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Tim Myers: No quick fix for gun issues in US

Posted: July 27, 2012 7:44 p.m.
Updated: July 27, 2012 7:44 p.m.

My heart turned over Friday morning, July 20.

I arise at 4:30 a.m. on most mornings and immediately pick up my iPhone off the charger to check overnight emails and other items of interest. I subscribe to the CNN Breaking News email alert, and on this morning while walking down the stairs I read with a sinking feeling the tale of carnage and massacre from Aurora, Colo., that unfolded at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Almost at the moment my feet hit the bottom of the stairs and I heard the front door open, and through it came our youngest son, fresh from a 1:15 a.m. showing of the same film at the Westfield Valencia Town Center. One can imagine my strange feelings at the connections this made in my mind.

Of the 12 fatalities that occurred in the atrocity, two victims were approximately the age of our youngest son, spared, along with countless others attending numerous showings across the nations during that fateful overnight, from the perfect storm of profound mental illness and delusion coupled with a mind that still possessed the ability to organize, plan and execute.

Perhaps most disturbing? The alleged shooter came from a suburb in San Diego County that looks much like the shiny newness of Santa Clarita, got raised in an intact and stable family — the gold standard of suburban culture — received a gilt-edged education from the University of California system, and seemed on his way to great academic and scientific accomplishments at the University of Colorado before something went horribly wrong.

How can one process the randomness of these events? It seems the human condition requires the finding of answers and explanations.

People of a certain political view trumpet the need for gun laws to prevent the acquisition of arms by the obviously mentally ill. Those of an opposite political persuasion, fearing the loss of certain Second Amendment freedoms, argue that sufficient “strapping” of the theater patrons could prevent the massacre by a well placed bullet, never mind the shooter’s preparation for that by utilizing body armor.

Both sides of the debate seem wrong to me. No amount of law or regulation could in every case prevent a particularly determined and disturbed individual from executing on this plan. An extremely heavily armed population could also result in accidental shootings.

Both sides of the debate, though they don’t realize it, share a common purpose and a coping mechanism. By pretending that one can take steps, either personally or collectively, to prevent or mitigate these tragedies probably helps them to sleep at night with at least marginally less anxiety.

The sad fact that we don’t want to face? Chaos erupts all around us, but generally on a slow-motion basis, so that we can rationalize and cope.

Consider the case of the Santa Clarita Valley. Since May at least seven motorcyclists lost their lives on area roads due to accidents. Young, otherwise healthy men continue to die in circumstances termed “accidental” but never further explained, at least in the case of the general public’s knowledge.

Despite this reality, when the carnage comes fast and furious, like it did in that theater after midnight in Aurora, our peace of mind immediately fails and we must go searching for answers and, unfortunately, none exist.

A society cannot pass and enforce enough laws, and individuals can’t procure enough guns and ammunition, to prevent and forestall the horror from happening in the first place — and certainly not enough to prevent it from happening again in the future.

So what can we do? On that Friday morning our shocked son got more than he bargained for when he found his normally Midwestern reticent and stoic father fiercely embracing his tall frame that towers over me by nearly 6 inches.

Frankly just happy that he stood there safe and sound before me so that I could enjoy that moment, knowing that in Aurora, 12 families would see that door never open with the return of their loved ones.

Timothy Myers is a Valencia resident.


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