Dark Knight Shooter Not A Veteran

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Joshua Lott / Getty Images

The American flag wave in the wind at half mast outside the State Capitol July 22, in Denver, Colo. President Obama requested American flags across the nation to fly at half mast to honor the victims of the mass shooting at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., last Friday.

I have to admit that when I saw the news about the Aurora, Colo., shootings Friday morning, my first reaction wasn’t appropriate. My very first instincts should have been shock and sympathy towards the victims and their families. But they weren’t. My first thought was, “I hope the shooter wasn’t a veteran.” According to the Pentagon, he was not.

In the wake of the September 11th attacks on America, any violent attack immediately brought on a question of any possible link to international terrorism. No longer.

I fear we are entering a period where any gun attack will immediately raise the question of whether or not the shooter was a returned veteran and a jump to the “psychotic returned combat veteran” meme so prevalent in the wake of the Bales killings in Afghanistan and other tragedies. Sadly, my own reaction to this mass murder, and that of so many others on social media—worrying that the shooter was a veteran—may bear this out.

I should add here, that my thoughts did quickly turn to the victims and their families. Notwithstanding the question of why any responsible parent would have a six-year old or a four-month old out at a midnight movie, no one deserves to be slain by a nutjob who was legally allowed to purchase an arsenal of assault rifle, a shotgun, a handgun, and gas cannisters.