CHICAGO, July 23, 2012 — One thing you learn early in law enforcement is you cannot prevent people from committing violent crimes. It is virtually impossible. You might prevent some, if you are present or nearby. But on the whole, if people want to commit violent acts, there is not too much anyone can do.
You cannot prevent mass murder, like the Aurora, Colorado tragedy. You cannot prevent serial killers, who kill and kill again, sometimes committing mass murder. You cannot prevent terrorists, rapists, robbers, organized crime hits, child abusers, muggers, or any other determined people who decide to commit heinous acts of violence.
You cannot prevent horrific traffic, air or sea tragedies. Humans are part of nature. Nature proves over and over to be a cruel and evil master.
You can ban guns or arm everyone it will make no difference. Please spare me the “if there were armed citizens in the theater” nonsense. It would have just exacerbated a bad situation.
All these people who assert, “if one person in that theater had a gun …” show how dumb they are and expect you to be. They are so dumb they should be forbidden to even look at a gun, let alone own one. Most think they are close quarter combat tactical experts because they read the Second Amendment and they know how to put the shiny round thingies in the whatchamacallit of a gun.
If any of them were in that dark theater that fatal night they would have ducked for cover looking for toilet paper, or worse, killed more innocent people.
This is not a defeatist attitude. It is reality. Reality has no attitude. Get over it and yourself. If you think otherwise, step away from the crack pipe.
One person is suspected of causing this tragedy. He is a human being, just like the rest of us. Each and every one of us has the capability to do what he allegedly did. Each and every one of us has the same chance to become a victim too. Life is real. It is not some Utopian touchy-feely fantasy or sensitivity class. If you want to deny reality, go live in Disney World.
Evil, mental illness, psychological problems, anger, rage, and other issues affect each and every one of us. One day you can be the greatest person in the world. The next you can turn into a murderous monster or a corpse. You can say, “that will never happen to me,” and it won’t until it does.
For those who think “suspect” is too lenient of a term, the man arrested in the Aurora shootings can be called the “accused.” Calling him anything else is inaccurate and wrong.
His name is James Holmes. He is a suspected, accused, or alleged mass murderer. For those challenged by terminology, he is not a serial killer.
Holmes is “suspected,” “accused,” or “alleged” until some court in the land actually proves and convicts him of the crime or judges him insane. Just like every other person accused of committing a crime, from jay walking to mass murder, his innocence is a legal fact until he’s proven guilty in court. It would be good to remember that. Maybe you should write it down.
James Holmes is a human being. He has a name. He is a citizen and fellow American. Whether we like it or not, he deserves to be treated as such. Holmes deserves to be given the same benefit of the doubt as your beloved politicians and adored celebrities when they cross the line.
Our media are breathlessly reporting that Holmes “lawyered up” and is not cooperating with authorities. Guess what? He does not have to cooperate with the authorities, media, or anyone else. He has no legal responsibility to do so.
Holmes has constitutional rights. If you want to know what those are, just find someone from the Tea Party or Occupy Movement to explain it to you. They are constitutional experts.
The media do not see it that way. They must know everything. It is getting harder and harder to tell who has less intelligence, the media, elected officials, or entertainment celebrities. Silliness has replaced sanity.
It is a good bet the media are trying to score that “exclusive jail house” interview with Holmes. They want the same kind of pathetic, inane interview George Zimmerman, of Trayvon Martin fame, gave to Sean Hannity. Zimmerman should fire his attorney for allowing that and hire one who actually knows what he is doing.
The tin-foil hat conspiracy nuts are coming out of the woodwork like cockroaches. They are weaving theories over a Colorado judge’s routine approval of a prosecution request to seal all the information regarding the case. They believe there is some kind of sinister plot afoot. The “gummint” is hiding something from them.
In the days, weeks, months, and maybe years to come, depending how long it takes to try James Homes, we are supposedly going to know more about him than we ever wanted to.
It is good to remember one thing, one very important thing, the most important thing. James Holmes might or might not be a lot of things, but he is innocent until proven guilty. He is, like you and me, an American citizen, with all the same rights to the benefit of the doubt until some court or courts say otherwise, just like Paris Hilton and every politician in Chicago.
Here is one more thing to consider. So far, there is not one surviving victim who can sit in open court and positively identify James Holmes as the perpetrator in that theater, without a reasonable doubt, the legal standard. All they saw was Batman.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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