By the time this column sees print, the media will have covered every conceivable aspect of the mass murder in Aurora, Colo. Within 24 hours, in fact, just about everything there was to have been said about the terrorist attack — for that is what it was — had been said.
What wasn't headline news was all the shootings that didn't occur over the weekend. On Friday night, I ate at a nice restaurant and heard no gunfire. On Saturday, no shootings occurred while we watched my wife's friend's amateur sports team play, nor at the restaurant where we dined afterward.
On Sunday, I watched an exhibition soccer game on TV from Wrigley Field, also uninterrupted by shooting.
Given the great number of crazy people with guns in this nation, we should be grateful that this kind of tragedy doesn't take place every day. I know a lot of gun collectors and almost every last one of them is a prescription drug addict, an anti-government radical, just plain fucking crazy or some combination thereof.
I knew a girl who legally purchased a firearm so she could blow her brains out, which she did quite effectively. I know other people who bought enough firearms to make themselves a target for burglary of those guns.
I'm grateful for each day that goes by where some crazy person doesn't pull out an automatic weapon and start spraying the crowd wherever I am. I've been to hundreds upon hundreds of movies, sporting events, concerts and malls in my life and have yet to catch a single bullet.
But this is America, where we worship our guns. It could happen at any time. And that so-called law-abiding citizen with a closet full of automatic rifles is just one bad drug binge, drink or emotional catastrophe away from being the guy in Colorado.
It must be tough to be a pro-gun activist when something like this happens. Time after time, the politicians in the National Rifle Association's pocket, which is to say, all Republicans and most Democrats, were interviewed on TV.
They agreed that, yes, this was an incredible tragedy and we should pray for the victims. Their hearts go out to the families affected. But when the follow-up question comes about stopping someone from buying enough guns and ammo to kill so many people, their tone changes.
"Let's not rush to any conclusions," they say. "Let's get all the facts first."
Well, we already have the facts. The shooter acquired all his weapons and ammunition legally. This is America, where you can buy as many guns as you want. He didn't break any laws until he started shooting in the theater.
When things like this happen, gun freaks like to point out that if everyone in the theater had been armed, the gunman would have gotten fewer shots. Maybe. It'd be more likely that more innocent people would have been hit with bullets from would-be heroes.
We all know the drill. In just a few more days, most people will forget about this event and nothing will change. We will never see effective gun control in our lifetimes because, unlike the free speech lobby, and unlike the pro-justice lobby, the pro-gun lobby has the money to buy up all the politicians they need.
For historical precedent, look back to the murder of John Lennon on Dec. 8, 1980. It stunned the world. Ronald Reagan was the president-elect and was asked for his reaction.
"What can anyone say?" he told reporters. "It's a great tragedy." But no, he said, he wasn't in favor of any new gun control laws.
To give him credit, Reagan stuck to that belief — to his guns, if you will — less than four months later, after someone shot him with a legally obtained handgun.
If the deaths of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Lennon and around 9,000 other Americans each year isn't enough to bring an end to this madness, nothing will.
Do these Second-Amendment fundamentalists care more about guns or people? It's a fair question under the circumstances. Does the right to bear arms exist so that people like Ted Nugent can go elk hunting with an AK-47 or so that a junkie can rob someone in an inner city? If so, you can have those rights back.
As I said, it's useless to even talk about gun control. Only when an event like this happens is the taboo about even discussing it lifted temporarily. Americans love guns. We love to shoot things. Sometimes the things we shoot happen to be innocent people at a high school, a congresswoman, a Beatle or people whose only crime was to want to see the new Batman movie. It's the American way — great tragedy.