Eighty-five years ago, on January 9, 1927, 78 children were killed in a movie theater in Montreal's east end, at a Sunday matinee double feature of a western called The Devil's Gulch and a comedy called Bring 'Em Young. A fire, started by faulty wiring, started a stampede. The people of Quebec, and the Catholic Church, didn't blame the faulty wiring. They blamed the movies. And no one under sixteen was allowed in a movie theater in the province for 40 years.
Early this morning, 71 people were shot -- 12 died, one of them six-years-old -- in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. They were killed, apparently, by a rifle and a handgun and the faulty wiring inside the head of an alleged gunman named James Holmes. And our response -- America's response -- is going to be nothing.
Quebecers needed to do something. There had to be some reason their children were gone. Luckily they had the Church, and the Church told them the problem was motion pictures.
Americans might want to do something now, but their president, Barack Obama, and their only other choice for president, Mitt Romney, have both issued statements -- after a gun massacre -- that the answer is prayer.
All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers...
Our prayers and condolences go first to the families of those killed...
And what about guns, and keeping them out of lunatics' hands? Obama and Romney are silent as ashes.
No American politician will even say the words "gun control." Because getting shot isn't a law enforcement issue, or even a public safety issue. It's up to God, and the heavily armed mad men he sends, and whether you just happen to be in the wrong theater seat at the wrong time.
At least the Catholic Church in Quebec in the 20s did something. They didn't leave it all in God's hands. They weren't ridiculous.
In a movie theater in America, in 2012, a gunman isn't a problem for the state. It's between you and God. The law is only there to keep you safe from Fred Willard.