Welcome back to Aurora, Mr. President. We’re hurting, and we need your help. The entire country does.
Despite the cinematic television coverage of Friday’s vile massacre, this is the same Aurora you’ve flown in and out of as president numerous times. Aurora, and the Denver community, is going to work, getting ready for school, somberly celebrating birthdays and other events, and even getting back to morning bike rides, myself included. We are, above all, Coloradans. Not everyone can move on. Mr. President, Grandview High School graduate Alex Sullivan didn’t get to celebrate his second wedding anniversary this weekend because a madman equipped with a virtual arsenal killed Alex on Friday during the premier of the newest Batman movie. His wife woke up today to realize her worst nightmare is still true.
I’m saddened by the less-than-authentic picture the national media has painted of Aurora. The nation thinks that our community is a place where we blithely motor around to our kids’ soccer games. Where families nostalgically gather for cheerful dinners each night. Where the living was easy until Friday shattered our dream.
Mr. President, there is no such place in the country any more, and certainly not here. Aurora residents, like all Americans, are hardened to the fact that we live in a place where crazy people go to great lengths to murder as many as they can and terrorize everyone left behind. We’re an errand’s drive from Columbine High School. We, too, had friends and families perish in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. We, like the rest of the country, have watched TV cameras pointed in the faces of moms, dads, girlfriends, pals and children being terrorized by the actions of a madman in places like Virgina Tech and Ft. Hood.
We grimly understand that it was simply our turn. And just how pathetic is that? As a community, as a country, we’ve come to accept that there will be no gun-laws to help stop these kinds of massacres because a small-but-powerful political lobby holds America in its relentless grip. Instead, we all must wait our turn for terror to come home to us.
It was our turn, Mr. President, and it hurts beyond words.
We need your help, Mr. President. I’m not so naive as to believe that we can change the country’s gun and weapon laws to drastically make us all safer from madmen like Aurora’s gruesome murderer, or even each other. But for the sake of all that’s sane, we have got to do something so that deranged people can’t put together a lethal arsenal of utterly destructive weapons faster and easier than you can get license plates for your car.
No one is more appreciative than I am of America’s unparalleled free-press and free-speech laws, but if I go into a crowded theater and yell, “fire,” I go to jail. However, misled gun-rights activists want to make sure I can arm myself like a well-financed soldier anywhere, any time. It’s that kind of insanity that leads to this kind of insanity.
All I’m asking for, Mr. President, is that the country at least find a way to limit access to weapons that are created only to kill large numbers of people instantly and efficiently. I’m asking that people who collect enough ammunition to start an army be asked, “why?” If I were to buy thousands of pounds of fertilizer, rest assured I’d be talking to someone from the government. But I can buy thousands, or tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition as easily and privately as I can get roofing nails or baseball cards.
Like all Americans, I know that crazy people intent on wreaking mass havoc can find ways to run their cars into crowds or poison bottles of pain reliever. But the argument by gun-rights lobbyists that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is just plain bullshit. People who think that compound bows and switchblades are just as dangerous as an automatic weapon haven’t worked in a coroner’s office or seen local hospital emergency rooms set up like a triage unit outside a battlefield. They’re dead wrong.
Mr. President, we need you to be the one to bring lawmakers together to see reason. No one else can. I would be crazy to believe that even after a little girl was murdered for going to the movies with her mom, that Congress would put aside partisanship. But I would hope that despite the politics in Washington, you, and this country’s political leaders, could at least create some common-sense weapon regulations that provides peace for 79 Aurora moviegoers and their families.
It can’t wait, Mr. President. Unless you and the rest of Washington do something, it will be someone else’s turn to host the world’s newspaper and TV cameras documenting the anguish of another massacre. Please honor the last 79 gun-shot victims by preventing the next ones.
Reach Aurora Sentinel Editor Dave Perry at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]