The problem with knee-jerk reactions is they're so knee-jerk

Friday morning we woke up to yet another horrific, senseless act of violence. Innocent people murdered while watching a Batman movie. Moments after the news broke the knee-jerk reactions started.

Immediately on Twitter people like Piers Morgan were calling for more gun control. Several Hollywood celebs like Jason Alexander began ranting. (Hollywood may want to look at its role in all this)

New York Mayor Bloomberg took to the airwaves before the victims had even been moved from the crime scene to declare stricter gun control is needed.

Brian Ross of ABC News disgraced himself by tossing out without a shred of proof the name of an innocent man in order to promote this might be the work of a crazed Tea Party member.

And so the day went. Folks on Facebook and Twitter understandably angry wanting to blame this on something. People were behaving as people are wont to do when trying to explain the inexplicable. There has to be something done to stop this from happening again.

I couldn’t join in the debate. By nature I’m one to wait. I guess you can say my knee-jerk reaction is to not have a knee-jerk reaction. I sit, I listen, I observe and I wait. Then I collect my thoughts.

Coincidentally, as I was busy processing the gory details of the events that took place in that movie theater, I was reminded of another evil that took place.

You see, my father was wounded in action July 22, 1944 fighting the battle of Guam. His closest buddy was killed in action that day. The date sticks in my head.

What does one have to do with the other?

As I sat listening to Glenn Miller music, remembering my father and his friend I thought about the pain inflicted on so many during WWII. That made me think of the pain being felt in Aurora and what the two very different events have in common.


Just as my father’s generation knew and understood in WWII; there’s evil in the world. In the process of combating that evil there was great loss and sacrifice. Nonetheless after fighting and prevailing, it was understood although good triumphed that day, evil is always waiting to return.

So now that the knee-jerking time has passed and I’ve had time to collect my thoughts I’ve decided what I’ll take away from this tragedy.

I don’t see this as a gun control issue at all. No doubt there are many crafting ways to make it harder for sane people to obtain firearms. (It’s the law abiding who follow the laws, not the criminals.)

The hair-splitters can fight over how many bullets should be in a magazine until they’re blue in the face. A crazy mind will simply find another method.

Aurora already has strict gun laws in place. This didn’t prevent the crime from happening.

Mexico has restrictive gun laws. There’s only one legal place to buy a gun in the country and it takes about a month for a purchase to be approved. Yet this hasn’t inhibited the cartels.

Norway isn’t exactly a gun mecca, yet innocent teens were mowed down by a mad man there.

Murder has been illegal since the beginning of time, yet we haven’t found a way to stop it from happening.

I guess the “we need more gun control” response doesn’t move me because despite all the ammo counting, registries, laws, restrictions, waiting periods and bans there’s always going to be evil in the world. From that fact we can never escape.

For me the question isn’t one of how to control the guns, but rather it’s a question of how as a free society do we protect our selves from a deranged mind?

Try as we may, we can never legislate away evil or crazy. Rather than reflexively proposing more gun control we should focus on the warning signs.

There were signs this deranged mind in Aurora was breaking down. There were no doubt warnings missed along the way to that theater. As a society it’s time we look evil in its face instead of blaming the tools evil uses.

I won’t be joining the cries for more restrictive gun laws. Not because I’m a gun lover, because I’m not. I’m afraid of guns, but like to know there may be a skilled, legal gun owner in the crowd in case a mad man appears.

Instead, I’m going to pray for the victims of this tragedy. There’s no way to make sense of a senseless act and they’re no doubt grappling with this harsh reality. Our prayers will do more to support them now than anything.

There’s evil in the world and always will be. Each generation has faced various forms of evil. Perhaps it’s time this generation asks itself the bigger question; why are young male loners breaking down and what can we do to stop them? In so doing this generation will combat yet another evil.