In the wake of the horrific shootings that took place during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, leaders are attempting to make political hay from the gun issue. That's predictable.
And sadly, an exercise in futility, much like two farmers standing around an open barn door and discussing the lock they should have had long after the horse has galloped away.
Both sides of the issue are predictably arguing their longstanding points:
Those 2nd amendment defenders who refuse to acknowledge the founding fathers could never have envisioned a weapon beyond their scope - that of a single shot firearm. Steadfast in their belief that stronger regulations and laws will somehow "take away their rights." Not so.
And of course, those who can only see the other black/white side of the argument - that all guns should be outlawed. Again, not so.
I don't argue that a responsible person should not be allowed to own a gun. I argue that a person, responsible or otherwise, does not need an automatic weapon. I also posit that a national clearinghouse of information should be constructed so that regardless of where a person purchases their choice of metallic goodie, it is logged, tracked, traceable, capable of being pulled up the next time a person seeks to add to their private arsenal. That amassing an excessive amount of weapons, ammunition, Kevlar should be able to trigger a red flag.
If you have nothing to hide, then a more thorough, responsible system should not be a problem for you. Nor should longer waiting periods and more involved background checks.
Guns are not going away. But in regards to the 2nd amendment, perhaps just as our technology has evolved, so should it to acknowledge that the single shot musket is not the only weapon available in 2012.
The other debate raging is the one surrounding the decision making of many of the parents in that theater that night. Their choice to bring infants, toddlers, and 1st graders to a midnight showing of what is easily one of the most violent movies of the year.
A 6 year old little girl lies cold and dead, while her mother clings to life. In the mother's brief brushes with consciousness, she does what any loving parent would do, ask about her daughter. No one has yet been able to bring themselves to tell her the awful, unchangeable truth.
I do not wish this on anyone. I do not blame her for the actions of the inhuman being who fired the shots.
But I DO question her decision making as a parent in bringing that child out to a movie that would not be over until close to 3am.
The same as I question the selfishness of the young couple - Jamie Rohrs and Patricia Legarreta - who cannot even benefit from hindsight and defend their decision to drag out their 4 month old baby and 4 year old daughter with, and I quote, "We have to go out. We have to do things. You don't think you're going to get shot. You're just living your life."
No, asshole, you DON'T have to go out. When you have a child, "living your life" means you give up certain things that you enjoyed in your capricious youth - like MIDNIGHT SHOWINGS. Your decisions should be about what is in the best interests of your child(ren), not what self indulgent desires you have.
And yes, a midnight showing of a new movie IS a self indulgent desire. Whether you are 12 and in line for the new Harry Potter, or a couple of 20 somethings hot for the new Batman flick.
If you and your woman were so intent on seeing the movie, then ONE of you go while one watches the children. Then the OTHER ONE goes while YOU watch the children. (And yes, I would have this same issue with the choice were it made at 230 in the afternoon. Children this age have no business in a movie like that.)
And by the way, that midnight showing? The same damned movie will be shown repeatedly for the next 6 months until it travels to HBO and DVD. No one HAS to be first in line. The movie won't change in the 20th showing, or the 20th day of showing, or the 20th viewing on Blu-Ray.
Other parents have come out trying to defend these people who took their infants (a 3 month old was wounded in the shooting) because they want their own poor movie going choices to be acquitted. "I always took my infant because he would sleep through the whole thing."
Bull and shit.
You cannot predict a baby's sleep cycles or willingness to be quiet regardless of how many bottles you bring or how full your breasts are.
And DGMS on the decibel level of a movie theater, especially when the picture being shown is full of gunfire and explosions. Do you possibly think that is good for your infant? Or do you somehow think that magical blanket will save their eardrums?
This is about CHOICES. Responsible CHOICES.
Look, I have been down the limiting road of parenting for decades now. I am still on it because I still make sacrifices of what I want to do to facilitate something for my daughters. When they were small I missed out on many things that sounded fun, freeing, grown-up because THE GIRLS ARE MORE IMPORTANT.
Big night out and one got sick? Sorry, Rudy, cancel the babysitter. Blockbuster movie is opening, but we can't get a sitter? What's on TV tonight? Big blacktie charity event? Sorry, two have soccer practice, the other play rehearsal. You got free concert tickets? Sorry, your daughters have chicken pox.
It still goes on today. We sacrifice to pay for college. I miss out on trips because of soccer. Rudy is moving again and I am staying for Carson.
Sacrifice is the hardest part, and the BEST part of parenting. It makes you a better person, and it in turn makes them grow into better people.
Is it always fun? No. Parenting is often the biggest slog of a job there is. Monotonous, boring, full of menial, repetitive tasks, and it can be nerve grating, resentment inducing.
But that is what you sign on for when you drop trou, leg up, get pregnant, and bring a child into this world. BOTH OF YOU. The intense, exhausting period of sacrifice may feel like it will last forever, but it doesn't. And it is worth the investment in your child.
No one deserved to die in the violent rage of another person's inhumanity. These parents could never have envisioned that their child's lives would be put in peril, or ended, by the simple act of moviegoing. And no one is saying they intentionally put their children in harm's way (decibel issue aside).
That is not the issue. It all comes back to CHOICES.
There is no getting through to the young couple above. They are soaking up their 15 minutes in the limelight (just watch any of their numerous interviews - take off your damned hat, by the way, and at least try to act like an adult) and are intent on defending their selfish actions to the last.
But even if they cannot see the error of their ways, I do hope that more parents take note of how many poor parenting choices were made, and begin tucking their children into bed, not movie seats in the middle of the night.
Because the choice to indulge your inner Siskel or Ebert in the face of what is best for your child is definitely TWO THUMBS DOWN.