Jerry Moore: Should Colorado shooting raise issue of gun control?

Jerry Moore

As he was leaving Cimemark at Seven Bridges IMAX in Woodridge, Ill., last week, Lyndon Viteri offered some thoughts that testify to a sad aspect of life in our society.

“Violence happens no matter what,” Viteri said. “You could go anywhere. You could go buy ice cream, and you could get shot.”

Viteri was speaking to a local newspaper reporter July 20 for a story on the shooting earlier that day in Colorado. During a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” 12 people were killed and 58 wounded when someone began firing into the crowded auditorium.

Many moviegoers said the shooting weighed heavily on their minds. But some thought the theaters in their area had made efforts to boost security, which made them feel safer.

Other reactions from across the nation were typical for something as senseless as this. People are once again debating how to keep firearms out of the wrong hands.

Such incidents always provoke the question, “What can we do to prevent things like this from happening?” In a word, nothing. We have a huge population that makes up a free society steeped in violence.

This question ignores the fact that what laws we have might well have thwarted untold similar atrocities. We don’t know how many unstable people were prevented from obtaining weapons and committing mass murder because the events never happened.

But every once in a while, a deranged individual will take advantage of our freedoms and rationalize that violence is good. There is no feasible way to prevent such incidents like this from ever occurring.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a vigorous debate on how to limit access to guns. Owning firearms is a constitutional right, but they are lethal weapons. Regulating them in an effective way must be on the table.

Even so, this won’t mean shootings like the one in Colorado won’t ever happen again. We could enact more gun control measures, but don’t expect a panacea.

Rick Pierson of Naperville, Ill., observed in that newspaper article that we must always weigh the risks of living in a free society.

“(Y)ou can’t just suppress yourself,” he said. “You can’t live in fear.”

Jerry Moore is the opinions editor for Suburban Life Publications in Illinois. Contact him at (630) 368-8930