Jesse Jackson calls theater shootings ‘terrorism’

Civil-rights activist calls for ban on assault weapons like the one police say James Holmes used in theater massacre

By BRANDON JOHANSSON, Staff Writer

AURORA | During a visit to Aurora this morning, the Rev. Jesse Jackson called last week’s theater shootings an act of “domestic terrorism” and called for a ban on assault weapons like the one used in the attacks.

“The rising domestic terrorism is a threat to our well being,” Jackson told reporters during a press conference in front of accused shooter James Holmes’ apartment.

Jesse Jackson

Pastor Thomas Mayes (left) and the Rev. Jesse Jackson (right) look at accused shooter James Holmes’ apartment Thursday morning, July 26 near Paris Street and East 17th Avenue in Aurora. During the visit the Rev. Jesse Jackson called last week’s theater shootings an act of “domestic terrorism” and called for a ban on assault weapons like the one used in the attacks. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Jesse Jackson

Pastor Thomas Mayes of Living Water Christian Center Church in Aurora adresses the audience outside accused shooter James Holmes' apartment Thursday morning, July 26 near Paris Street and East 17th Avenue in Aurora. Mayes hopes the Rev. Jesse Jackson's visit will put focus on the crime problems in north Aurora. During the visit the Rev. Jesse Jackson called last week’s theater shootings an act of “domestic terrorism” and called for a ban on assault weapons like the one used in the attacks. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Jesse Jackson

The Rev. Jesse Jackson (left) addresses the crowd outside accused shooter James Holmes’ apartment Thursday morning, July 26 near Paris Street and East 17th Avenue in Aurora. During the visit the Rev. Jesse Jackson called last week’s theater shootings an act of “domestic terrorism” and called for a ban on assault weapons like the one used in the attacks. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Jesse Jackson

Press surround the Rev. Jesse Jackson and several local ministers outside accused shooter James Holmes’ apartment Thursday morning, July 26 near Paris Street and East 17th Avenue in Aurora. During the visit the Rev. Jesse Jackson called last week’s theater shootings an act of “domestic terrorism” and called for a ban on assault weapons like the one used in the attacks. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Police say Holmes donned head-to-feet body armor July 20 and opened fire inside the Century Aurora 16 theater with an assault rifle, shotgun and pistol, killing 12 people and wounding 58 more before being arrested.

In the days after the shooting, police said one of the weapons Holmes used was an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine. The magazine, guns and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition Holmes bought before the slayings were all legal, a point gun control advocates have seized on in recent days.

Jackson said he doesn’t have an issue with gun owners who want a gun to protect their home, or to hunt. But, the long-time civil rights activist said, the assault rifle Holmes used was a gun that could only be used for terrorism.

“You don’t hunt with magazines with 100 rounds of ammunition,” he said.

Jackson said the federal government needs to re-instate a ban on assault weapons.

From 1994 to 2004, manufacturers were not allowed to produce new weapons like the one Holmes used.

Jackson, flanked by several local ministers, said guns like the one Holmes used could easily fall into the hands of international terrorist groups like Al Qaeda bent on causing mass destruction in the United States.

“This kind of access to weapons emboldens international terrorists,” he said.

Jackson also scoffed at the argument that had a theatergoer that night been armed, they could have stopped the carnage. He said Holmes’ ability to fire a hundred rounds in a minute would have made that unlikely.

“There is no time to shoot back — that’s an illusion,” he said.

Shootings like those at the theater could and should be prevented, he said.

“No one should be able to do this to a civil and free people,” he said.

Pastor Thomas Mayes of Living Water Christian Center Church in Aurora helped organize Jackson’s visit.

Mayes, whose church at 1585 Kingston St. is just a few blocks west of Holmes’ apartment, said this week he hopes Jackson’s visit puts some focus on the crime problems in the north Aurora neighborhood where Holmes lived. Earlier this month, a pastor was shot during a robbery a few blocks away and Mayes said crime in general is on the rise in the area.

Most importantly, though, Mayes said he wants people in the area to feel safe again.

“We are not as concerned about the image of the city as we are the people of the city,” he said.

Local pastors already have an event planned for Aug. 25 aimed at addressing rising violence in the metro area, an event that had been in the works since before last week’s shootings.

Pastor Reginald Holmes of New Covenant Christian Church in Denver said local religious leaders are focused on finding a solution to this summer’s rash of violence.

Holmes, who is president of the Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, said that solution has to be regional.

“This is not simply an Aurora problem,” he said. “Nor will it simply be an Aurora solution.”

  • http://www.smokyhillbound.com/ smoky Hill Bound

    Seriously?  This has nothing to do with the theater shootings.  The violence is not cool but Holmes and the violence in north Aurora have nothing to do with any of this.   This was an ill timed visit.  At least wait till the memorial services are over.  Holmes lived there because of the proximity to University Hospital.  I don’t like seeing tragedies used like this. 

  • Gofastgo

    The good reverend should stay home.  His ‘race-baiting’ and government control (how come he’s not in Chicago where they have about 25 shootings a weekend, AND the strongest gun control laws in the country) are best left to left-wing politicians to garner votes.  Hey!  are you gang-bangers listening?  Nah, Didn’t think so.

  • theQ

    LOL….and i call you a traveling race baiter…..your words mean nothing….only to the uneducated.

  • theQ

    Look at that picture of jesse and that other guy….like were looking at two great thinkers of our time…lol…..please these are monkeys with pants.

  • Yanéltšipák

    WHAT KIND OF SICK JOKE IS THIS!?

    Every day, the showings of what could have been a false flag operation are, seriously, piecing together. 

    The real issue, of the matter, is how stop people from becoming psychotic-sociopaths who commit to this type of tragedy (that’s if James Holmes was even the killer because I still don’t believe it was him “behind the mask”); we should not be talking about how to be restricting people’s rights to their second amendment, the last true standing amendment of the Bill of Rights.

    And, to be honest, I can’t believe it took the media so long for people call this terrorism, I think it has to do with how the media changed the official definition of terrorism post the September Eleven tragedy; but it’s still terrorism by standard definition: political violence.

    And, I also find it really sick how the terrorist attack at the Century 16 theatre attains all the media coverage, which it deserves, but the weekly massacres in Chicago or (weekly to bi-weekly) in LA or at the border get nothing. And, how about the disgusting drone attacks in the Eastern hemisphere? “Yeah, let’s shoot some hell fire missiles onto this wedding. Oh’p, we just killed 200 people, but it was worth it if at least one of those people was a ‘terrorirst.'”

    Sick, sick; sick; sick, sick!

  • John Holmes

    My name is John Holmes from Harrisburg Pa.No relation to the shooter 7 please no jokes about my name.(I’ve heard them all in 56 years. To the point I did not come here to debate. But first I must offer my prayers and condolences to the families and fiends of the victims. now with that said. i agree with Mr. Jackson ona ban of assault weapons and the clips that go with them. I’m not against the 2nd Amendment  as far the right to bear arms. As long as you are properly trained in how to use them and when. my comment last week to the Sentinal was erased three daysa ago,because it was not in agreement with the papers policy. So i will be careful in how i word this… I also call on mandatory urine testing before being allowed to purchasea gun and mandatory psychiartic evalutions… If you agree with me. Please send me a facebook  friend request. And I will give you more details in what we are trying. You will know me by the light green saftey vest I am wearing while picking up trash ina community clean-up… If not intrested please ignore this message. Sincerely John Holmes

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