Killings, whether they are singular or mass, should be cause for shock and discussion among us all. For the past couple of weeks, Aurora, Colo. was on our minds and on our lips, as it should have been. How can we not think of the victims and the survivors without hoping for a more lucid understanding of the events? The discussions should be about the tragedy, the violence, the ease at which guns and ammo can be purchased, however, the discussions have devolved, just as in the Trayvon Martin case, to finger pointing and race baiting.
Since the Aurora rampage, there has been endless debate among many in the African-American community saying that if James Holmes was black, police would have killed him by now or that since he is white, "they" (the white media, white folks in general or both) paint him as insane. When the Martin case was front-page news, segments in the Caucasian community began blaming the victim, saying that since he was black "they" (the liberal media, black folks in general or both) portrayed him as a doe-eyed innocent. In actuality, Holmes is probably insane and Martin is probably the innocent "they" are making him out to be.
Even though last week's incident in Colorado held many victims of different make ups, all of the dead were white. Should we, as a people of color, be removed from this act of violence? Should our white counterparts be dispassionate about the fact that there's a mother and father mourning their son? Each one killed despite their color. Victims should always remain victims. Our examinations should focus on the cause of these crimes and what, as a society, we can do to prevent them from occurring time after time. Our issues are deeper than DNA.
If we, as a nation, were a car manufacturer facing a major recall, would we focus on the color of the cars? Would we continue to make accusations of "driver error" even after thousands of complaints about the same issue? New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to know what President Obama and Gov. Romney are doing to address the real focus in these cases, gun violence. Bloomberg is remaining on message by questioning how easily legally-sold guns are being placed in the hands of people who are often ill equipped to handle such an enormous responsibility. Why are assault weapons no longer illegal for private purchase? Assault weapons should forever be illegal for purchase by private citizens or groups of private citizens.
The Second Amendment states, "... the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," but what's left out by using the ellipsis at the beginning of that quote? "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The militias of that time were needed because the country was so widely spread out and these militias acted essentially as adjuncts to the military in case more remote areas were under threat of attack. Now, we have larger, better maintained and better trained law enforcement agencies and the National Guard. Militias of today are almost unanimously designed to undermine the government and ensure the domination of one group of people over another group. Our Constitution is not sacrosanct and needs to occasionally come under review. There is no better time for this to happen, NRA be damned.
From Aurora, Colorado to Sanford, Florida and everywhere between and beyond, we as a nation need to remember that these people were first and foremost human beings and secondly victims of violence. We have to decide now if we are going to define our country in terms of black and white or as people of action who are no longer willing to see our families cut down by violence which can be curtailed.