I just heard about the Colorado movie theater massacre (and I think it's a true massacre), and I'm shocked and saddened on several levels. I'm shocked because this kind of thing really doesn't happen on a regular basis in this country, no matter what some folks, including the mass media, would like us to believe. I'm saddened for those injured and those who lost friends and loved ones, and I'm saddened because this will be another rallying point for those who would like to see law-abiding citizens stripped of their right to defend themselves in appropriate ways from those who would victimize or oppress them (think: 95 lb. woman dropping a would-be 200 lb. attacker in a deserted parking lot). Stand by for the usual "ban (whatever the kid was carrying) immediately or this will happen again!) arguments.
No, I don't support people who like to go on shooting sprees against innocent non-combatants/assailants. This kid in no way represents the mentally stable, law-abiding average gun owner, several million of whom did NOT murder anybody this week, so let's just get some perspective. A few days ago I shared a link to the recent incident in a Florida internet cafe where two nutjob crooks burst in with intent to rob and potentially wound/kill with a blunt instrument and a (probably stolen) gun, and were summarily winged and routed by a gentleman with a concealed carry permit and a legally owned firearm. I choose to focus on that much happier and more representative story, because I think it more accurately illustrates the status of gun ownership in the United States.
It's really too bad that there wasn't somebody like that gentleman from the Florida incident in that movie house. It's terrible that a mentally disturbed person like that was able to get his hands on a firearm and that nobody noticed him until it was too late. As the details of this story are uncovered I will not be surprised to hear that this kid's social situation does not represent that of the typical legal gun-owner in this country. We already have quite thorough background checks and other red-tape in place when it comes to buying/selling firearms. Guns used in crimes can't really be controlled by making more laws, because they are usually not obtained through legal means. At this point I'm blathering, so I'll stop.
We live in a fallen, flawed world populated by fallible people. Nasty things like this are going to happen. It's natural to want to create order out of chaos, but the chaotic folks are the least likely to be affected by these attempts. I think it's better for the moral, non-chaotic people to develop the tool kit, psychological and material, to deal with threats like this instead. This kept our ancestors alive and the bad guys, whether it's a cave lion or a thug, at bay.
Bonus thought: How would this scenario have played out in Switzerland?