Written July 23, 2012     

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© 2017 Bob Lonsberry


47 Responses

Note: Comments of readers are their own and do not reflect the feelings of Bob Lonsberry or lonsberry.com.

# 1. 7/23/12 4:47 AM by mark - jonesville, la
The guy had body armor on. One citizen with a legal weapon wouldn't have been able to stop him. By the time you realized he was wearing body armor, you've given away your position and the fact that you are armed and you're toast. Head shots are challenging enough at the range, forget about in a dark theater with a moving target and everyone in a panic. It would have taken 5-10 gun-carrying citizens before someone got a head-shot to stop him. This is an example of why everyone who can legally carry should.

Editor's Note: you are not tactically right. you presume that winning a gun fight is you being alive and the other guy being dead. that is not always going to be the case. if you engage him, and allow people to escape, by distracting him and taking his time, you have achieved a worthwhile end, even if you are subsequently a casualty. and body armor stops bullets, it doesn't stop their pain. you get a body shot and it breaks a rib. it gets your attention. he wasn't invincible. and standing against him, if even for a moment, buys a moment to get one more person out the door.

# 2. 7/23/12 6:17 AM by Joe - Rochester, NY
Generally agree with your good vs. evil theory but evil shouldn't have access to a military assault rifle.

Best definition of an assault weapon?

‘Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts. These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.’

Governor Mitt Romney – July 1, 2004 - commenting as he signed into Massachusetts’s law a permanent assault weapons ban.

Editor's Note: fortunately he's pulled his head out since then

# 3. 7/23/12 6:37 AM by Jodi - Wayne County East
In our secular humanist culture with little or no moral constraints or fear of God should anyone really be suprised?

Horrified, sickened, yes, but not suprised.

# 4. 7/23/12 7:28 AM by prick - webster

No trial, no psychiatric evaluation, no appeals, no media circus with a-hole attorneys looking to hog the cameras----just take this guy out, put a bullet in his head, and let him rot.

# 5. 7/23/12 7:38 AM by Tom Dey - Springwater, NY
Evil is alive and well. And not much society can do to prevent these rare but devastating anomalies. He planned it and seems to be basking in the lime-light of his "success." Building is tough; destruction is easy. If our criminal justice system worked as intended --- he would be walked the "Green Mile" very slowly ... after a speedy trial. But this will drag through the courts forever and then he will sit in a cell comfortably and indefinitely.

# 6. 7/23/12 7:46 AM
Gotta wonder, a student of the brain? The benefit of a degree and the consequences of theory.

You have to wonder what would have been the outcome, if just one man had stood with iron in his hand and valour in his heart.

Editor's Note: agreed

# 8. 7/23/12 8:09 AM by NascarDad - Richmond, VA
Not sure Bob..

This has caused me to reexamine - not whether I should carry, but what I carry.

My personal defense ammo would have not penetrated the vest because it is designed to expand and stop, not penetrate. In the darkness, smoke, and confusion, I may not have realized he was wearing a vest and still shot for center mass, that is if I could get a safe shot off at all with a theater full of people.

Still, I am left reexamining the round and the capacity of my Every Day Carry gun. Granted, this is not something you run into every day, I am armed for the most common assailant, not for a heavily armed and up-armored insane person. But maybe it should be a bit more than what I have now.

Personally I don't know how it would have gone if there was just one armed person returning fire, because of the murderer's vest and ballistic helmet, the element of surprise, the confusion, and the gas mask.

But if there were 2, and they could flank him, I believe the loss of life would have been smaller.

I do know one thing, I need to get to the gun range more often.

Editor's Note: stay with your current ammunition. and a "ballistic helmet" hit with a bullet, is going to stop the bullet. it's also going to leave the guy wearing it knocked on his arse and probably out cold. also, body armor still transfers energy to the body, it's a body blow, it either injures a guy or throws him off his game for a moment. it buys time. head and legs.

