I wasn’t originally going to write about yesterday’s tragedy in Aurora because for as horrible as it was, there’s no evidence that I’m aware of to support the notion that there was any kind of religious motivation to the killings. That said, I would still encourage everyone to keep everyone who was either injured or lost loved ones, family, or friends in yesterday’s attack in their thoughts (or prayers if you’re into that sort of thing).
I changed my mind because of a Heritage Foundation radio interview with Tea Party Congressman Louis Gohmert (R-TX) who immediately began blaming the incident on our “loss of faith” and the repeated attacks on Judeo-Christian values and morality in this country. He doesn’t mention atheism by name, but he doesn’t really have to.
“You know what really gets me, as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of terror like this takes place,” Gohmert said.
“Some of us happen to believe that when our founders talked about guarding our virtue and freedom, that that was important,” he said. “Whether it’s John Adams saying our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people … Ben Franklin, only a virtuous people are capable of freedom, as nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters … We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country.”
Ernest Istook, the host of the show and a former Oklahoma congressman, jumped in to clarify that nobody knows the motivation of the alleged Aurora gunman. Gohmert said that may be true, but suggested the shootings were still “a terrorist act” that could have been avoided if the country placed a higher value on God.
“People say … where was God in all of this?” Gohmert said. “We’ve threatened high school graduation participations, if they use God’s name, they’re going to be jailed … I mean that kind of stuff. Where was God? What have we done with God? We don’t want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present.”
Way to stay classy, Louis. You witnessed a horrible event with a dozen innocent people killed and something like 50 wounded … and instead of saying something statesmanlike to help bring the country and its people together, you decided to blame the tragedy on people who don’t think the same way you do about “God” and the role religion should play in our secular society? I know people like us are easy scapegoats for your little pet causes, but unless you focus a little more on gun control, it’s not going to have much of an effect.
He also asked the next obvious question, as a GOP politician from Texas:
Gohmert also said the tragedy could have been lessened if someone else in the movie theater had been carrying a gun and took down the lone shooter. Istook noted that Colorado laws allow people to carry concealed guns.
“It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?” he asked.
Whenever I hear this guy speak, I am left with the unshakable impression that someone scooped his brain out with a garden shovel and replaced it with a bag of used cat litter. It’s entirely possible there were people in there with concealed carry permits and the weapons on their persons. It’s also possible that they were shot before they were able to
- identify the situation as a threat …
- stay calm after realizing that this is a life-or-death situation and having the adrenaline and tunnel vision kick in …
- locate the suspect in the crowded, dark, noisy, tear-gas-filled room …
- draw the weapon and take the safety off …
- get a clear shot with everyone frantically running to get out of the line of fire …
- fire without killing anyone else.
Given that scenario, it’s even more likely they’d be shot by another person doing the same thing as our would-be hero. Seriously, I don’t trust people when they’re behind the wheel of a goddamned car, and they’re not designed specifically to take someone’s life. This guy expects me to believe that if a half dozen or so people in that theater had guns, there wouldn’t have been more death and carnage than what we saw here tonight? I find that extremely difficult to believe. Again, just look at people trying to get out of a church parking lot on any given Sunday. You will know what I’m talking about.
But hey, Louie got in both of his talking points – God and Guns! And he took a swipe at all of us uppity liberals who think compulsory prayer has no place in taxpayer funded schools.
Mission accomplished: tragedy exploited!