Addressing the press for the firsttime just before 2p.m. Fridayafternoon, Colorado Gov. JohnHickenlooper, a Democrat,appeared to give a nod to the guncontrol debate that seems torenew strength every time anisolated and senseless incident of violence results in Americandeaths.“We can’t allow people that areaberrations of nature to take awaythe joys and freedoms that weenjoy,” Hickenlooper said, inspite of the tragedy and emotion.Admirably, the morningfollowing the tragic theatershooting in Aurora, Colo. hasbrought statements of sympathyand compassion from both sidesof the aisle in Congress, and fewpolitical pronouncements that usethe horrific incident as a prop.Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y)who promptly called for strongergun control legislation in thewake of the shooting that injuredthen- Congresswoman GabrielleGiffords in 2011, released astatement with a much moremuted message this morning.“The horrific nightmare of a massshooting on innocent civilians in acrowded public place has, sadly,come true once again. I mournalongside the people of Aurora forthe many killed and injured andthe countless family and friendswhose lives, as a result of theconsequences of this event, willbe negatively affected for decadesto come,” she said.At the end of the statement camethe only hint at an agenda: “Theshooter should be brought to justice and prosecuted to thefullest extent of the law. But weas a nation should also notcontinue to ignore avenues toprevent tragedies like this fromhappening in the future.”Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.),who has previously promised torenew a ban on assault weapons,also downplayed politics in hisreaction statement.“Colorado is not a violent place,but we have some violent people,”he said. We are a strong andresilient community, and we willlean on each other in the days,weeks and months to come.”New York Mayor MichaelBloomberg, an outspoken guncontrol advocate, did take to theairwaves this morning, calling onPresident Barack Obama andRepublican presumptive nomineeto address the policy issuedirectly.“I mean, there are so manymurders with guns every day, it’s just got to stop,” he told radiostation WOR.Mitt Romney, speaking earliertoday, opted for a more unifyingmessage, telling a crowd theyshould take the opportunity tocomfort the afflicted in their livesduring this time of nationalsadness.“This is a time for each of us tolook at our hearts and rememberhow much we love one another,”he said.Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)took an opposite tack in aHeritage Foundation radiointerview, calling the shootings anact of terrorism and suggestinganother armed person in thetheater could have apprehendedshooting suspect James Holmesand mitigated the violence.With so little known about themotives of the shooter and whattook place in theater Number 9last night, it seems too early tomake any broad pronouncementabout this tragedy and what itmeans for the nation.This entry passed through theFull-Text RSSservice — if this isyour content and you're reading iton someone else's site, please readthe FAQ atfivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.FiveFiltersrecommends:IncineratingAssange - The Liberal Media GoTo Work .
REFILE TO CORRECT TYPOIN BYLINE People react outsideGateway High School a fewblocks from the scene of theCentury 16 Theatre shootings inAurora, Colorado July 20, 2012.Credit: Reuters/ Evan SemonByJohn WhitesidesandDavidIngramWASHINGTON| Fri Jul 20, 20125:32pm EDT(Reuters) - Denver MayorMichael Hancock is a member of a coalition called Mayors AgainstIllegal Guns, but when he issued astatement expressing shock andhorror on Friday after a massshooting at a Colorado movietheater, he had nothing to sayabout gun control.Neither did President Barack Obama nor his Republican rivalMitt Romney, though bothcanceled campaign speeches onFriday and expressed sorrow forthe victims of the shootingrampage.The killing of 12 people at amidnight screening of the newBatman movie in the Denversuburb of Aurora may spark afresh round of soul-searching onAmerica's relationship with gunsbut few predict any real change inthe law.That's because gun controladvocates have largely lost theargument against the much morepowerful gun lobby, andpoliticians know the issue is toxicwith voters.One of the few politicians whohas long taken a stand is NewYork Mayor Michael Bloomberg,the billionaire backer of MayorsAgainst Illegal Guns, a coalitionof mayors advocating for stricterrules on gun sales and ownership.Speaking on WOR Radio onFriday, Bloomberg called onObama and Romney to tell thepublic what they would do toreduce gun violence."Soothing words are nice, butmaybe it's time that the twopeople who want to be presidentof the United States stand up andtell us what they are going to doabout it," he said."I don't think there's any otherdeveloped country in the worldthat has remotely the problem wehave," Bloomberg said. "We havemore guns than people in thiscountry."Most Americans, however, donot believe that tougher gun lawswould be the solution. Galluppolls over the last two decadesshow the percentage of Americanswho favor making gun controllaws "more strict" fell from 78percent in 1990 to 44 percent in2010.The Brady Center to Prevent GunViolence, the largest and oldest of America's gun-control groups, is afraction of its peak size. Thecenter and an affiliated politicalarm had revenue of $5.9 millionin 2010, the most recent year forwhich information is publiclyavailable - down 27 percent inthree years.In the same year, the powerfulpro-gun lobby, the National RifleAssociation (NRA), and itsvarious components took in $253million from individuals, gunmakers and sellers and othersupporters.Even Democratic supporters of efforts to keep a tighter rein onweapons were relatively mumafter the shooting.Democrats in conservative andrural states fear alienating gunowners and the NRA, and crucialpresidential battleground stateslike Ohio, Pennsylvania,Wisconsin, Virginia, Iowa andNorth Carolina have largepopulations of enthusiastic gunowners."We're in the summer before apresidential election and I reallydon't foresee any seriousdiscussion of gun control," saidKristin Goss of Duke University,the author of "Disarmed: TheMissing Movement for GunControl in America."Some supporters of Democrat AlGore still believe his support forgun control laws played a role inhis loss of the 2000 presidentialelection, and "memories of lostelections loom large forpoliticians," Goss said.Evan Bayh, a former Democraticsenator from the conservativestate of Indiana, described thedilemma facing Democrats whofavor gun control and live inRepublican-leaning states."You have a lot of people whofeel passionately about that issue.... So, many members of Congressare faced with the decision: Dothey sacrifice all the other goodthey hope to accomplish for thisone issue? And do they sacrificetheir own careers for this oneissue?"Congress has not approved anymajor new gun laws since 1994,and a ban on certainsemiautomatic rifles expired in2004. Some states have loosenedgun laws to allow gun owners tocarry concealed weapons oradopted "Stand Your Ground" self -defense laws.A Reuters-Ipsos poll in Aprilfound most Americans supportedthe right to use deadly force toprotect themselves, and two of every three respondents had afavorable view of the NRA, whichmarshals thousands of activists tooppose even small-scale gunregulations and punish lawmakerswho challenge them.'STRONG FORCES'"There are strong forces inAmerican politics, led by theNational Rifle Association, thathave prevented any real changesin gun control laws in years," saidCal Jillson, a political analyst atSouthern Methodist University inTexas."In the short term, this incidentwill give some liberal Democratsan opportunity to talk about guncontrol in an environment wherepeople are listening, but in thelong term it doesn't changeanything," he said.Other high-profile gun-relatedmass shootings in recent years -the Virginia Tech shootings in2007 and the shooting of U.S.Representative Gabrielle Giffordsand others in Arizona in January2011 - also sparked some short-term debate but little action.Opponents of stricter gun controlpoint to events such as last year'skilling of 77 people in Norway,which like the rest of Europe hasmuch tighter controls on gunsthan the United States, asevidence that gun laws don't stopsuch tragedies.The NRA said in a statement:"Our thoughts and prayers arewith the victims, their familiesand the community. NRA will nothave any further comment until
By Keith Coffman and StephanieSimon andMary SlossonAURORA, Colo.| Sat Jul 21,2012 1:33am EDT(Reuters) - A gunman wearing afull suit of tactical body armor, ahelmet and a gas mask opened fireat a packed midnight showing of the new "Batman" film in aDenver suburb on Friday, killing12 people after setting off twosmoke bombs in the dark theater.Armed with an assault rifle, ashotgun and a pistol, the black-clad gunman wounded 58 othersin the shooting rampage at ashowing of "The Dark KnightRises" at a mall in Aurora, turningthe movie screening into a chaoticscene of dead or bleeding victims,horrified screams and pleas forhelp, witnesses said.Police said 30 people remainedhospitalized on Friday evening,11 of them in critical condition.Officers who arrived on scenewithin 90 seconds of the firstemergency calls quickly took suspect James Eagan Holmes, 24,into custody in a parking lotbehind the cinema, where hesurrendered without a fight,Aurora Police Chief Dan Oatessaid.Holmes, a graduate student whoauthorities said had his hair dyedred and called himself "the Joker"in a reference to Batman's comic-book nemesis, was due to makean initial court appearance onMonday.Police declined to say what, if anything, Holmes said to themfollowing his arrest. During anemotional press conference, Oateswould not comment on possiblemotives for the massacre thatstunned the community and thenation.Authorities were unable to enterHolmes' apartment on Friday,saying he had booby-trapped itwith what appeared to besophisticated explosives. Policeevacuated five nearby buildingsand created a perimeter of severalblocks and said they planned todetonate the suspected explosiveswith a robot on Saturday.Meanwhile, police used dogs tosearch three buildings in aresearch complex at AnschutzMedical Campus at the Universityof Colorado at Denver whereHolmes had worked. A universityspokeswoman said nothingsuspicious was found.Witnesses at the movie theatertold of a horrific scene, withdazed victims bleeding frombullet wounds, spitting up bloodand crying for help. Among thosetaken to hospitals as a precautionwas a baby boy just a few monthsold."I slipped on some blood andlanded on a lady. I shook her andsaid, 'We need to go; get up,' andthere was no response, so Ipresumed she was dead," saidTanner Coon, 17.FUZZY PORTRAIT OFSUSPECTConfusion reigned as shootingbroke out during an action scenein the summer blockbuster. Thesuspect may have blended in withother moviegoers who worecostumes as heroes and villains,and some witnesses said theybelieved at first that hisappearance was a theatricalenhancement to the film."It was just straight chaos," saidJennifer Seeger, 25. "Everybodywas starting to scream and run atthat point. He went straight fromhere to here with a gun in my faceat that point. That rifle was in myface and I honestly didn't knowwhat to think."The shooting evoked memoriesof the 1999 massacre atColumbine High School inLittleton, 17 miles from Aurora,where two students opened fireand killed 12 students and ateacher.It also resonated in the U.S.presidential race. Both PresidentBarack Obama and hisRepublican rival, Mitt Romney,toned down their campaigns,pulled their ads from Coloradoand dedicated their scheduledevents to the victims."My daughters go to the movies,"Obama told supporters at acampaign event in Fort Myers,Florida. "What if Malia and Sashahad been at the theater as so manykids do each day?"The gunman was armed with anAR-15 assault rifle, a 12-gaugeshotgun and a Glock .40-caliberhandgun, Oates said. Police foundan additional Glock .40-caliberhandgun in his car, parked justoutside the theater's rearemergency exit, Oates said.He was dressed entirely in black with a gas mask, ballistic helmet,tactical ballistic vest, throat guard,leggings and crotch guard, Oatessaid, adding that Holmes hadpurchased the weapons legally atthree area gun stores in the last 60days and had bought 6,000 roundsof ammunition.A law enforcement official whoasked to remain anonymous saidthe suspect had purchased a ticket,entered the theater and proppedopen the emergency exit while heslipped out to "gear up" and returnarmed.The portrait of Holmes thatemerged in the hours followingthe shooting remained fuzzy, withonly a speeding ticket on hisrecord and nothing to suggest hewas capable of an outburst of gunviolence.'SOCIALLY AWKWARD'He grew up in a middle-class SanDiego neighborhood and earned adegree in neuroscience from theUniversity of California atRiverside before seeking hisgraduate degree from theUniversity of Colorado.People who knew him describedhim as kind toward children butsaid he had trouble finding work.Holmes was described as brightbut was in the process of droppingout of his graduate program at thetime of the shooting, according tothe university.Billy Kromka, a pre-med studentat the University of Colorado atBoulder who served as a researchassistant alongside Holmes forseveral months last year, said hewas astonished at the news."He basically was sociallyawkward but not to the degreethat would warrant suspicion of mass murder or any atrocity of this magnitude," Kromka, 19,said. "I did not see any behaviorhe exhibited that indicated hewould be capable of an atrocity of a magnitude like this."Kromka said Holmes nevertalked politics or becameanimated about any particularsubject, but appeared to beinfluenced by movies and themedia and played online role-