On Friday, July 20, 2012, 24-year-old neuroscience student James Eagan Holmes stormed into an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater — where a midnight premiere of Christopher Nolan's film the Dark Knight Rises had just started to play — set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.
The "Batman shooting" was just one of the multiple mass shootings that happened in the United States in 2012, the latest of which was the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting — in Newtown, Connecticut — where 28 people, including 20 children, the gunman and his mother were killed on Friday, December 14.
Understandably, these tragic events have triggered a reexamination of the issue of guns in America. However, another event involving guns and a movie theater — this time during a screening of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey in San Antonio, Texas — could offer a solution that neither gun control nor more praying in schools advocates have brought.
According to PolicyMic's Tom McKay, a gunman who chased restaurant customers into the lobby of the Santikos Mayan 14 theater before opening fire and injuring two was prevented by an armed off-duty security officer from potentially becoming a James Holmes copycat. The officer "was able to corner the gunman in a restroom and shoot him multiple times before disarming and handcuffing him."
And though McKay argues for more gun control, this episode could also highlight the need for armed undercover security agents in public spaces such as movie theaters, shopping centers and — yes — elementary schools to protect innocent lives from random mass shootings (while avoiding the need for potentially untrained citizens to carry guns for self-protection).
This would be a potential solution to the increasing problem of random mass shootings in America, an issue that predictably has divided the nation between staunch supporters of the Second Amendment and those who think only government-sponsored and trained officials should carry (and use) firearms.
The solution to America's gun problem doesn't have to be an either or proposition: let intact Americans sacred right to arm themselves, but provide armed security agents for the protection and safety of citizens. Guns also save lives.