As expected there have been numerous calls for gun control despite the facts that:
- the shooter's guns were legally purchased with a background check over a period of time
- the shooter's explosive/smoke device was apparently self produced.
- the theater was reportedly a "gun free" zone, i.e. had been posted against carry of concealed firearms. This serves only to disarm the law abiding. Such signage did nothing to stop this shooter.
- the theater had a relatively large police presence on site for crowd control due to the premier of the movie "The Dark Knight Rises".
- the shooter was wearing a fairly complete set of body armor. Exactly what make or performance level is unknown.
Additional information apparently confirms that the shooter came in, unarmed, through the front of the building and then used an emergency exit to leave the theater and re-enter with all or most of the firearms used. When he left he apparently simply sat in his car awaiting the police response. It was then discovered that he had booby-trapped his apartment with numerous self made explosive or incendiary devices.
Counter-measures taken by some theaters were to increase police presence, prohibit costumed (particularly masked) patrons, and to temporarily suspend showings of this particular movie.
I was particularly struck by the preparation of the shooter, that his mother was apparently unsurprised by the news of his involvement in such an act, and that the shooting was apparently scripted by story in a 1986 comic.
- be armed everywhere or weigh the risk of not being armed to attend an event because even if police are on site they can not respond quickly enough. Ultimately you and you alone are responsible for your own security.
- be seated to be out of the line of fire but have access to exits. This is difficult in some theaters.
- as always, maintain awareness of your surroundings so that you can respond appropriately (some patrons apparently thought this was some sort publicity stunt).
- while there is some concealment provided seating and partition walls in a theater there is no effective cover. People in adjoining theaters were struck by bullets which penetrated the walls.
As of this morning the toll of this attack was 12 killed and 58 wounded and 6 of those were in critical condition. In contrast, Chicago had had 240 homicides as of July 4th.