# 9. 7/23/12 8:23 AM by Cecil G. - Upstate New York
thumbsdown.gif Nope Bob - it is guns. Guns that shoot so many bullets in one minute that a person who has gone off the deep end can kill dozens and dozens of his fellow citizens (kids, senior citizens, military folks etc) yep its these guns that NO ONE IN AMERICA NEEDS OR HAS ANY USE FOR. These guns are killing your fellow Americans in these now predictable massacres...that happen over and over and over for the last 20 years... Who do we have to thank for the slaughter - the NRA - great job you guys - you are doing a wonderful job protecting your gun rights - I nominate you Bob and your fellow gun nuts the most selfish and least patriotic Americans - slap yourself on the back - have a beer...your cute poetry you just wrote trying to deflect attention away from the real problem (rapid fire guns..assault weapons) and blame it on EVIL - you are truly a pathetic little child with very small manhood - to keep trying to blame it on EVIL - cause the real problem is the lack of good gun control and because we are always going have people who go off the deep end who are legal gun owners - we will continue this crazy sickness that you and the NRA sponsor - hope you are proud of yourselves.

Editor's Note: actually, i think this attack is the perfect argument for more people with more guns. the good guys need to be armed to stop the bad guys.

# 10. 7/23/12 8:48 AM by Mark
thumbsup.gif Once again, why didn't someone try to tackle the shooter. I would think that in a croweded theatre, therre would have to have been people on all sides of him. And while using a rifle, he could not turn and shoot people very easily that are right next to him. Just wondering.

Editor's Note: i pray that in a situation like that i would have the presence of mind to do that.

# 11. 7/23/12 9:09 AM by Rob - Ontario,NY
thumbsup.gif One evil person with gun = 12 Angels One Child of Christ with licensed gun = 1 less evil person

# 12. 7/23/12 9:24 AM
Well, what can you expect from a nation who's true religion is spelled NRA.

Gun sales will now soar. Gun manufacturers will thrive as will gun sellers.

The evil one will pause for a minute and relish the satisfaction of more guns going out to the masses to destroy more innocent lives.

The expectation of guns being our savior will continue.

# 13. 7/23/12 9:24 AM by bill - dallas, tx
Your right, of course.

The question that continues to run through my mind is, from where did he obtain head to toe ballistic gear? How did he obtain "flash bang" or tear gas canisters? Are these things regulated? You certainly can't buy this stuff at Dick's Sporting Goods.

Having my pistol with me at this moment wasn't going to help. He was ready for me.

There is no doubt that this young man has deep routed problems. A lot of people have similar problems. They don't shoot up a movie theater.

# 14. 7/23/12 9:31 AM by Cal - Rochester, NY
thumbsup.gif Bob,

James Holmes showed a promising future. He was planning on becoming a doctor and also was a camp counselor. I believe part of the problem was the influence of liberals, when they took God out of our public schools.

This started when an atheist mother took her son, James McCullem, in front of the Supreme Court, to have them win and rule CHRISTIANITY OUT our schools. I just happen to know Jim. His atheist mother taught at the University of Illinois at Champlan, the same place where Marxist Bill Ayers taught. The people of Illinois were so much against the McCullums, that they were persecuted. As a result Jim was sent to Rochester, NY to get away from the trouble. I know Jim from my Western Sq. Dance club The Cloverleafs, here in Rochester.

Life is a continuous struggle between good vs evil. In the case of Jim Holmes, evil won out. I just can`t help to think, that with this Supreme Court decision, taking God out of the public schools, aided Jim Holmes to become the devil! We need Christian Revival, just like in the olden days with John Wesley and other Christian Ministers, to make America again Christ Centered again, to help avoid future killings, like what just occurred in Colorado.

# 15. 7/23/12 9:37 AM
Horrified as I watched/listened to the news report of this attack on innocent people. We can legislate all we want about guns but the fact is that there are people out there who shouldn't even be near a gun. But until that individual commits an evil, random act of violence against unsuspecting people, they go unnoticed and again there is a rallying cry about stricter gun laws, and why aren't people who buy unusual amounts of firearms and ammo reported, etc., etc. It's happened before and unfortunately, will probably happen again.

# 16. 7/23/12 11:00 AM by John - SLC
thumbsup.gif AMEN!

Let's get on with a speedy fair trial and hang the SOB!

# 17. 7/23/12 11:01 AM by Cami - slc, utah
Cain and Abel?! No comparison. Everyone with half a braincell knows the theatres always have exit doors that lock from the outside so no one can sneak in. This young man was by all accounts very responsible, quiet and not schooled in para military operations. He had no record of violence, no one compared him to being jealous of others like Cain was of his brother and he did not shoot his brothers and sisters. He shot total strangers. More were involved obviously. And if this column is not about guns then why do you have this questionaire about guns next to it and try to act like some mental case talking about cain and abel? You are a trouble maker not really expressing all views here like that many see this as obviously very staged. why do I even bother?

