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Colorado, Guns and Piers Morgan

July 22, 2012

So everyone is talking and thinking about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. I’m no different, I’m thinking a lot about it and now I’m talking about it. In truth, I wish everyone would just stop and after this, I will.

As usual I have the feeling that the news stations really love stories like this because they can exploit them for ratings and that thought makes me a little sick. Someone else that makes me a little sick is people politicizing the tragedy at the expense of the human beings involved. Friday night MSNBC was running a scroll along the bottom of the screen showing viewer tweets and the majority of them were trying to blame guns in one way or another while calling for stricter gun control laws so obviously it’s a popular stance.

Piers Morgan from CNN, a guy who’s always struck me as somewhat of a pompous blowhard and who always has something to say used both his Twitter feed and his television show to politicize the tragedy and tickle the troubled minds of Americans who sadly spend more and more of a post-9/11 life living in higher levels of fear by predicting an upswing in gun violence now as more people will buy guns for protection. He also called for a renewed move toward stricter gun control laws. If that weren’t enough, Morgan challenged one of his guests Friday evening, David Kopel, a Denver, Colorado, law professor who said now wasn’t the time to talk about gun control; now was the time to pay attention to the victims, and he believed that a segment like the one he, Morgan, was hosting, was better left until after all the funerals had been held. Of course, media whores are savvy and they know that by the time the funerals are over there might be another tragedy and another carcass to pick at which means media vultures like Piers Morgan won’t have time for the meaty gun control debate any longer because that new misfortune will need immediate attention if one is going to take advantage of the moment. Or worse, there won’t be a tragedy to feast on. So in other words, humanity be damned, strike while the iron is hot and people are watching and the commercial rates are up.

Morgan, showing no respect for his guest’s opinion, interrupted him by talking over him and then went on to defend his personal position of the victims and survivors as little more than collateral damage. He continued to serve his, and his station’s, interests and dumped a bunch of flowery and mildly incendiary rhetoric on his guest and closed with a chest-thumping, “. . . don’t patronize me, about when we should be talking about the gun control debate.” Wow, Piers, you told him, huh?

In fairness, Mr. Kopel was allowed to respond and he did so by reiterating his point that now is not the time for the gun control debate and he challenged Morgan’s belief that removing guns will equal less violence by saying there is no real evidence to back up that claim and that there is no need to rush to judgement when we don’t have all the information on the shooter, and no need to rush into a pro/con argument. As Kopel told Morgan that he wasn’t trying to stop him from having this segment, only questioning why not on Wednesday to allow people a bit of breathing room, he was interrupted. “Okay,” Morgan said. “You’ve made your point on that. Let’s move to…”

Beautiful. When did CNN sink to the level of Jerry Springer?

How many lives were forever changed by the shooting, Piers? Would it be safe to say that between the people who were murdered and the people who were injured and their families and loved ones, there might be hundreds of people whose lives are going to be changed forever, but because of this tragedy you couldn’t care less about them because seeing your face on television and pushing your agenda and making money at the expense of those people is apparently the best use of your influence.

Shameful. How about I just move to another channel?

I didn’t start this to rant about Piers Morgan but I approach a lot of these blog posts as stream of consciousness writing and that’s sort of where I veered.

The Shooting and Gun Control

Call me what you want, but I’m a Liberal. I’m a Progressive. I’m about as far to the left as a person can go without falling off the continuum. I grew up listening to Hubert Humphrey and then Walter Mondale and then I learned by listening to the man who should have been president, Paul Wellstone. By all accounts I should be lined up with every anti-gun person in the country calling for exactly what Piers Morgan is talking about, but I’m not. It’s not that I like handguns but a handgun didn’t commit that mass murder in Colorado on Friday, a person with an apparent lifetime of problems did. Take away his handguns and rifles and he would have found another way. He would have burned the theater down, or he would have used his car to run people down on the sidewalk. So would anyone have us regulate and ban matches and automobiles? Anything can kill but it needs a person at the other end of the device to turn it into a weapon and a killing implement. This guy had guns and the result was tragic but put a gun in my hand and I’m not going to turn around and massacre a theater full of innocents so the handgun isn’t the issue here. Sure, a handgun lends itself to killing people much easier and more effectively than something like butter knife, but I’m not convinced that ease of use is the issue because, as the proverb tells us, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Those are my thoughts and I’m not going to make myself guilty of what I’m complaining about by politicizing the issue other than to say that a total and complete national ban on all handguns and rifles would not stop a James Eagen Holmes from killing people.

