The Necessity of Murder

'Guns don't kill people . . . people kill people'.  Scholars of US politics are familiar with that one.  My view is that guns don't kill people, but people with guns do, and what happened this week in Colorado has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with the 'Batman' films, and nothing to do with a 'well-regulated militia' or anything else in the US constitution.  It's simply a case of blind stupidity, a lack of responsibility, and the disproportionate influence of a few ignorant, rich individuals who won't be happy until their country resembles a John Ford film, complete with mindless violence and questionable Irish accents.

They didn't need Barack Obama.  They needn't need another 'Batman' film.  They didn't need to sell ammunition on the internet, which, apparently, is how Mr James Holmes managed to acquire 6,000 rounds.  The only thing that was necessary was Mr Holmes's need to kill innocent people.  He couldn't stop himself.  Perhaps no-one else could stop him, but they could have made it considerably more difficult for him to kill twelve people and harm fifty-nine others.

The problem with the second amendment is that it takes no account of mental illness.  The founding fathers had little to say about it, and no-one else seems to want to think about it.  I recall one argument which emerged after the Virginia Tech massacre: apparently, the ban on guns in schools is absurd because, had students been armed, they could have killed the gunman and saved lives.  But how is it possble to ensure - even with background checks, which were ruled unconstitutional in the Supreme Court's Printz v. US decision - that a person is not mentally unstable, and furthermore, is it constitutional to prevent mentally unstable individuals - assuming a definition can be agreed upon - from owning guns?  James Holmes is only one in a long list of mentally unstable individuals whose lack of stability was not spotted until murder had been committed.  In other words, when it was too bloody late.  He was just 'the easy-going PhD student with no friends', according to The Daily Telegraph.  Sounds like me in 2010.

Allowing college students to stroll around campus with handguns hardly seems a sensible ploy when we stop to consider the staggering number of lonely, angry, disaffected young people (like those responsible for the Columbine massacre) who could potentially snap at any moment.  It happens.  We just don't talk about it. 

We all seem to agree that James Holmes is the enemy.  But so is mental illness.  The only problem is, it's an enemy we can't shoot at.