|A model of an AR-15 rifle, which was used to kill innocent moviegoers in Aurora, CO early July 20|
A few days before the one-year anniversary of the attack in Norway, a crazed man opened fire on a movie theater in Colorado. Crazy.
It is insane that you cannot go to the movies without worrying about your life. It was also insane that teenagers could not go to Columbine high school without worrying about their lives in 1999. It was also insane that young adults could not go to Virginia Tech without worrying about their lives in 2007. It was also insane that a Congresswoman, a judge and several other people were shot at a supermarket in 2011.
Is this the new normal?
Of course, the reflexive reaction about these shootings is to put the focus on gun-control laws. In America, I lived in states with more restrictive gun laws than Colorado. I had no idea that you can walk into a store that sells fishing poles and buy automatic weapon and buy bullets over the Internet. Here in Germany, people are shocked by how easy it is for a normal person to get military-grade weapons, large magazines and stockpiles of ammunition.
I have had a few people tell me that they would love to visit the United States but they are afraid. They are afraid they are going to get shot because all Americans have guns. I try to assure them that the overwhelming majority of Americans have never seen a gun. The only people who walk around with guns are in a few places in the west and the south. My tourism push is a tough sell on a normal day but for a few weeks after these attacks, it is impossible.
I just hope that family and friends who see their friends and family members who are having a tough time will push them to get help. Seung-Hui Cho, Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold and Jared Lee Loughner displayed obvious signs of distress before they committed mass murders.