Fear trumps reason in wake of tragedy

Twelve dead in a Colorado movie theatre, dozens more injured, while a community and the world around it stand helplessly by trying to come to grips with the terror they see unfolding around them.

When James Holmes burst into the Aurora, Colo. theatre early last Friday morning and unleashed a storm of violence from the weapons he had been stockpiling, it sent shock waves around the globe.

But perhaps the most shocking aspect in this latest example of gun violence is that up until Holmes fired his first shot into a crowded theatre, he had broken no laws. The arsenal Holmes had assembled — including an assault rifle and thousands of rounds of ammunition purchased over the Internet — was all perfectly legal.

Instead of renewing debate over America’s gun laws, the shooting has only served to send gun sales soaring across the U.S. Gripped with fear, Americans turned to their most accessible source of comfort in times of crisis. Their guns can provide an immediate (albeit ineffectual) comfort for their fear, while a real solution will take time and effort.

But this locked-and-loaded mentality only increases the inevitability that another senseless tragedy will occur in the months ahead. It will continue to be easier for a deranged individual to assemble a cache of deadly weapons than to access the medication and treatment they so obviously need.

And the political cost of addressing the issue in realistic terms unfortunately outweighs the cost of human lives that will continue to be lost.

While Canada’s gun laws are infinitely more reasonable than those of our southern neighbours, we are not immune to the effects of gun violence, as evidenced by the recent shootings in Toronto.

We must be careful not to allow our fears to trump reason when we consider what is really needed to make Canadians safer.


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