Editor's Note: because this is what the obama campaign pays you to do. how's the weather in chicago?

# 18. 7/23/12 11:05 AM by Larmo - Provo
thumbsup.gif I have been sickened by this senseless act. It was so well planned out. I carry a gun. I would have been blinded by the tear gas, and my .380 bullets would have done nothing against the body armor. Weather you are the congress woman in Safeway, or an innocent movie goer, our lives are changing in a very bad way.

Editor's Note: i'd take a 380 and i'd take my chances

# 19. 7/23/12 11:29 AM by Jim
the guy was some patsy - evil ones who will have to face their creator some day but never prison in this life, like the guy who shot gifford. He supposely worked alone by the media reporting yet many there said he was working with some men who were telling him when to shoot. do you even ever go to a regular movie Bob?

# 20. 7/23/12 11:47 AM by Lee K - Syracuse, NY
thumbsup.gif No, Bob, you could not have been there with a gun of your own. Not without breaking the rules of the theater. (Or the law?)

# 21. 7/23/12 12:15 PM by Cori - Rochester NY
If there was ever a time where the "pay it forward" line of thinking comes into play it should be now.

Karen Klein.. the grandmother who was bullied on the bus received pledges of over $700,000. Her response was to donate some of that money to charity.

My thinking is that Ms. Klein should donate to the families of the victims of the Aurora shootings. A $20,000 donation to each of the 12 families to help with funeral and travel costs. And donate $5,000 each to the rest of the victims who received horrible injuries.

She will have plenty left over to take her vacation, retire, and pay off her bills.

I'm not unsympathetic to what happened to Ms. Klein...but in the wake of the tragedy in Colorado her pain pales in comparison to the pain the families of these victims are suffering.

She gets her money today.

Pay it Forward Ms. Klein.

# 22. 7/23/12 12:46 PM by BSP
What can we do to stop violence like this? What can we do so something like this never happens again?

Answer: Nothing.

As long as there are people, there will always be violence. And no matter what the laws are, no matter how wonder parents are parenting are, and no matter what the consequences, there will always be someone to do something evil and horrific.

The only thing we can do is be vigilant and make sure people who do these acts NEVER see the light of day again!

# 23. 7/23/12 3:23 PM by Carl
So true.

# 24. 7/23/12 3:50 PM by Al - Hornell,
thumbsup.gif People have been killing people from the beginning of time and sadly will continue to do so.

# 25. 7/23/12 5:00 PM by Mark
thumbsup.gif The trial and execution should take no more than 6 months. Sadly, they will make this into a circus and the appeals will go on for 15 years unless they put him in with Hinkley.

# 26. 7/23/12 5:21 PM by Chip - Canandaigua, NY
thumbsup.gif Excellent point. The gun right debate will be lively but your article sums it up perfectly. We are all on the same side for this one.

# 27. 7/23/12 5:27 PM by Woody
thumbsup.gif And he will plead not guilty by reason of insanity,and do time in an mental hospital in stead of being executed as he should be.

# 28. 7/23/12 7:50 PM by Cindy - Fairport
There really should be a law regarding private citizens being able to buy this kind of ammunition and firearms online like this.

Come on, who the heck needs 6000 rounds of ammunition!!

# 29. 7/23/12 8:35 PM by Dera - Brockport
The fact that the gun jammed and it prevented further casualties PROVES that assault rifles should be banned. That one incident in Colorado was the perfect microcosm of the gun debate. When semi-automatic weapons are removed from the equation, less people die.

# 30. 7/23/12 8:39 PM by Liz - Pittsford
Don't you think someone buying 6,000 rounds of ammo over the internet should be hauled in and questioned thoroughly?

# 31. 7/23/12 8:45 PM
More would have perished if he knew what he purchased. The drum mag was a Korean aftermarket and Wolf brand ammo is famous for jamming in AR-15 rifles. I hope they burn him and send him to hell.

