On The Heritage Foundation’s “Istook Live!” radio broadcast Friday morning, Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) proclaimed that the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, was due to “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs.” Gohmert does not represent the majority of people speaking out about this tragic shooting, but nonetheless to categorize this horrific event as an attack on religion is reprehensible. The motivations of the shooter are still unknown, as radio show host Ernest Istook was quick to point out, but regardless of the motivation, to use such a devastating event for political gain is disrespectful of all of those affected by the tragedy.
Gohmert also argued that had someone else in the theater had a gun, casualties could have been avoided. “It does make me wonder,” Gohmert stated, “with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?” Colorado does have concealed carry laws on the books that allows residents to carry concealed handguns with a permit, a law that was recently affirmed by the Colorado Supreme Court in March.
Gohmert’s solution to the issue of extreme violence and senseless killings is not to limit access to guns, but rather to let them proliferate so everyone may defend themselves with the assistance of a deadly weapon. If Gohmert had his way, we would return to the days of the Wild West. Universal gun ownership cannot be the answer to the epidemic of violence in this country. Violence begets violence, and we should be trying to curb this cycle as a country, not encourage it. Gohmert’s proposition is a dangerous one, and one that should not be treated lightly.
I said earlier that the shooting in Colorado should not be used for political gain and I truly believe that. However, events like these should encourage civil, non-partisan dialogue on issues of gun control and violence in this country. To use this event to further divide an already divided country along party or religious lines is wrong and does not respect those affected by the tragedy. Let us sit down and have a frank, open, and civil discussion about these issues. This discussion will not bring back the t12 victims of the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, but perhaps it can help prevent the deaths of 12 more somewhere else.