To the Editor:
In wake of this past week's mass shootings at the cinema in Aurora, CO during the midnight screening of "The Dark Night Returns", I feel compelled for a couple of reasons to offer an informed opinion and observation, and to request my fellow North County Residents to either offer an informed refutation or their own informed opinions. This could have been us and our own families.
From my latest understanding, 12 people have lost their lives, and an additional nearly 60 have been injured (some critically) during this tragic incident.
Some background on myself: I am a certified Pro-Marksman with the N.R.A.'s marksman certifiation program (and have the certificates to prove). I scored in the top 95 percentile with a 38 Special, a 357 Magnum, and a 45. The only certificcation higher than a Pro-Marksman is what the N.R.A. considers and certifies as "Expert". And the "Expert" certification is tough as hell...you need to shoot utilizing only one hand (without the second hand to help steady the pistol and your aim). Admittedly, I didn't get that far. But I thought I did pretty darn well with two hands on three different pistols.
I became a N.R.A. enthusiast in the late 1990s when my brother-in-law, a die hard Second Amendment advocate, introduced me to his world of a secure locker in his basement, and numerous gun range memberships, and within his secure locker which contained both pre-ban and post-ban assault rifles (all legally licensed to him by the ATF as a non-criminal, respected business owner...he could afford not only the hardware but the ammo...in fact he packs his own "hot" and "non-hot" ammo), and a littany of hand guns, three of which from I described as qualifying as Pro-Marksman from. I would LOVE it whenever I went to visit him and my sister outside of Pittsburgh, for I enjoy the sport of shooting and the competition of marksmanship that the N.R.A. registered ranges he belonged to who opened me with open arms and subsequently certified me offered.
That being said, I offer another background of myself. I did my undergraduate degree at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City, with a B.F.A in Film Studies. I believe in freedom of expression (ie: the First Amendment) just as much, if not more, than our Second Amendment.
So...can someone here in the fine North County please explain to me, why this alleged shooter/murderer in the Aurora cinema shootings, gets a pass as to at minimum an explanation as to how and why he was able to (legally) gain access to the firearms and multiple ammunition (which by most accounts now it seems was subsidized by you and me with his student loans/grants), and why the mainstream media reports the answer to this tragedy has been to ban people wearing comic book costumes attending theatres as an answer?
Why did Mike Huckabee tonight (and many others) say that his was ok, but that we cannot even "have the conversation now" as to current gun control protocols and the mental health issues involved in those getting approved for gun licenses?
I'm willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt as far as intentions (ie: preserving our Bill of Rights) but if we cannot have "this conversation now", after the worse mass shooting tragedy in our country's history, then please, tell me when would be convenient for you to at least have a "conversation"? No asking for your guns (or mine). Just asking for that "conversation".
Leland Farnsworth, Massena