This from The Washington Post: “The Century Aurora filled four theaters for its post-midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Once the movie was underway, a person dressed all in black came through an emergency door into Theater 9 and hurled two canisters of an unknown gas into the audience. Then gunfire broke out. The gunman walked through the aisles shooting people, according to witnesses. So far, 12 people have died and at least 59 others are wounded.

Police responded in less than two minutes, according to the Aurora police chief, and the shooter was apprehended in the back of the theater. Police say that James Holmes, 24, is in custody. Holmes was a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado. Authorities are trying to search Holmes’ apartment, which they say is “bobby-trapped.” The theater is located in a shopping mall complex, which has shut down for the day. “

This is what I awoke to this morning.

As I set out each day for work, I avoid the news, Facebook, Twitter and anything else that will keep me from giving my customers and co-workers the best I have to give, but my iPad was going nuts, with push notifications from AP, Reuters, CNN and every major news outlet – telling me there was something happening in Colorado that demanded my attention… and so I looked.

The tears came unexpectedly and in a flood.  I’m tired of this.  We’re into week 6 of a heat wave that has sapped my physical strength with another 4 of it projected.  We’re 4 months away from an election that gets more ugly by the day and is sapping my emotional strength.  We’re 30 years into a national downward spiral of Christian Conservative stupidity that is ruining the country and is sapping the soul of this land.  I’ve got plenty to cry about.  At least 12 of my fellow countrymen are dead today and at least 59 others are wounded and all at the hands of a 24 year-old grad student who thought it would be a good idea to take an assault rifle into a movie theatre and commit the mass murder of a bunch of innocent people who only wanted to watch the new Batman movie.  As I write this, my iPad continues to ping with rising casualty figures and the tears keep coming.

I foolishly logged onto Facebook and this was the first thing I saw:  Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said that the shootings that took place in an Aurora, Colorado. movie theater hours earlier were a result of “ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs” and questioned why nobody else in the theater had a gun to take down the shooter.  During a radio interview on The Heritage Foundation’s “Istook Live!” show, Gohmert was asked why he believes such senseless acts of violence take place. Gohmert responded by talking about the weakening of Christian values in the country.

“Some of us happen to believe that when our founders talked about guarding our virtue and freedom, that that was important,” he said. “Whether it’s John Adams saying our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people … Ben Franklin, only a virtuous people are capable of freedom, as nations become corrupt and vicious they have more need of masters. We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country.  You know what really gets me, as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of a derelict takes place.”

Nothing says the love of Jesus like packing heat.  There’s so much wrong with his views and his insensitive comments, it would take a book to break them down.  I don’t have the energy and I don’t have that kind of time.  I’m too busy mourning the death of people I’ve never met to do much more than shake my damned head.  If you’re reading this, there’s no need for me to explain it to you anyway.  This man, elected to the United States House of Representatives is a lunatic and unfit to hold office or roam the streets unsupervised.  I will add that anyone who thinks a hundred guns going off in a dark crowded movie theatre is a good idea, should sit down and shut up.

Those people were murdered in Aurora this morning, not because there were too few guns in that theatre.  It happened because one guy had four guns too many and all were legally purchased.  Those guns were purchased for a singular purpose: to kill as many people as possible, in as short a time as possible.  It had nothing to do with an American exercising their Second Amendment rights. The Second Amendment says nothing about giving anyone the right murder innocent people.  Social media is being flooded by many Conservatives not talking about how and why this happened, but howling how this will give Liberals an excuse to “take away their guns”.  I sure hope so.  Fuck them and their love of guns.

I had two guns but I never loved them.  One was a pistol that was given to me by a friend who worried about my safety as a single woman living alone in a remote area.  I gave it to a male friend I trust because I don’t want something in my home with the potential to kill another person.  Let me clarify.  I didn’t want a pistol in the house because I felt the only purpose for it was to kill another person.  That’s not me.  I’m not afraid to live alone in a remote area but neither am I stupid.  I take common-sense precautions and I reside with a very large dog with a good disposition but would never tolerate my being hurt by someone.  She’d stop an intruder without killing them.  That’s the optimal goal for me.  I still own a hunting rifle, a gift from my better half.  That rifle has been used for sporting purposes, for conservation and to feed the hungry.  We enjoy hunting.  We love what it does for the ecology of our area.  We love that in this economy, we’ve used our guns to donate the meat to the local food panty.  There’s a difference between that and loving my gun.  It’s not something to love – it’s something to respect.

As long as the NRA, with all of their lobbying money and all of their political power and all of the politicians they’ve bought off exist and Americans won’t grow a pair and stand up to them, we can never hope to have any meaningful conversation about common-sense gun laws.  It’s time to outlaw assault weapons, extended clips and bullets like the “cop killers”.  It’s time to create laws that mandate thorough background checks in a national database that disqualify anyone with questionable mental status.  It’s time to stop these “gun shows” that aren’t shows at all, but a clearing house to get weapons into the hands of people who can’t pass the most rudimentary background check.  Mostly, it’s time to stop pretending this is a problem that will go away.  Oh, I know some gun nut will toss me the soft-ball meme that “Guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.”  Yeah, people do kill people, and they do it most effectively with a gun in their hand.  Until the day a human being is killed by having a bullet thrown at them, shove your meme where the sun don’t shine.

This country tolerates an average of 20 mass shootings a year.  I don’t even have to work hard to think of them.  Today I thought of Gabby Giffords and Christina-Taylor Greene in Arizona.  I thought of Columbine.  I thought of Virginia Tech.  When I finally did look it up, the list was pages long and it’s not complete.  Until Americans confront the NRA, the shootings in Aurora won’t be the last.

I wanted to escape from this news story for just a little while.  I didn’t want to think about it, so I decided to start watching that new HBO series, The Newsroom that I’d placed in my viewing queue.  As a devotee of “The West Wing”, a television series that emotionally got me through eight years of George W. Bush, I was delighted when I learned that this series was the brainchild of Aaron Sorkin, creator of “The West Wing”.  I’d decided to avoid the reviews, the show bumpers and the sneak videos and just walk into it blind.  The premiere of The Newsroom opens with actor Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, a cable news anchor and managing editor of News Night. Will is a moderate Republican whose success is largely the result of never offending anyone.  He’s been invited to a college campus to sit on a panel with a far-left Liberal and a far-right Conservative to answer questions posed by the students.  The following 4:48 video rocked me to the core.

“The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one.”

Pass the Kleenex.  America may have just found her soul again.

Carol Baker is a political writer, satirist, and co-host with Vicki Childs of our Here Women Talk weekly internet talk radio show called BROADSIDED. You can hear their show every Thursday at 11 am Eastern/10 Central/8 Pacific.