Welcome to Brauchler’s Inferno. Abandon all hope, Colorado.
Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is the smart and affable Aurora DA who helped convict James Holmes for the Aurora theater shooting murders and assaults. Brauchler is now running for governor.
He nearly won a death sentence against the sadistic and hopelessly mentally ill Holmes for murdering 12 people five years ago on July 20. Another 70 were injured.
The anniversary of the grisly massacre coincided with the regular meeting last week of the politically rightest of the right, the Western Conservative Summit in Denver. In a straw poll, Brauchler won the group’s endorsement for governor in 2018.
He came out on top among other conservative hopefuls in part because of his remarks about gun laws. Brauchler said — in the shadow of the anniversary of one of the worst gun-massacres in the history of the United States — that there is no gun law he’s heard of that could have prevented the Aurora theater shooting. There is, he said, no way to prevent evil in a free society.
I guess that would put Aurora somewhere around the eighth or ninth circle of hell.
Now I know full well that Brauchler is just pandering to the gun set when he says things like that, even if he means it. It’s no different than Democrat gubernatorial candidates telling teachers they’ll help keep the union strong — except teachers don’t kill nearly as many people as do guns.
The happy gun talk raises the spirits of deep-thinkers like Ted Nugent, who, after hearing about Brauchler and his views on gun control, launched an all-out support barrage.
“Dear conservative God in heaven!” Nugent wrote Monday. “For all my gunloving, backstrap rockin real American sh**kicker BloodBrothers in Colorado, check out George Brauchler for Governor. As Arapahoe District Attorney, he prosecuted the Aurora monster and knows full well that more gunlaws wouldn’t have made a damn difference in any democrat gunfree slaughtetzone!”
In slightly better spelling and grammar, Nugent goes on to laud Brauchler for knowing that more people carrying more guns reduces crime.
Pretty depressing stuff, and totally contrary to the facts. Had there been gun laws requiring mental health evaluations for anyone trying to buy a gun, it would have been pretty certain Holmes would have flunked. Brauchler knows as well as anyone that when Holmes was collecting assault rifles, ammo and body armor, he was a total nutcase. I wouldn’t have sold him a cigarette lighter.
Numerous gun laws requiring police interviews for those who try and buy assault weapons or large quantities of ammo would have tipped law enforcement off to Holmes’ condition. More than likely, however, strict laws regulating gun purchases, psych evaluations, waiting periods, background checks, ending Internet purchases and more may not only have tipped cops or shrinks off to Holmes, it may have compelled him never to do it in the first place. Because of people with attitudes like Brauchler’s, it’s so damned easy to not just get a gun, but get lots and lots of guns that are incredibly easy to murder with. You can get as much ammo as you want. With a credit card and a few spare minutes, you can amass a virtual armory of deadly stuff and take out entire gay nightclubs full of people, a high school, a military base, an office complex, even a crowded movie theater.
Of course lots of people know what Brauchler apparently doesn’t — how laws can and do reduce gun violence. Look at Australia, which was hot on the heels of America for suffering increasingly frequent lethal public gun massacres. The Aussies finally had enough in 1996, when after years of mass shootings, 35 people were slaughtered during the Port Aurthur Massacre. The government enacted a bevy of serious gun laws soon after. And you know what happened? All gun violence was cut nearly in half. Public massacres like in Aurora? Gone.
I don’t buy the sophomoric faux-fights that gun-nutters throw out that if there were no guns, madmen like Holmes would raid movie theaters with machetes or scissors. No, sociologists and other researchers have shown time and again that there’s just something about guns and crazy people that are an especially toxic and lethal mix.
Brauchler apparently doesn’t know this, but in states that have stricter gun laws, there really are fewer gun deaths and less gun violence. Of course there are exceptions, like Chicago, but there’s no place like Chicago.
It’s common sense. Despite all the spin and pseudo-science gun-lovers throw at us all the time, gun-control laws do work. They’re not perfect, but to dismiss them out of hand is hardly something you want to hear from your chief law enforcer and a guy who wants to run the state and, hopefully, make it safer from gun violence, from all violence.
Are there laws that Colorado could have invoked that would have prevented the Aurora theater shooting? Of course there are. Would Nugent and the far-right conservatives that Brauchler is flirting with right now go for any of that? Oh, hell no.
Brauchler is absolutely right, however, that no matter how hard we want to, we can never outlaw evil. But we sure don’t have to arm it with a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle.