Skip to main content

Commenters debate guns, 'what if'

By Todd Leopold, CNN
updated 4:12 PM EDT, Sat July 21, 2012
The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/21/us/gallery/colorado-mourning-victims/index.html' target='_blank'>More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre</a> The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre
HIDE CAPTION
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado movie theater shooting
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN commenters engage in gun debate
  • Story about Colorado shooting has attracted more than 19,000 responses
  • Some say they would have struck back at shooter; others doubt that was possible
  • "We need serious dialogue here," says one commenter

Anderson Cooper anchors "AC360" from Aurora, Colorado, scene of the deadly movie theater shooting, at 8 and 10 ET Friday night on CNN.

(CNN) -- Samuel27 started a huge debate.

The CNN story about the Aurora movie theater shooting had more than 19,000 comments as of 3:45 p.m. ET. The most "liked" comment -- and one that has inspired dozens of responses -- came from Samuel27: "If only there had been someone else with a gun there to stop him. Because nothing is safer than having multiple gunmen in a dark, crowded theater full of panicky people running around."

Samuel27 apparently meant his words sarcastically, but several commenters took him seriously, observing that the surprise and panic created by a sudden shooting is not the atmosphere in which to react with more shooting.

"So all you people out there commenting with your guns are all crack shots that you could take this nutjob down with one shot, without hitting anybody else, in a darkened theater, where said nutjob threw a smoke bomb and there are panicked people running around. That's impressive. Unrealistic, but impressive," wrote Laureth. "How would you people feel if instead of hitting the nutjob, you shot someone's kid by mistake?"

Opinion: Gun control won't stop mass murder

Commenter CAFlyers -- who identified himself on a phone call as Robert Bickle of Townsend, Massachusetts -- wrote, "Based on the facts as I know them, I have to say that it is UNLIKELY that I would have been able to take the shot in this scenario effectively due to the state of mind I would have been in at the theater, the speed of the event, the smoke, the commotion, etc."

In a phone interview, Bickle, a Navy veteran and former law enforcement officer whose family has deep roots in both the military and police, added that his family's safety would have been at the top of his mind in such a situation.

"I would be more concerned about the person I was with, and especially if my two kids were there, I'd probably spend my time throwing them on the ground and getting on top of them and crawling our way out of there, than I would ever reaching down into my ankle holster or shoulder holster and try to pull out a weapon and return fire," he said.

Theater offers 'perfect killing' zone, expert says

Cestlavie3 wrote an armed civilian could have lowered the number of casualties.

Video: Chaos at theater shooting scene
Listen to theater shooting 911 calls
Witness: Shooter was aiming everywhere

"I'm sitting in a theater, three rows in front of me a man stands up and starts shooting. Immediately I access my pistol, stand up and then end his life. He has killed 2 people, but 12 others will go home alive. You do the math," he wrote.

But BryanPetty cautioned that taking such a shot carries risks. "Conceal and Carry personnel should know better than to draw down in this situation, unless they had a clear shot and could neutralize the target," though he added, "I don't think a bunch of CCW holders would be blindly shooting at each other."

PCShogun wrote that taking action was important.

NRA tweeter was 'unaware' of Colorado shooting

"I'd rather die with a gun in my hand trying to defend my family and myself than see them all die in front of me knowing I did nothing to try and stop it."

Several comments made reference to a recent story from Ocala, Florida, in which an armed 71-year-old man at an Internet cafe shot at two men, as they attempted to rob the place.

"Right, because a law abiding senior citizen that has a CCW permit didn't just stop a robbery in Florida a few days ago by shooting the two assailants, one of which had a gun," wrote Kris Eagle.

Other commenters defended the Second Amendment and scoffed at gun control advocates. In response, those on the other side maintained that the United States needs stricter gun laws and derided gun defenders.

Timeline: Worst mass shootings in U.S.

HopelessinNJ wrote about the anger reflected in many of the comments, and appealed for calm.

