The media has been buzzing the last few days with news reports about a terrible mass shooting at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie. Those of us who are not directly involved, who were not in the theater or do not know anyone who was, can have no idea of the pain and anguish that such an act leaves behind. Hundreds of people will never be the same again.
That aside, the question that will inevitably be asked is if there was any way to prevent such a crime.
My very strong impression is that the suspect, who was arrested outside the theater just moments after allegedly committing mass murder, was obviously a deranged individual who can never be trusted to be set loose amongst the innocent public again. But he was also an extremely methodical, clearly intelligent, and very resourceful individual who spent months planning his big day.
Case in point are the reports of his earlier life, which are filled with tales of his academic prowess. You don’t get accepted to a reputable PhD science program unless you have some brains.
The second indication of his drive is how he spent months assembling his arsenal. Not only guns and ammunition, but also body armor, tear gas grenades, a gas mask, and ingredients for the improvised explosive devices he used to booby trap his apartment. All of that gear would have cost thousands of dollars, and the fact that he didn’t blow himself up when preparing to rig his home with explosives and incendiaries shows that he must have spent some time carefully researching the correct way to assemble his bombs.
It is inevitable that the Left will take up the call for increased gun control, but I think it is very clear that such laws would have done nothing except slow down the timetable a bit.
The suspect had thousands of dollars to invest in his evil schemes, so why wouldn’t he have simply purchased illegal arms if barred from acquiring them legally? After all, Federal law makes even simple possession of a firearm yet another felony for anyone convicted of a previous felony, yet criminals seem to usually be pretty well heeled when engaging in robbery and violence.
Even if we lived in a draconian police state where it was virtually impossible to gain access to firearms, don’t forget that the suspect turned his hand to assembling moderately sophisticated explosives and firebombs. What would have happened if he had decided to go all-out terrorist, and rigged the movie theater with IED’s? Then the death toll would have been much higher, I would think.
Movie theaters across the country have scrambled to find a way to reassure the public since the shootings. Since the suspect had painted his hair red and claimed to be The Joker to arresting officers, some theaters have banned customers who dress in costumes. This is clearly an empty gesture, as it would be just as easy to shoot up a theater full of innocent people while wearing street clothes as it would be while sporting a cosplay getup.
But empty gestures is pretty much what are left, as it would have been impossible to prevent such a tragedy from occurring.