I grew up on a farm and we had only one gun in our house. My father kept a shotgun or a rifle in a closet in his bedroom, and it was seldom seen by any of us. The only time I remember seeing it in his hands was to protect his home from an intruder. I never saw him shoot it. We had no telephone service on the farm at that time, so he had no way to call for help.
My husband knew how to shoot a gun. He had been in the Army. He liked to keep a handgun in his car because he traveled several days a week and felt it was a kind of insurance if he ever needed it. But when his mother was victim of a robbery in her home, he changed. His 84 year-old mother died shortly after the home invasion, and we believe the attack hastened her death.
At first I didn’t realize it, but he began collecting hand guns. After he died, I found he had four guns. One was a collector’s item and had never been fired. Strange that a gentle man like Barry kept firearms which he never used.
He didn’t hunt. When he was a teen he shot a deer with a bow and arrow. That experience haunted him and he never forgot it. The deer didn’t fall immediately, but ran until it bled to death. He followed. When he saw the actual violence of what he had done, he never wanted to hunt again.
I believe we should have the right to own a firearm, but not assault rifles or anything that resembles guns used in the military. This man bought four guns legally that the sellers must have known were not for his protection or for hunting wild game. And where did he find all the bulletproof gear he wore? Someone should have been suspicious of that.
I wish these killers could be studied, and we could understand what makes them do what they do. Perhaps this man is mentally disturbed, but why did he turn to violence? Did he harbor some deep anger that he had never expressed? Why kill innocent people? He is evidently intelligent from what we hear, but did his parents have a clue, did his associates have an inkling of what he might do? Did he become so caught up in a movie character that he actually thought he was “The Joker?”
Many families are suffering tonight because of this one young man who has the innocent face of the boy next door. Thankfully we have more caring and feeling people who are not violent or filled with anger, and they have poured out their compassion for all those who hurt and will never completely recover from those few minutes in that theater. God, bless them.