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Colorado Movie Theater Shooting: The Politics Of Tragedy

Andrew Sullivan surveys the political fallout:

In response to the Colorado shooting (covered herehere, and here), Chris Cillizza points out that gun control laws are unlikely to change:

That the numbers on gun control remain steady even in the aftermath of such high profile events like Columbine, Virginia Tech and the Giffords shooting suggests that people simply don’t equate these incidents of violence with the broader debate over the right role for guns in our society. They view them as entirely separate conversations — and that’s why the tragedy in Aurora isn’t likely to change the political conversation over guns either.

Jay Newton-Small imagines one possible policy change:

Will the consequence of these killings be a metal detector in every theater in America? Unlike Israel, where police cordone off most large gatherings, the U.S. has historically resisted such restrictive security measures. If the Aurora shooting changes that, Holmes, like Harris and Klebold, will have accomplished something Islamist jihadists have not since 9/11: changed the way we live and how we think about our freedoms.

Dave Weigel recommends ignoring "early stories about the shooter's politics":

What would it mean if he was a Democrat? What would it have meant if he was a Tea Partier? Probably nothing. Some killers put out manifestos explaining why they did it. Some are psychopaths who go through some of the motions of ordinary life — showing up at events, voting — before snapping and committing a non-ideological crime.

And Brian Doherty advises against making laws in response to tragedy:

[T]urning the (still) very rare criminal and evil uses of guns to indiscriminately harm innocents into a reason for policy change doesn't work that well in America any more, and it shouldn't, and it likely won't now. 

Unless there is an obvious political tinge to a mass shooting (see Breivik or Fort Hood) I think we've learned to wait for the full facts and focus first on the victims and their families.

(Photo: Obama supporters bow their heads during a moment of silence for the victims of the Aurora, Colorado shootings called by US President Barack Obama as speaks on the shootings in Aurora, Colorado at what was scheduled originally as a campaign event at Harborside Event Center July 20, 2012 in Fort Myers, Florida. By Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)


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