La tragédie d’Aurora, Colorado aura eu au moins un mérite : remettre sur la table le débat sur la possession d’armes aux USA

Ce n’est pas un secret : je suis plusieurs blogs américains, qui parlent habituellement de nouvelles technologies. Ceux-ci ont un peu dévié de leurs sujets favoris ces derniers temps, pour parler de la tuerie d’Aurora, durant laquelle un homme, James Holmes, a tué plusieurs personnes lors d’une avant première du film Batman : The Dark Knight Rises. Alors les blogs américains deviennent à mes yeux encore plus intéressants que d’habitude, car ils traitent tout à coup d’une situation interne aux USA, à savoir la possession d’armes à feu. Pour ceux qui ont fait un peu d’histoire/sociologie/culture générale des USA à l’école, vous avez sûrement déjà entendu parler de la National Rifle Association (NRA), qui est un groupe de lobbies défendant coûte que coûte le droit de pouvoir posséder une arme pour sa propre défense. Et à la suite de cette tuerie d’Aurora, la NRA continue de dire que le droit de posséder des armes doit continuer à être appliqué. En parallèle, les blogueurs que je suis postent des billets pour dire combien ils sont opposés à la détention d’armes. Je pense que l’on pourrait comparer la position sur ce sujet à la quantité d’étude qu’auront fait les gens qui s’expriment, et à leur situation géographique. Je pense en effet que les urbains, habitant des grandes villes (San Francisco, New York), et ayant fait des études seront plutôt contre la possibilité d’acheter des armes, tandis que les gens moins éduqués et habitant en zone rurale seront plutôt pour.   

Du coup, je vais reproduire plusieurs positions (anti-port d’armes) que j’ai pu lire, car je les trouve très intéressantes dans les arguments développés.

La première a été trouvée là.

I’d like to preface this long tweet by saying that my passion comes from my deepest sympathy and shared sorrow with yesterday’s victims and with the utmost respect for the people and the police/fire/medical/political forces of Aurora and all who seek to comfort and aid these victims.

This morning, I made a comment about how I do not understand people who support public ownership of assault style weapons like the AR-15 used in the Colorado massacre.

That comment, has of course, inspired a lot of feedback. There have been many tweets of agreement and sympathy but many, many more that have been challenging at the least, hostile and vitriolic at the worst.

Clearly, the angry, threatened and threatening, hostile comments are coming from gun owners and gun advocates. Despite these massacres recurring and despite the 100,000 Americans that die every year due to domestic gun violence – these people see no value to even considering some kind of control as to what kinds of weapons are put in civilian hands.

Many of them cite patriotism as their reason – true patriots support the Constitution adamantly and wholly. Constitution says citizens have the right to bear arms in order to maintain organized militias. I’m no constitutional scholar so here it is from the document itself:

As passed by the Congress:
« A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. »
As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:
« A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. »

So the patriots are correct, gun ownership is in the constitution – if you’re in a well-regulated militia. Let’s see what no less a statesman than Alexander Hamilton had to say about a militia:

« A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss. »

Or from Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Definition of MILITIA
a : a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency
b : a body of citizens organized for military service
2: the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service

The advocates of guns who claim patriotism and the rights of the 2nd Amendment – are they in well-regulated militias? For the vast majority – the answer is no.

Then I get messages from seemingly decent and intelligent people who offer things like:@BrooklynAvi: Guns should only be banned if violent crimes committed with tomatoes means we should ban tomatoes. OR@nysportsguys1: Drunk drivers kill, should we ban fast cars?

I’m hoping that right after they hit send, they take a deep breath and realize that those arguments are completely specious. I believe tomatoes and cars have purposes other than killing. What purpose does an AR-15 serve to a sportsman that a more standard hunting rifle does not serve? Let’s see – does it fire more rounds without reload? Yes. Does it fire farther and more accurately? Yes. Does it accommodate a more lethal payload? Yes. So basically, the purpose of an assault style weapon is to kill more stuff, more fully, faster and from further away. To achieve maximum lethality. Hardly the primary purpose of tomatoes and sports cars.

Then there are the tweets from the extreme right – these are the folk who believe our government has been corrupted and stolen and that the forces of evil are at play, planning to take over this nation and these folk are going to fight back and take a stand. And any moron like me who doesn’t see it should…
a. be labeled a moron
b. shut the fuck up
c. be removed

And amazingly, I have some minor agreement with these folks. I believe there are evil forces at play in our government. But I call them corporatists. I call them absolutists. I call them the kind of ideologues from both sides, but mostly from the far right who swear allegiance to unelected officials that regardless of national need or global conditions, are never to levy a tax. That they are never to compromise or seek solutions with the other side. That are to obstruct every possible act of governance, even the ones they support or initiate. Whose political and social goal is to marginalize the other side, vilify and isolate them with the hope that they will surrender, go away or die out.