Aside from the deaths and the injuries, the saddest things about this tragedy is that I think it reaffirms the fact that something is really wrong with our society and it puts us just one step closer to living a life under the daily fear of violence from our neighbors. Something the Israeli’s have been living with for decades and something I’m personally not ready for.

For me, personally, stuff like this is difficult because I really want to believe that people are good and that they have worth. So while I’m thinking about the victims and offering them my prayers in my own small way, I’m going to save one, a little one, for James Eagen Holmes too, and hope that the next person in line growing up will never be driven to do what Holmes did or suffer from the pain he caused.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2012 7:13 pm

    I am with you in not liking the way the news people sensationalize tradgedies. I hate it. I am not against the news being broadcast, but not for it being used for ratings.

    The gun issue… I recently read a facebook post that pointed out that criminals already don’t obey laws, so what good will it do to make more. I am ambiguous about guns. My husband and I don’t own any at this time, but that doesn’t mean I think no one should.

    For now, I think I will get comfortable on the fence I am sitting on and think some more on the topic before I present an opinion.


  2. Gary Wallace permalink
    July 23, 2012 8:03 pm

    Michael, you are right – it is way too early to talk about gun control and the shooting. I can’t help but wonder if these pundits had lost a brother or sister or child or fiancee to the shooter how they would feel about talk about guns and bullets and shredded flesh and whether or not the suspect would have killed more or fewer if he used a bomb or a hand grenade or a machete or a car, and what would have happened if five or ten people in the audience had been armed. NONE OF THIS MATTERS RIGHT NOW! Let us mourn for awhile and bury our dead and send positive thoughts to the living. We have plenty of time for a second amendment discussion but please – not right now. Every time I hear a debate about guns it breaks my heart all over again.


  3. Craggus permalink
    July 25, 2012 7:13 am

    Must admit that I disagree with your opinion (not about Piers Morgan, the bloke is a dick). I find it a really sad state of affairs that gun sales have reportedly surged in Colorado in the last few days, and you can’t just shrug and brush it under the carpet. “Take away his handguns and rifles and he would have found another way”… you could apply this lame sort of argument to any law or rule. Why have speeding limits if some people still drive above them? It’s about percentages, reducing risks….

    But hey, we are all entitled to our opinions.


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      July 29, 2012 6:32 pm

      I agree, you can apply it to anything, but the argument isn’t fallacious. And just because it can be applied to anything, I don’t know that that necessarily means applying it to handguns is wrong or that the gun control mantra of ‘more guns equals more crime’ is correct. There are upwards of 300 million guns in people’s hands in the US. Obviously not everyone has a gun so if you figure gun owners have upwards of a half dozen guns each, that means about 50,000,000 people have guns. Consider that the majority of gun deaths are suicides, the number of homicides from handgun deaths is relatively speaking, small and, since we obviously don’t have 300 million or 50 million homicides from handguns in the US each year, the group committing the crimes is small. The threat, while there, isn’t, as we might be led to believe, epidemic. Better we follow the laws we currently have in place, which this guy, to the best of my knowledge, did, before requiring new laws which only work to limit personal choice and freedom.


  4. August 4, 2012 9:20 pm

    The day after I was glued to the news as we waited to hear the identities of the victims. As we waited anxiously and hoped the phone wouldn’t ring to bear bad news. After that, I turned the news off and I haven’t read anything more of the shooter or anything else. I couldn’t bear to listen to the debates about guns and I didn’t want to know about Holmes’ life…who he was, why he did it.

    I wrote about guns several months ago. Like you, I’m about as far left as I can possibly get. And yet, I am against stricter gun control laws. Like you, I believe it is our society that is sick. Not guns. I wish we would put more effort toward helping those who would do such things and less on restricting law-abiding citizens access to guns. Had there been one person in that theater armed and with a CWL (concealed weapon license) what would have been the victim count? I don’t know. But I wonder.


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