There’s a popular flick where one person’s clairvoyant vision spares several individuals from an imminent disaster only to have them die afterwards – as they had “unfairly” cheated an inescapable death, their final destination. Jessica Ghawi had a feeling that she escaped death.
Jessica visited Toronto for vacation last month and experienced an “odd feeling,” an “almost sickening feeling,” as she described it in her blog, that wouldn’t “go away,” prompting her “to go outside” the Eaton Center into an early evening rain, rather than stay and shop at Sportcheck.
She went there for sushi, but “changed” her mind and had instead “a greasy burger and poutine.” When she paid, her sales receipt bore the time stamp, 6:20 pm.
Only three minutes later, at 6:23 pm, Christopher Husbands, 23, stood about where Jessica had her burger, and shot several rounds, sounding “like balloons popping,” wounding Nixon Nirmalendran, at the Sushi restaurant where Jessica first thought to eat.
Jessica wrote, “I never imagined I’d experience a violent crime first hand.”
She saw the lifeless victim afterwards, the “[n]umerous gaping holes, as if his skin was putty and someone stuck their fingers in it. Except these wounds were caused by bullets. Bullets shot out of hatred.”
Jessica had been spared but couldn’t shake that “odd feeling.”
Jessica returned to the United States where you can get assault rifles, large ammunition magazines and countless rounds of ammunition easier than a driver’s license.
In 1994 Congress passed a 10-year ban on assault weapons and large ammunition magazines (more than 10 rounds). But that ban was not renewed in 2004.
After the bans lapsed, a gun man in Tucson fired more than 30 shots in 15 seconds from one large capacity magazine, hitting 19 people including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and killing 6 including a 9-year old girl, and a federal judge.
Afterwards, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and Senator Frank Lautenberg offered legislation to ban the possession or transfer of these military style magazines. But the bill has been stalled in Committee since early 2011.
That’s how James Holmes, 24, was able to buy an assault rifle, a 100 round drum magazine, and 6,000 rounds of ammunition. Holmes amassed these weapons while Jessica was on vacation in Toronto.
Holmes reportedly modeled himself after “the Joker” in the Batman trilogy. Perhaps, like the Joker, Holmes want to show “how pathetic” are our “attempts to control things” and his objective was to “[u]pset the established order” so that everything becomes “chaos.”
Holmes chose the final episode in the Superhero Batman trilogy, “Dark Knight Rises,” and it’s midnight opening on Friday, July 20, 2012 at the Century 16 Multiplex in Aurora, Colorado.
Holmes stood in an open side doorway, wearing heavy body armor and helmet, back lit, light flooding into the theater, visible to an unsuspecting audience.
Jessica was there with her friend, Brent, when Holmes rolled a smoking hissing tear gas canister into the theater. Then Holmes opened fire. With his assault rifle and large magazine, his attack would last only 90 horrific seconds.
Jessica and Brent were in the middle of the theater when the smoke spread and they lay on the floor, hoping to escape harm. Holmes shot her in the leg. Jessica screamed. Brent put pressure on her gaping wound. Holmes shot Brent in the lower extremities. Holmes shot Jessica again – this time in the head. Jessica stopped screaming. Holmes killed Jessica and 11 others, and injured another 58. When Holmes’ magazine jammed, he surrendered unharmed to the police.
If we hadn’t lifted the ban on assault weapons and large ammunition magazines, Holmes might not have killed anyone or killed as many; Jessica might be alive.
Elected officials are complicit in these deaths because they have failed to contain these murderous assault rifles and these large ammunition magazines.
Some apologists suggest we need do nothing because Holmes would have found a way to commit this carnage no matter what legislative safeguard we had. I prefer that Holmes and his kind have to manufacture unlawfully their own assault rifle and ammunition magazine.
The context of this violence is a society reeling from economic recession and war. We openly seek truth through torture. We’ll kill a citizen with drones without trying him. Our young return from an uncertain war often dead or damaged. This “war” on terror has lasted more than a decade. That takes its toll.
We know the final destination of Jessica. We must protect everyone else from weapons and magazines you don’t use to hunt or for target practice. You use them only to kill – and we’ve had our fill of that.