


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