"When something as horrific as this happens, it's human nature to speculate on what else could have been done to bring about an ending we feel better about," hopelessinNJ wrote. "It's understandable, and very human to seek comfort in the 'if only,' but let's not attack each other and name-call. This was a violent act of anger and hate, so let's not feed the monster. ... Let's give words of comfort and condolences to the victims and focus on them, not on fighting with each other here."

iReporter: 'AK-47 a weapon for war'

There is some irony that this debate should arise in the wake of "The Dark Knight Rises," the concluding chapter in director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Nolan has focused on the gloomy side of the Caped Crusader, his personality divided over his decision to exact vigilante justice -- such as the kind many commenters have called for.

In "The Dark Knight Rises," Batman's opponent, Bane, is a gleeful terrorist, setting off explosive charges that isolate Gotham City and apparently kill thousands, though the PG-13 film seldom gets graphic. Shot with Nolan's typical precision and set to booming, Wagneresque music, the film's darker action is both repellent and exciting in the way movie violence often is.

Shootings cast pall over 'Dark Knight Rises' opening weekend

Perhaps the split between opinions is best captured by commenter Corey Hurd, who echoes the ideas of a much different film, Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven," in which Eastwood's character remarks, "It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."

"By the vast majority of comments on this site, everybody needs some form of counseling; this is not about black or white or red and blue states," Hurd wrote. "Human lives were taken without regard; we need serious dialogue here, but the saddest thing about it is that there aren't any politicians who want to step up to the plate. Should we arm every citizen with a Desert Eagle, am not sure that will make us all safer.

Aspiring sports photographer killed in shooting

"I have three children, and a wife, and I would lay my life down for them in a heartbeat, and if it came down to me pulling the trigger then so be it, but I'd rather not."

In light of the recent shooting, what are your thoughts on gun control and public safety? Let us know on CNN iReport.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Meet the victims involved in the Colorado theater massacre through shared photos and read the memories kept alive by their loved ones.
updated 9:59 AM EDT, Thu March 28, 2013
Colorado shooting suspect has offered to plead guilty and spend the rest of his life behind bars in exchange for avoiding the death penalty.
updated 10:36 AM EDT, Fri March 22, 2013
Back in the 1950s, Hollywood fell in love with the idea of truth serum. But it doesn't work the way the movies have made it seem.
updated 9:59 PM EST, Fri March 1, 2013
Lawyers for James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting suspect, took aim against the state's insanity defense laws in court documents made public Friday.
updated 7:18 AM EST, Tue January 8, 2013
So much blood the theater floor had become slippery. Bodies with horrific injuries. The eerie sound of cell phones ringing, over and over again.
updated 11:34 AM EST, Thu January 3, 2013
Relatives of nine people killed said an invitation to attend an event on the eve of the remodeled complex's reopening is "disgusting."
updated 11:30 AM EDT, Tue July 31, 2012
Colorado movie shooting suspect James Holmes was charged Monday with 24 counts of first-degree murder -- two counts for each of the 12 people killed in the shooting.
updated 6:06 PM EDT, Wed July 25, 2012
From the silver lining of welcoming a newborn into the world on Tuesday to promising to live life to the fullest, survivors are looking forward.
updated 10:46 AM EDT, Sun July 22, 2012
James E. Holmes is described by those who know him as a quiet, clean-cut doctoral student.
updated 10:35 AM EDT, Fri July 20, 2012
A heavily armed gunman opened fire at a movie theater on July 20, killing at least 12 and wounding 38. Here are some of the worst U.S. mass shootings since World War II.
updated 2:59 PM EDT, Wed July 25, 2012
Photos of the scene in Aurora after the shooting took place.
updated 9:59 PM EDT, Fri July 20, 2012
A heavily armed gunman sprayed the audience with gunfire during an early morning screening of the new Batman movie, killing 12 and wounding 38 others, authorities said.
Are you a friend or family member of one of the victims? Share your tributes here.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT