Aurora, Colorado: Tragedy, Wingnuttery, and a possible racial angle?

By Frederick Sparks

The senseless tragedy in which 12 moviegoers were murdered and scores other injured at a screening of the new Batman film may have been enough to “halt” the presidential campaigns, but the predictable conversations about gun rights, gun control, and of course “God” march on.  Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert blames the shooting on the fact that:


We have been at war with the very pillars, the very foundation of this country … and when … you know … what really gets me as a Christian, is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs and then a senseless, crazy act of terror like this takes place.

You know, when people say, where was God in all of this? Well, you know, we don’t let … in fact we’ve threatened high school graduation participants that if they use God’s name that they’re going to be jailed….etc etc


This asshole apparently worships an asshole God who allows babies to get shot because He is so butthurt that  His name isn’t said at high school graduations.   Gohmert also repeats the standard canard that “if only the theatre patrons had guns”…because of course everyone with a gun is a good enough shot to take out an armed assailant in a dark theatre while chaos is breaking out, without hitting an innocent bystander.


On another note,  Aurora has become a suburban destination for black Denver area residents and has one of the highest concentrations of African-Americans in the state of Colorado.  An Aurora resident who met the alleged shooter James Holmes  in a bar two weeks ago claims Holmes made “slightly racist statements” about rap music fans.   Reports are that Holmes is not cooperating, however, so no motive has been determined.  

My thoughts are with the victims and their families.


Aurora, Colorado: Tragedy, Wingnuttery, and a possible racial angle?

26 thoughts on “Aurora, Colorado: Tragedy, Wingnuttery, and a possible racial angle?

  1. 1

    On another note, Aurora has become a suburban destination for black Denver area residents and has one of the highest concentrations of African-Americans in the state of Colorado

    Thank you for pointing that out. It is common knowledge to people living in/around denver but hasn’t been mentioned in the media really.

  2. 2

    I did note that the interviews were mostly with POC, but I attributed my noticing to my own lily-white community surroundings. Have not heard word one about it in the media.

        1. Not sure I understand your point here, I feel safer with a weapon in my posession, maybe a gun, maybe a knife…maybe a big stick. but I agree with the point, in part. I think an untrained person with the wrong mindset has no business carrying a gun, or any weapon. It is the responsibility of anyone who carries ANY weapon to learn how to use it and be ready to use it properly. anyone who doesnt is more danger than any percieved threat, and of no use to man or beast. There are many many organisations around that specialise in this sort of training, anyone who wants to carry a gun should avail themselves of the training…it can be expensive, but its better than killing innocent people while using a weapon you are untrained with.

          1. F

            It is the responsibility of anyone who carries ANY weapon to learn how to use it and be ready to use it properly.

            No it isn’t, and the law in most places makes no bones about it. Especially states with no-permit concealed carry. Any moron can walk around with a gun. Some of these people don’t even know how to hold the damned things. (Which Congresscritter was that who waved her chromed oversize revolver (with a fucking laser site on it) in a journalist’s face to show off how cool it was?)

            anyone who doesnt is more danger than any percieved threat

            Uh, yeah. I think that was the point. That’s most gun owners, in an environment where pretty much anyone can own a gun and/or carry it in public.

            What is it with the pro-gun/no controls lobby that seems to think that all other people who own guns have their own two brain cells to bub together? Even smarter, responsible gun owners seem to think this way. And the number of people with real training in how to operate in public, in a firefight situation, is effectively zero. Cops fuck this up all the time.

            We don’t care how highly you think of yourself or other gun owners, we have zero reason to trust you this way.

            How I long for the days when “home defense” is the “reason” for owning. (Even if you’re good, what happens when that bullet goes right through an intruder and the paper thin walls of modern houses/apartments into the sleeping infant next door?)

            What if all those people in the theater carried guns? Yeah, what if they are all current SWAT team members. Who were already set up and waiting for something to happen. You might have a case. Even when gun ownership was completely wild and free in this country, it didn’t mean shit to criminals and killers.

          1. F

            No, but you seem to think that some sort of sense and high skill level with their weapons is innate to gun owners. You keep implying the entirely unevidenced opposite.

            The “firing wildly” implication covers what usually happens. Even if not completely wild, most gun owners aren’t as good as they think they are.

          2. No, I never said that, I agree with you on this point, most people dont bother to seek any such training, or even to give two seconds thought to what it means to be armed, and unfortunately much of the “Pro-gun” lobby as you pigeon-holed all of us into is complicit by making it TOO easy for people to carry guns, and TOO lenient when their actions cause harm.

            Nowhere in anything i said did i imply that they have a legal obligation to seek training…but I believe they do have that obligation whether or not they choose to fulfill it. Which brings me back to my comment about anyone who kills my loved ones by firing indiscriminately. We dont have to agree on all the points my friend, But i dont think we are as far apart on this as you imagine. Can you honestly tell me that a responsible, trained gun packer in that theater would have caused a worse outcome than what we ended up with? I think even in your worst nightmares about gun carriers overreacting it wouldnt have ended as badly as this did…in a theater full of people who were completely unarmed.

    1. 3.3

      Wow. Both the tragic event you report and the sub-thread that the report set off reduce this notion of “carrying a gun makes you and those around you safer” to the absurdity that it always was.

  3. 5

    **asshole God who allows babies to get shot because He is so butthurt that His name isn’t said at high school graduations.**

    ROFL…thats the one they all worship isn’t it? The one who sent the flood to kill damn near everyone he had created with full knowledge of the future, the same one who killed all the firstborn children in egypt, the one who told moses to order his soldiers to kill innocents rape and take slaves? Thats the chap!

  4. 6

    Interesting, I wasn’t aware of Aurora’s demographics. However, one of the CO based correspondents this morning trotted out the stock “how could this have happened here?” (i.e., in this nice white upstanding suburban town versus the savage ghetto) query. Where is the racial profiling on the lone disaffected yet “innocuous” quiet-kept-to-himself-church-altar-boy-wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly white gunman from quintessential good middle class family?

  5. 7

    I was just wondering this morning whether there was a demographic slant to the victims. (For example, I can think of at least 3 mass shootings right off the top of my head in which the victims were all female.) Now I see perhaps there was. Thanks for pointing this out.

  6. 8

    Southern Aurora tends to be more white, but central and north Aurora has a high density of minorities. That theater, and the mall it is next to, is considered by many Denver/ Aurora area people to be the “black” theater. I can’t help but think that it is not incidental to the shooters’ choice. A lot of people call it the “ghetto” mall/ theater but it is actually pretty nice, just not 100% white. The area has a greater Hispanic and Asian populations as well.

    Even so the three people I know right now who were confirmed killed were white, so unless the shooter has statements or written reasons about race influencing him I doubt the media will pick it up at all.

    1. 8.1

      I agree with what you’ve written. I am a white woman who lives in and adores Aurora. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I have a black husband and a mixed-race daughter. Aurora is wonderful for mixed-race children. I consider Montbello to be much more the working-class black suburb and Green Valley Ranch to be the upper-middle-class black suburb. Green Valley Ranch is technically part of Denver so it won’t show up in stats as being predominately black but we have friends who live out there. It’s super nice.

      Aurora is gloriously multicultural with a significant number of those blacks being African – Ethiopian, Somali, Ghanian etc. Our neighbors are American Indian, Moroccan, white and black. You cannot go five minutes without seeing a muslim woman in a hijab. I love it. I think it’s an over-generalization to call it a black suburb. It’s still 47% white. There is no white flight in progress. It’s a pretty stable ratio – but it’s highly attractive to immigrants bc of our existing mix.

      Also, I would say the south used to be mainly white, but that part mostly broke off to become Centennial. Now the whitest parts or those furthest east.

      All that aside, I wondered, too, whether that theatre was chosen because of it being a majority black and Latino weekend hangout. I’ve decided that I don’t think that’s the case. If you wanted to shoot up a theater full of blacks the 11:00 showing of a Tyler Perry movie would be a much better bet.

      This guy was targeting his own subculture and he certainly knew that fans of Batman aren’t predominately black. I also think that he figured a weird paramilitary outfit was more likely to be overlooked in that particular crowd, than any other.

      That theater is the closest to his apartment that has stadium seating and a large auditorium. Stadium seating provided him with easy access to targets and the large auditorium gave him more potential victims.

      I am the first too look for racial bias but this on just doesn’t seem to have any to find.

  7. 9

    O.K. – from what I can tell, all of the victims that I have seen photos of so far are white. Not saying other races were not also victims, but certainly not exclusively black either. Further, Aurora is not so neatly divided as amavara might lead you to believe. In fact, The mall where the theatre is located, if I remember correctly, may be the closest to the shooter that was showing the Batman film.

    I think finding a racial component is his decision to hose down a crowded theatre in the dark with a semi-automatic weapon after throwing in a smoke bomb or two is just a bit of a stretch.

  8. 10

    Whilst i am firmly against assault weapons (being any firearm with more than a 5 round clip, unless it is mechanically designed with an internal magazine making it capable of more), and am stylistically opposed to semiautomatic and fully automatic firearms (i’m a cowboy. it’s just what i’m comfortable firing.), the oversimplification of firearm carry here worries me. not everyone who carries is an idiot. hell, i’d never fire in the theater scenario. no clean shot anywhere in there. Not a damn thing to do but shove people on the ground and join em quick. See, self defense should be based around one central principle; pragmatism. the old adage “better to be judged by 12 than carried by six”? Foolish. The best possible thing to do in nearly any emergency is run and scream. fast. early. and towards the nearest restaurant or public place. Theaters are killboxes, so that was not an option. but some magical cowboy rising from his seat to send a perfect doubletap into the sack of cowardly puke that is the shooter? that’s just a masturbatory fantasy. I’m nuts about guns. but i am not a gun nut. Sure, on the range and in panic drills, i can do fine. But I never have, and hopefully never will, used a gun in self defense. hands? sure. but a firearm? never. I don’t know how i’d handle taking a human life, and with my history, i’m scared i would enjoy it, but i do know one thing: responding to violence with violence is a last resort option, as sun tzu says, the best battle is one not fought. and the best defender is one who is never even attacked. If you’re scared, run. Trust your gut, move your butt, and if you’re caught, take a nut. All you need to know.

    1. KG

      The fact that not everyone who carries is an idiot is completely beside the point. As Randy has so helpfully demonstrated, some of them are: and every one is a mortal danger to themselves and others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *