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Does the Aurora Tragedy Change Your View of "Soft Targets"?

Will the mayhem at The Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora, Colorado make us rethink security at movie theaters, malls or school events? Join the discussion.

At least 12 dead and dozens injured, several seriously.

One gunman and one crowded theater.

The specter of copycats.

Bay Area residents turned on the T.V. news Friday morning to see live shots coming from Aurora, Colo., where James Holmes, an suspected gunman reportedly wearing a gas mask and a bulletproof vest, opened fire during a midnight showing of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, a movie expected to gross $200 million this weekend.

At a noon news briefing, Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates confirmed that a total of 71 people had been shot by the gunman at the packed screening. President Obama, speaking at a rally in Fort Myers, Fla., said that the tragedy hit close to home for many Americans.

“My daughters go to the movies — what if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater?” said Obama. 

The Aurora shooting has changed the mood of the country. Martinez Patch published an early review of the Batman movie, and, in light of the Aurora tragedy, a commenter suggested we take "KABOOM" out of the blog's title. We certainly did.

Soft targets

Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks of 2001, Americans have been on various levels of alert. Anyone with an ounce of cynicism has recognized that theaters, malls and school events — so-called soft targets because they are gathering locations with little security — are ripe for domestic terror or deranged madmen.

The Friday morning massacre at the Century 16 in Aurora took place 19 miles from Columbine High, where two teenagers killed 12 and injured dozens before killing themselves in April 1999.

All such events — not just the local ones — remind us of how vulnerable we are. But should they change the way we live? And, if so, how?

Should metal detectors become as standard as popcorn machines at movie theaters? Should there be armed security? Should there be no more dress-up at the theater, which apparently allowed the Aurora gunman to enter with a handgun, a rifle, a gas canister and a gas mask?

What do you think should change in light of the Aurora tragedy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Patrick J. McNamara July 21, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Agreed Cindy. Maybe the Shaolin monks had it figured out. Devoting their lives to inner peace and wisdom, yet, aware of the realities of life, became disciplined masters of self defense, to guarantee the freedom to practice their peaceful, wise ways.
Chris Kapsalis July 21, 2012 at 09:46 PM
All three are in the US. Go outside the US? Toronto Canada for one. With about the same freedoms we have, less owning a gun. It is the size of Chicago. Much stricter gun control in Toronto than in Chicago I know for a fact. Yet the murder rate is many times less in Toronto. And Patrick, Chicago's murder rate now is almost half of what it was before the gun controls there went into effect.
Chris Kapsalis July 21, 2012 at 09:53 PM
It would take time for the guns to funnel out after a gun control went into effect. Still lots of stolen weapons, grandfather claues, more guns stole, redirected to the black market in those cities, that were once legal guns. Also those people can also drive a few miles and buy a gun, or buy ammo. In England and Ontario it is more difficult. I said I am pro gun ownership though. I would not give up that freedom even if it were true it made me safer.
Patrick J. McNamara July 21, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Agreed Chris. The framers probably knew that gun ownership would come under pressure as the nation grew, and sought to enshrine it. In the end, armed citizens are a flawed but necessary counterbalance to government, not crime.
Becky Kapsalis July 21, 2012 at 11:14 PM
There are gun control laws where I grew up and there were stories in the news weekly,sometimes daily, of shootings and deaths caused by shootings. If a person wants to do harm to a person with a gun, they will find a way to obtain a gun. If they are desperate and sick enough to want to create mass destruction with guns they will find a way to do that too. I will also say this because it was part of the article...I have a hard time believing that the President's daughters just go to the neighbourhood movie theater on their own without 20 secret service protecting and watching the moves of every person in the theater. That statement of his provides very little comfort.

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