When I was growing up, we played "Cowboys and Indians." We routinely "shot" each other with a stick of wood (used as a rifle) or our hand ( accompanied by suitable sound effects). We also played "Marines and Japs" and the occasional "Cops and Robbers."
No one ever seemed to die, you were only wounded and miraculously rose up to fight again. All were accompanied with lots of running, stooping, bending, crawling and iutilizing any and all available cover. I believe the greatest benefit was the exercise.
Even many of the early TV shows rarely ever showed a fatal shooting (them that "bit the dust" - like from the six-gun of Matt Dillon- were never shown). There was never the portrayal of the outcome of violence that we see today. Woundings (causing the "bad guy" to drop his weapon) were common, and it was always "obvious" that "right" prevailed.
Probably the worst thing many of my generation ever saw (until Vietnam) were the explicit, gory, accident photos shown one day in Driver's Ed (and the girls were allowed to leave if they wanted).
Kids today have access to so much more gratuitious violence than I can ever remember. I can't imagine how that can't help but affect the view of life.
I'm sure that there will be all kinds of pleas, studies, sermons, and polls on the whole business of Aurora/Columbine/Safeway/Virginia Tech and on and on and on ... with "do you think ........"
I'm sure the figures can be skewed any way the writer's own feelings flow.
Let's get a few things straight.........
I'm a gun owner and have owned a firearm most of my adult life. I buy ammunition on the internet. I shoot at least twice a month. I carried a weapon almost every day of my military career. I belong to the NRA (the gun insurance is great). I enjoy the discipline that shooting makes me exercise. I have been trained in the use and application of "deadly force."
Despite all that, I still believe that owning a firearm is a privlege and a responsibility. I don't believe that someone needs a 30-round magazine for deer hunting or plinking rats at the dump (probably not a lot of that anymore) just as I believe that not everyone is suited for gun ownership.
Robert Heinlein (the Science Fiction writer) always proposed that "and armed society is a polite society," and advocated universal ownership and carry. Think about this the next time you cut someone off in traffic or cut in front of them at the supermarket.
Pundits and others are already bringing up the "what ifs" concerning some "citizen" subduing the gunman in Aurora. Right. Dark theatre, black clothing, body armor. I'm sure John Q would have simply added to the confusion and injury total - - and the outcome would have been the same. Life ain't a movie. It certainly worked out well in Arizona, eh ??
If we are going to wave around the Second Amendment, then why not make everyone who wants a gun sign up for the "militia?" It wouldn't have to be formal military service, but you would be required to maintain your weapon and its security. You would be subject to inspection of its use, maintenance and storage. If it's mis-used, you would be subject to penalties.
As an update to the last graph, let's classify gun owners: militia and terrorists. If you ain't registered as a militia member, you must be a terrorist. We've been so happy to surrender our rights under the Patriot Act, this 'lil thing can't be difficult, eh ?? (update 7/24/12)
I realize the very thought of weapons registration will drive the NRA insane (insaner??) and result in reviving the ever -present bogey-man of confiscation that's hiding under the bed. Be afraid, be very afraid.
There will never be a civil conversation on this subject in this country. Both sides will accuse and blame the other for any situation like the one last week in Colorado - it's already started.
There are no "cites" in this post - - there's already too much out there - I'm sure you can find 'em.
Suffice it to say, this event will soon be forgotten except by those that have lost a loved one ...... and those that wish to exploit it for their own agenda. It will, unfortunately, happen again.