# 32. 7/23/12 8:55 PM by ff - roch
thumbsup.gif Hunting story from a few years ago: One time I was suddenly assaulted by a rabid 75-deer herd from hell on all sides. Thankfully, I had my trusty assault rifle with a 100-bullet clip and I was able to take them all out before they bit off my armored hunting gear and kicked me in the groin! Freedom was saved that day!

# 33. 7/23/12 10:50 PM by Beth - Pittsford
thumbsdown.gif Had there been effective gun control in colorado, this lunatic would never have been able to purchase these items, and those people he killed would still be alive. the idiots in the NRA are as responsible as him.

# 34. 7/24/12 1:06 AM by Macgyver - Rochester, NY
thumbsup.gif The very special girl I have been taking to the movies, dinner and other places of enjoyment wonders why I am armed 99.9% of the time (even though she is an Army vet). Only when going somewhere, such as where there is the possibility of consuming alcoholic beverages, concealment is not possible or firearms are strictly forbidden, such as schools, am I not armed with the appropriate firearm/ammunition for the time of year and/or concealment purposes.

Perhaps she now understands why I am almost always armed--better to have and not need than to need and not have.

You are absolutely correct--even a small caliber handgun, preferably larger than a .22, will inflict pain and damage through ballistic protective wear, at least enough to distract the perpetrator and even providing the shock effect of actually getting unexpectedly hurt. I am pretty sure the 9mm S&W wheel gun loaded with Winchester silver tip hollow points I usually carry in the summer would have stung him through his ballistic wear. My worst fear would be that I could not get a clear shot through the crowd but I sure would be down under cover and over my special friend and, with God's help, get a good, clear shot where it would count or die trying with hopes my friend remained unharmed.

Since my special friend and I are both Army vets, we have had some pretty good training to not panic, just react to the situation to survive and defend ourselves and others with the best of our abilities.

# 35. 7/24/12 8:32 AM by Poplar Beach
For those who say someone with a pistol could NOT have stopped this guy.

He was not trained military, he is a goofball evil kid, if someone shot back he might have run like a rabbit, and a hit in the body armor probably would have made him crap his pants.

Believe me, having been in combat, even for highly trained military, when someone shoots back, the game changes big time.

An armed citizen could have made a huge difference!

That said, I think 100 round magazines for civilians should not be legal!

# 36. 7/24/12 8:47 AM
Did his neighbors not notice his ammo collection and interest in bombs?

Did any of the UPS couriers find 90 deliveries to this one individual alarming? Enough to speak up to anyone?

This to me recalls pre 9/11 when the flight instructors didn't red flag any of the training, or when other signals were missed.

# 37. 7/24/12 9:05 AM by Gary - NY
thumbsup.gif Stores have alarms on the emergency doors.

# 38. 7/24/12 10:59 AM by hc
So he was a budding neuroscience student. Apparently, a brilliant man.

So???? Who gives a rip?

One of the (many) things that gets me is that he hepped himself up on Vicodin before inflicting this mayhem. He inflicted pain on others while he intentionally anesthetized himself.

Sometimes intelligence isn't always that glorious, after all.

I kinda wish they would just jail him with the general population.


# 39. 7/24/12 5:06 PM by Mark - Greece
Taking guns away from responsible citizens is not the answer. This will, perhaps on a smaller scale, but still cumulatively, result in more gun-related casualties. The crooks will still get guns regardless. The law-abiding will not. However, I believe that the NRA should spearhead a campaign to keep guns legal, but make it harder, if not impossible to get in the hands of people who will use them to senselessly kill others. One final morbid, and politically incorrect point. No guns were used on 9/11. None were fired when the car bomb went off in Oklahoma city. 112 innocents were killed in Iraq yesterday, none by an AK-47. Respnsible gun owners do not kill indiscriminately, mentally unstable, or religious lunatic fringes will.

# 40. 7/26/12 12:20 PM by Patrick - Syracuse, NY
Lots of places have rules against bringing guns in. Places like malls, churches, playgrounds, the movies, etc. How much trouble can you get in if you are found to be carrying against said rules? Nowadays, that's a risk I'd take...if I had a legal conceal carry gun permit.

# 41. 7/27/12 10:26 AM
thumbsup.gif My sister, son, and I have devised a plan - we play dead long enough for the person to move past us, then we dig our freaking keys into the guys head or body as hard as we can. We form a mob and take the motherclucker out. I have actually spoken to my adult children about their plan of survival and attack when they go to the movies. Sad day! My heart goes out to the victims families and to the survivors. They have to live with this memory for the rest of their lives.