These people believe that the US government is eventually going to go street by street and enslave our citizens. Now as long as that is only happening to liberals, homosexuals and democrats – no problem. But if they try it with anyone else – it’s going to be arms-ageddon and these committed, God-fearing, brave souls will then use their military-esque arsenal to show the forces of our corrupt government whats-what. These people think they meet the definition of a « militia ». They don’t. At least not the constitutional one. And, if it should actually come to such an unthinkable reality, these people believe they would win. That’s why they have to « take our country back ». From who? From anyone who doesn’t think like them or see the world like them. They hold the only truth, everyone else is dangerous. Ever meet a terrorist that doesn’t believe that? Just asking.

Then there are the folks who write that if everyone in Colorado had a weapon, this maniac would have been stopped. Perhaps. But I do believe that the element of surprise, tear gas and head to toe kevlar protection might have given him a distinct edge. Not only that, but a crowd of people firing away in a chaotic arena without training or planning – I tend to think that scenario could produce even more victims.

Lastly, there are these well-intended realists that say that people like this evil animal would get these weapons even if we regulated them. And they may be right. But he wouldn’t have strolled down the road to Kmart and picked them up. Regulated, he would have had to go to illegal sources – sources that could possibly be traced, watched, overseen. Or he would have to go deeper online and those transactions could be monitored. « Hm, some guy in Aurora is buying guns, tons of ammo and kevlar – plus bomb-making ingredients and tear gas. Maybe we should check that out. »

But that won’t happen as long as all that activity is legal and unrestricted.

I have been reading on and off as advocates for these weapons make their excuses all day long. Guns don’t kill – people do. Well if that’s correct, I go with @BrooklynAvi, let them kill with tomatoes. Let them bring baseball bats, knives, even machetes — a mob can deal with that.

There is no excuse for the propagation of these weapons. They are not guaranteed or protected by our constitution. If they were, then we could all run out and purchase a tank, a grenade launcher, a bazooka, a SCUD missile and a nuclear warhead. We could stockpile napalm and chemical weapons and bomb-making materials in our cellars under our guise of being a militia.

These weapons are military weapons. They belong in accountable hands, controlled hands and trained hands. They should not be in the hands of private citizens to be used against police, neighborhood intruders or people who don’t agree with you. These are the weapons that maniacs acquire to wreak murder and mayhem on innocents. They are not the same as handguns to help homeowners protect themselves from intruders. They are not the same as hunting rifles or sporting rifles. These weapons are designed for harm and death on big scales.


We will not prevent every tragedy. We cannot stop every maniac. But we certainly have done ourselves no good by allowing these particular weapons to be acquired freely by just about anyone.

I’ll say it plainly – if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them. And if they are willing to force others to « pry it from my cold, dead hand », then they are probably planning on using them on people.

So, sorry those of you who tell me I’m an actor, or a has-been or an idiot or a commie or a liberal and that I should shut up. You can not watch my stuff, you can unfollow and you can call me all the names you like. I may even share some of them with my global audience so everyone can get a little taste of who you are.

But this is not the time for reasonable people, on both sides of this issue, to be silent. We owe it to the people whose lives were ended and ruined yesterday to insist on a real discussion and hopefully on some real action.

In conclusion, whoever you are and wherever you stand on this issue, I hope you have the joy of family with you today. Hold onto them and love them as best you can. Tell them what they mean to you. Yesterday, a whole bunch of them went to the movies and tonight their families are without them. Every day is precious. Every life is precious. Take care. Be well. Be safe. God bless.

Jason Alexander

La deuxième réponse a été trouvée sur Quora (la question posée était : If members of the Aurora, CO Dark Knight Rises shooting audience were armed would there have been more carnage or less carnage?) :

Effectively responding to an incident like that as an individual, especially as a private citizen, is exceedingly difficult.  I’m not sure if armed citizens in the audience would have made much of a difference.  (Statistically, at a large cineplex in Colorado, there were almost certainly a few off-duty law enforcement and armed private citizens in the building, if not in the theater.)

The beginning of the attack sounds almost pathologically difficult — during a movie where most of the audience is dressed up in quasi-military/police attire (Batman), someone entering with similar clothing wouldn’t necessarily be out of place.  During a scene in the movie where tear gas was deployed, someone tossed out a canister.  At that point, a reasonable person would probably assume it was a prank, or maybe organized publicity for the movie — it wouldn’t even be appropriate to push someone out of the way to get to the floor.

Based on the media reports, the shooter was in body armor, in a dark theater, and armed with a semiautomatic rifle, a shotgun, and pistols.  This could all be seen as a costume with props, so no immediate response.

