SANTA CRUZ, January 20, 2014 — Earlier this week, a man was shot to death inside a Florida movie theater after an altercation over texting during the film. Despite how inconsiderate and selfish it is to use one’s phone during a movie, nobody ought to be shot to death over it.
The incident illustrates a national epidemic of gun violence, long overdue for a serious, countrywide discussion. The fact that you are an inconsiderate moron if you pull out your phone for any reason in a theater once the film has begun should get you removed from the establishment, not murdered.
The NRA and libertarians enjoy pontificating about Americans’ right to bear arms, guaranteed in the second amendment of the constitution. They hold it close to their hearts as a cherished liberty. Many point to a fairy tale world wherein evil doers are forever lurking outside their homes, waiting for the chance to steal their riding mowers and DVRs full of Homey Boo Boo reruns.
These Americans are ruled by a curious paranoia, one which humans are not born with, but rather taught through flawed parenting combined with a steady diet of right wing media hysteria. Christian fundamentalists have recreated a zeitgeist of mistrust, fear, and veiled bigotry. In this fantasy world of manufactured evil, Americans are urged to arm themselves to protect themselves and their families. Before long, people are seeing enemies everywhere, including, apparently, at the local cinema.