As you probably know by now two people were killed and nine people were injured while attending a screening of the Amy Schumer movie Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana last night. The gunman, who has been identified as 59-year old John Russell Houser, took his own life by turning the gun on himself. Houser has been described as a drifter from neighboring Alabama. He did have a criminal record, but it wasn’t recent. His most serious offense was arson.
NBC News is reporting that Houser lived for a time in Columbus, Georgia, and would occasionally appear on a local morning NBC TV show called Rise & Shine. It’s former host Calvin Floyd described Houser as “a very radical person with radical views” and “a Republican.” No doubt the Left will soon be jumping all over this like flies on a dead horse. Floyd went on to say that he last saw Houser about a year ago on the street, but that he would not say hello to him. “He seemed very angry at me,” said Floyd.
Naturally, when I heard that a shooting had taken place at a movie theater I couldn’t help but think of the shooting at the theater in Aurora, Colorado, just over three years ago during the screening of The Dark Knight Rises which killed 12 people and injured 70. The perpetrator, James Eagen Holmes, was convicted a week ago on 24 counts of first-degree murder, 140 of attempted first degree as well as one count of possessing explosives. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. It is not known whether this served as an inspiration for Houser, although one cannot entirely discount that possibility.
The Aurora shootings have been frequently cited by President Obama as well as the shootings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut as grounds for stricter gun laws and said so again in the wake of last month’s massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Curiously, however, Obama has never cited the shootings at Fort Hood as part of his rationale for gun control. As I argued a couple of years ago, Obama doesn’t cite Fort Hood because a) it reminds people that it was an act of radical Islamic terror and b) the terrorist was subdued by police officers carrying guns. The same argument applies to last week’s radical Islamic terror attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee which resulted in the deaths of four Marines and a Navy sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Once again, the perpetrator was stopped by good guys with guns.
Shortly before last night’s shootings in Lafayette, President Obama conducted an interview with the BBC’s Jonathan Sopel in which Sopel asked him about “unfinished business” on guns. Obama replied in this manner:
You mentioned the issue of guns, that is an area where if you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws. Even in the face of repeated mass killings.
And you know, if you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands. And for us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing. But it is not something that I intend to stop working on in the remaining 18 months.
No doubt this tragedy will spur him further down this road. Well, leave it to President Obama to trivialize the number of Americans killed by terrorism since 9/11. Of course, these numbers are artificially low because Obama doesn’t consider Fort Hood or Chattanooga to be terrorist attacks. But if this is his line of argument, then one can argue that tens of thousands of people of Americans are killed in automobile accidents every year. Does anyone call for a ban on the manufacture and sale of automobiles? Hardly. Yes, there have been improvements in automobile safety and this has reduced the number of deaths over time. But it still doesn’t prevent the deaths of more than 30,000 people a year in this country.
If “sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws” are all it takes to stop gun violence, then Obama’s home base in the South Side of Chicago should be the safest neighborhood in America. During the Fourth of July weekend, 82 people were shot resulting in 15 fatalities including a 7-year old boy. One cannot legislate morality nor good behavior.
At this point, it isn’t known whether the handgun Houser used was obtained legally. Honestly, I don’t think it matters much. If Houser was as angry as has been described and was bent on using that anger to wreak havoc and didn’t have a support network (i.e. family, friends, church, etc.) that could put that anger at ease, then no common sense gun law could have put a stop to it. Sadly, evil and those who carry it out will always be among us.
Notice to Readers: The American Spectator and Spectator World are marks used by independent publishing companies that are not affiliated in any way. If you are looking for The Spectator World please click on the following link: https://thespectator.com/world.