Even once he started shooting, it wouldn’t have been immediately clear that it wasn’t just a (stupid and unsafe) staged event.  Even if you saw random people in the audience fall, it could be a pre-planned staged event, so it’s not like you could be fully confident in drawing and firing on the shooter even at that point.  (There’s a period where I’d be thinking « fucking movie studio, this is bullshit, I’m leaving and will publicize how stupid and unsafe this situation is, doing a fake shooting like this, could get someone killed » and leaving, but wouldn’t have drawn and fired.  Not sure how long that period would be, but probably between « oh, that’s tear gas, not theatrical smoke » and « those are blanks and a real gun », but that might only be seconds before « oh, this is a real shooter. »)

Once a whole theater full of people panics and starts running for the exits, it’s even more complex.  It’s not clear if there’s more than one shooter, if there are other armed people in the crowd who may engage him, etc.

Given that your average citizen is going to be carrying a 5-shot snub revolver or maybe a compact semi-automatic pistol, engaging someone wearing armor and armed with a rifle is going to be difficult to begin with.  The chaotic situation makes it even more difficult.

As an armed private citizen, your primary responsibility is for your own safety and that of your companions, so even once it was clear the guy was a threat, if you could duck out, that would be preferable to engaging.  (If I were alone and armed, I’d be more likely to respond, although it would depend on a lot of factors).  If it were « home invasion at night » or « someone runs into my office and starts shooting », that’s a different situation than « I’m in a strange movie theater around a bunch of people I don’t know, in a dynamic and confusing situation ».  On balance, I’d rather be armed than not, and have other responsibly armed people in the crowd, but it surely wouldn’t be a magic bullet.  It’s entirely possible you could be armed and never draw in a situation like that and have made the right decision.

One thing that is clear is that this incident will inform police and self defense training in the future, just like Columbine caused a revolution in tactics from « cordon and contain » to « active shooter response » worldwide.

Un bout de paragraphe publié par John Gruber ici :

That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at the Aurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.

Un billet de MG Siegler :

just quoted Roger Ebert’s excellent New York Times op-ed about the Aurora shooting, but really, you should read the whole thing. The entire thing is quote-worthy.

Another key excerpt:

Should this young man — whose nature was apparently so obvious to his mother that, when a ABC News reporter called, she said “You have the right person” — have been able to buy guns, ammunition and explosives? The gun lobby will say yes. And the endless gun control debate will begin again, and the lobbyists of the National Rifle Association will go to work, and the op-ed thinkers will have their usual thoughts, and the right wing will issue alarms, and nothing will change. And there will be another mass murder.

That James Holmes is insane, few may doubt. Our gun laws are also insane, but many refuse to make the connection. The United States is one of few developed nations that accepts the notion of firearms in public hands. In theory, the citizenry needs to defend itself. Not a single person at theAurora, Colo., theater shot back, but the theory will still be defended.

If anyone’s stance is really going to be that citizens need guns to protect themselves, it should be viewed that this idea failed yesterday in a way far worse than if guns were outlawed in this country. Nearly 100 people failed to use their gun rights to protect themselves. And 12 people have died as a result. A complete and utter failure of that right.

Of course, that right is actually preposterous. It’s 2012, not 1712.

Et enfin, un dernier (court) billet de John Gruber, toujours sur la vente d’armes légale aux USA :

Jack Healy, reporting for the NYT:

With a few keystrokes, the suspect, James E. Holmes, ordered 3,000 rounds of handgun ammunition, 3,000 rounds for an assault rifle and 350 shells for a 12-gauge shotgun — an amount of firepower that costs roughly $3,000 at the online sites — in the four months before the shooting, according to the police. It was pretty much as easy as ordering a book from Amazon.

Totally legal.

Pour finir, MG Siegler a reçu une question à propos du billet qu’il avait posté plus tôt, voici la question et la réponse qu’il en a faite. La question :

On your post « Not a single person at the Aurora, Colorado theater shot back… », do you realize that repealing the second amendment would just make it so you and I can’t buy guns and ammo? The black market will still sell them and people like this who had ILLEGAL weapons would still be able to obtain them. Think about it.

Et sa réponse :

I absolutely do realize that. And in this case, he bought them LEGALLY, so it would have stopped that. At the very least, it would have severely impeded his insane goal. What good is you and I buying guns and ammo if we didn’t stop this? You and I buying guns and ammo never seems to stop things like this. Strange. (Not really.)But yes, it would create (extend) a black market. Luckily, guns are not as easy to produce as say, drugs. A focus on the black market in this case would be significantly easier. Over time, that may change, but for now, it would work to great effect, I imagine.By the way, I don’t think drugs (for the most part) should be illegal. I have no problem if someone wants to hurt themselves. I have a problem with people who want to hurt other people. My right to extend my arm ends at your face.

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