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Etan Thomas Headshot

14 Questions About the Aurora Colorado Shooting

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I want to first say that these questions are in no way meant to diminish the victims of this tragedy. This was as President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both described as an act of "evil." My prayers are with the victims and their families.

1. I know the NRA won't like these stats, but you can't argue with facts. I know people say guns don't kill people but rather people kill people, but if people didn't have such easy access to guns in this country, wouldn't that cut down on the incredibly high number of people who are killed by guns?

In one year guns murdered...

10 in New Zealand
12  in Ireland
14 in United Kingdom
35 in Australia
47 in Japan
59 in Australia
144 in Canada
181 in Czech Republic
269 in Germany
598 in Zimbabwe
9,369 IN THE UNITED STATES

2. President Barack Obama gave a passionate speech on the issue of gun control.

AR-15s are for soldiers and belong on the battlefields of war, not on the streets of our cities. A person should not be able to legally purchase a gun so easily. We should check a person's criminal record before a gun sale. These steps shouldn't be controversial; they should be common sense.

However, Democrats didn't support these statements. They ducked and dodged actually doing something to implement what the president conveyed in his speech. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that while he is happy the president made the statement, they were not going to address gun control. What's more important, the health and safety of U.S. citizens, or the NRA's stranglehold on our politicians?

3. Why does it seem like both Democrats and Republicans tiptoe so carefully to not offend the NRA? I could be wrong, but that's how it seems.

4. James Holmes had a AR-15 " -- 870 Remington 12-gauge shotgun -- one of the most popular shotguns in history," bought over 6,000 rounds of ammunition and bought more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition for the rifle. He had a 100-round rifle drum that could've gotten off 50 to 60 rounds within one minute and a .40-caliber Glock handgun -- a common weapon for police -- and a gas mask and used tear gas in the attack, according to police. No affiliation to any militia or politically motivated groups has been reported as of yet. I am sure if he had it would have been broadcast by now. So my question is, why are people able to purchase this level of artillery legally online?

5. In the aftermath of last week's deadly Colorado movie theater shooting, background checks for those wanting to purchase guns in the state spiked more than 40 percent.

Isn't this too little to late?

Media continue to re-emphasize the fact that James Holmes bought his guns legally. Will the Right take this opportunity as they did after Columbine, to re-emphasize the need for the right to bear arms, and furthermore denounce any opposition as an attack to crush the Second Amendment?

6. What reason does anyone have to need a gun that shoots 30 rounds quickly and repeatedly in rapid fire? People don't hunt with those guns they go to war with those guns.

7. Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kileade said, "Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim."

Juan Williams, Fox News contributor and now ex-NPR reporter, was fired for saying he's nervous when Muslims board his plane.

Bill Mahr said that he was "alarmed" with  news out of Britain that Mohammed is the most popular baby name there.

Brian Kileade couldn't have been more wrong, Juan Williams' statement couldn't have been more ignorant (although I do feel he is very intelligent even if I disagree with just about everything he says on Fox News, but his statement was ignorant), and Bill Mahr's concerns couldn't have been more ridiculous. Unfortunately, those feelings are a lot more common in "mainstream America" than most would probably be willing to admit. But the fact is terrorists come in different colors, races, religions, and nationalities. Was Timothy McVeigh not a terrorist?  But my question is, if James Holmes' name was Quadir Mohammed, would the media have immediately called him a terrorist?

8. Would the media have talked about how great of a student he was, or that he graduated with honors and possibly was bullied, distressed, or depressed that he couldn't find work?

9. If he were Latino would the media have immediately questioned if he was legal and then went on a soap box about how we need tougher immigration laws?

10. Would the right have taken that opportunity to bash President Obama's new immigration reform ?

11. If he were Black would the media have immediately linked him to a gang?

12. This all seems so calculated. James Holmes didn't just wake up one morning on a whim, this appears to have been planned for months, maybe even years.

"This apartment was designed to kill whoever entered it," Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said at an afternoon news conference. "And who was most likely to enter that location? It was going to be a police officer. There is no question about what the intent was of whoever designed that device behind that door."
My question is, what caused the police to allow him to surrender?

13. This is not "playing the race card." People have to understand that there have been countless documented accounts of Black men shot at the hands of the police while posing no immediate threat or for suspicion of a gun that turned out to be a cell phone or nothing at all. Most notably are Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, etc.

But there are multitudes of less-known cases such as Orlando Barlow, who while surrendering on his knees in front of four Las Vegas police officers, was shot with an assault rifle by Officer Brian Hartman from 50 feet away. Hartman argued that he feared Barlow was feigning surrender and about to grab a gun. Barlow was unarmed.

14. So I have to ask this final question: If James Holmes was Black, Muslim, or Latino, would he have been allowed to surrender or would the police have showered him with bullets before he had the chance to peacefully turn himself in?