James Holmes, the Colorado shooting suspect
James Holmes, the Colorado shooting suspect. Photo by AP
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The scene at the movie theater in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Photo by AP

Last week, a masked gunman opened fire and killed 12 people and wounded 58 at a crowded premier of The Dark Night Rises in Aurora, Colorado.

The suspect, James Holmes, was said to have spent months stockpiling thousands of bullets and head-to-toe ballistic gear without raising any suspicions with authorities.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in 2008, James Holmes worked for the Jewish summer camp Max Strauss, run by Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles. Holmes was responsible for “the care and guidance of a group of approximately 10 children." The Times added that, according to the CEO of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, Holmes "had no incidents or disciplinary concerns" as a counselor.

Benjamin Netanyahu wrote a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama on behalf of the people of Israel, sending "wishes for a full and speedy recovery to the wounded." "All Israelis stand with the American people as they grieve this horrific tragedy that claimed the lives of so many," he said.

Obama met with family members of the victims at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, which treated 23 of the people wounded in the mass shooting. Obama said the suspect in the cinema shooting spree would be subject to "the full force of the justice system."

The Colorado Jewish community, Dina Kraft writes, has been coming together and reaching out in light of the shooting, which nearly claimed two of its own.

Amid their calls for unity and prayer, both Obama and Romney remained quiet on gun control, an issue that has been all but absent from the campaign debate this year. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate, said, "Maybe it's time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it."

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the former leader of the U.S. Jewish Reform movement, says Americans may be divided on the issue of gun control, but Jewish Americans are not. He argues that U.S. Jews have always been among the most enthusiastic advocates of legislation that will regulate gun ownership in a reasonable way.

Alan Dershowitz asserts that the U.S. will not control guns because the political candidates seeking office fear the gun lobby — especially the National Rifle Association — more than they fear gun violence.

Bradley Burston asserts that American laws seem more effective at protecting guns than people. The political culture seems to view gun ownership as a sacrament, and the popular culture often views violence more as a solution than a problem, he says.

Allison Kaplan Sommer writes that after the killings in Bulgaria, it was strange to watch Americans, so unused to the ritual of coping with such an event, go through the same rituals Israeli media goes through.

Chemi Shalev reflects on a wider phenomenon in American culture, saying that, "In the eyes of the world, these rampages define America no less than baseball, computers or apple pie. Just as Israeli generations are classified by the country’s wars, Americans can be categorized by the crazy shooting sprees that they recall."