# 42. 7/28/12 3:41 PM by Mike Rosenhan - Kearns, UT
Bob, that would be he DYED his hair orange, not "died" his hair orange. If his hair had died, chances are he would have died also.

Now to the shooting at a ballistic vest argument. Most ballistic vests are lightweight. Usually 17 or 18 layers of material. Some (military vests and swat vests) are usually made of a combination of Kevlar and ceramic/metal plates together. The ceramic vests are heavy and uncomfortable. The kind that Holmes had was not the ceramic type.

A shot to a bullet proof vest by any caliber bullet causes that part of the vest where the bullet hits to deform. There by causing that part of the vest to lose its ability to absorb the bullet. The smaller and faster the bullet, the better chance for a vest failure.

Vests are made of light weight ballistic material like Kevlar. That material is weaved together just like your shirt, but the weave is much bigger. The weaved sheets are put into layers to be made into a vest. As the bullet hits the cloth, it in effect catches the bullet. The smaller the bullet, the less material catches it. Bullets don't bounce off of the vest. As the bullet penetrates into the vest it is at some point stopped by the weaved material. Kind of like a Navy plane landing on an aircraft carrier by catching the tail hook. The force of the bullet is dissipated by being caught by the material, but blunt force trauma is still inflicted.

Multiple hits to the vest cause much more deformation of the vest lowering its ballistic efficiency and can and does cause vest failure.

In the case of Holmes, he would have felt the shots, and he would have been hurt by them. A center mass shot or two or five would have jolted him, thrown him off and saved lives. A few shots to his lower trunk area would have broken a hip or worse and knocked him down. A couple of shots through his gas mask would have done the same thing.

The point is, bullet proof vests are not totally "bullet proof", and they can be defeated by multiple hits. Also there are areas not covered. Shoulders, armpits waist, neck, etc.

Some legal concealed carry permit holders, or just one, could have stopped this.

By the way, the photo of the AR-15 laying on the ground by the back door of the theater did not indicate a 100 round magazine. It looked like a 30 rounder. He may have had the other type on him, but it doesn't appear he used it in the crime.

# 43. 7/28/12 5:05 PM by Mike Rosenhan - Kearns, UT
Beth, gun control would have not made a difference. He could have used a pipe bomb, acid bomb, homemade claymore, gas bomb, or anything like was in his apartment and possibly killed more people.

He could have also easily obtained an assault rifle from the Obama Justice Department by sneaking into Mexico to buy it (or down to the Phoenix ATF office). Or just going down to Larimer St in Denver to buy one on the black market from some drug dealer. Bottom line, if he wanted to kill, he would have found a way, gun or not.

# 44. 7/30/12 12:45 AM by Bill
It is really a pity that there are still people out there who believe another armed person in the theater would have made the situation better. That is down right stupid. If only three other people had guns and used them the entire theater would have become a gun battle in the middle of a group of innocents. Every idiot with a gun would have been shooting at all the rest, while unarmed people died in the cross fire. A gun in my hand when an intruder arrives is an equalizer. A gun in anyone's hand in the middle of a crowd becomes a disaster. Sorry, but the movies have it wrong. Nobody is that good a shot in the dark, OR that good at assessing what is happening. Nobody!

# 45. 7/30/12 4:51 PM by Mark - Greece
To #44. Don't you think some chance is better than none? Suppose he were able to discharge all of his ammo? To what magnitude would the bloodbath be amplified? Also, LEGAL GUN OWNERS are given carry permits because they are responsible, and there is a lot more involved than going to the corner store and buying a pack of gum. And many perfect their aim religiously at the pistol range. May you never be in this situation, and wish there were someone who could have saved yours and countless others' lives! You bleeding-heart pacifists, if you had had your way, would have gotten us enslaved by a Communist nation decades ago.

# 46. 7/31/12 10:36 AM by Mike Rosenhan - Kearns, UT
#44 Bill, your comments are short sighted and knee jerk. If I had been in that theater and had a weapon to shoot back, due to my training, Holmes would have gone down.

# 47. 3/4/15 11:30 AM by JeanneBlair - Provo, Ut
thumbsup.gif How do I get your columns

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