Nations Marks One Year Since Aurora, Colorado Shooting
On Monday, July 20th, our nation marked the first anniversary of the tragic shooting that left 12 people dead and 70 injured at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The shooting, committed by James Holmes during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, was just one of many mass shootings that shocked the American public this year.
The shootings in Aurora, CO, Newtown, CT, and Oak Creek, WI have served as a wakeup call. When moviegoers, school children and innocent individuals attempting to pray are gunned down without reason, we are supposed to recognize that it is our moral responsibility to act to prevent future acts of such violence.
Lawmakers in Colorado responded to the tragedy by passing sensible gun violence prevention laws. Governor John Hickenlooper (D) recently signed laws into effect that require background checks for all gun sales and that limit the size of magazines to 15 rounds of ammunition. Inspired to action by the tragedies that struck close to home, Colorado did the responsible thing.
Yet, instead of taking a cue from Colorado, the federal government appears uninterested or at least unable to pass similarly reasonable and responsive bills. A compromise to expand background checks (a weaker bill than the one passed in Colorado) has stalled in both chambers of Congress.
As Rabbi Hillel is often quoted, “If not now when?” Just like the shooting in Aurora, CO was seemingly replaced in our Rolodex of mass shootings by the tragedy in Newtown, CT, another mass shooting will likely shock our country into disbelief again. Our national response to these tragedies cannot be to lessen our commitment to gun violence prevention as the pain of each shooting numbs us, because we know from recent history that the relief only lasts until the next shooting.
When Coloradans marked the anniversary of the Aurora shooting, they could at least take solace in the fact that their elected officials responded to their demands for tougher gun laws aimed to protect the people. When December rolls around, it seems unlikely that the American public (more than 90% of whom favor mandatory background checks on gun sales) will be able to say the same.
Image courtesy of Thomas Cooper/Getty Images.