Another non-Muslim demonstrates how easy it is to inflict mayhem on American civilians. If we were teeming with home-grown (or immigrant) radicalised Islamists, as U.S. Representative Peter King and his orbiting neocon activists maintain, we should be seeing such attacks on a regular basis. Yet we’ve been saddled with an entire federal agency dedicated to protecting us against a threat that is even rarer than these occasional outbreaks of purely domestic insanity. Of course, the punditry class is going to go into overdrive interpreting the Aurora shootings as a symptom of their favorite cause. Until we see more of a trend in such sporadic shootings, however, I would chaulk the tragic loss of life up to random and meaningless awfulness that is very difficult to prevent.
I also don’t quite understand why we consider colocated deaths more noteworthy than serial deaths. About 80 people a day died in traffic collisions in 2010, yet no one bothers much about such predicatable loss of life. Do people assume a homicide risk more when they get on the road than when they go to a movie theater? Perhaps. But the death is the same. There were 13,636 homicide victims in 2009, or nearly 40 a day, half of them black, half white or Hispanic. Many of those victims were as guilty as their killers, but by no means all. Admittedly, the Aurora shootings comprise a large fraction of that daily average, but again, most of those background killings will go unattended to by the media.