July 24, 2015

The Politics of the Louisiana Theater Shooting

People are trying to make sense of Thursday’s shooting in the Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater. Twenty minutes into the 7:10 showing of “Trainwreck,” John Russel Houser, 59, stood up and fired a .45 pistol into the audience. He killed two and wounded nine. He tried to escape by blending into the fleeing crowd, but when two police officers quickly responded, the murderer killed himself. Later, police discovered the man’s car didn’t match its license plate, and the motel room where he was staying contained disguises like wigs and glasses. Police described him as a drifter, and there is a Tea Party Nation page set up by a man with his name. This incident comes just as a Colorado jury decided James Holmes, the man who entered a Colorado movie theater three years ago with the intent of killing as many people as possible, could be sentenced to death for his crimes. The shooting also comes hours after Barack Obama told an interviewer, “[T]he one area that I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied … is the fact that the United States is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient, common-sense gun safety laws.” But the greatest demonstration of character came from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. When asked about gun control, the presidential candidate said, “We’re just learning the details … let’s focus on the victims. Tonight’s not the night to be political.”

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