NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- When President Obama addressed the nation Sunday night on the massacre in Aurora, Colo., he wisely omitted the name of the accused shooter, James Holmes. It was the right thing to do on a day that was focused on the victims and their families.
It also would not have been quite accurate.
You see, Holmes did not act alone. He had an accomplice. That accomplice was nowhere in sight when Holmes made his first court appearance on Monday. As far as I could see, nobody from the U.S. Congress was present in the courtroom.
Congress provided Holmes' arms and was his supply sergeant. By allowing a 10-year ban on assault weapons to expire in 2004, Congress must surely have known that something like the shooting in Colorado would take place.There may be no legal culpability, but when it comes to moral culpability for the Aurora cinema shootings, Congress is guilty as hell. As much as any Internet Web site or gun merchant, Congress put that Smith & Wesson AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle in his hands. Congress oiled and installed the 100-round magazine that Holmes had in place on his AR-15 when it slaughtered 12 people. By allowing ammunition to be sold as freely as alfalfa pellets -- more freely than Viagra or nasal decongestant -- Congress cheerfully provided him with 3,000 rounds of ammunition for the AR-15 and an equal number of rounds for his .40 caliber Glock pistols. By not restricting sane controls on body armor and tear gas, it allowed Holmes to buy equipment that could only interest cops -- or somebody not wanting to be shot by cops. Most of the time, when we discuss Congress' failings as a regulator, we are talking about dollars and cents issues -- Congress letting the banking industry go out of control or not exerting control of hedge funds. But this is life and death. How many more people have to die before Congress acts to restrict sales of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, ammunition, tear-gas canisters and other weapons of war?