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Easy availability of guns fuels senseless violence

Pro-gun individuals tell us that new laws will keep law-abiding citizens from obtaining guns, while criminals will continue having access to any sort of weapons and ammunitions. The problem with this assertion is that many of those who engage in murderous sprees, until they do so, were law-abiding citizens.

As for the well-intentioned people who believe that a better mental health system would help to identify and prevent mass shootings, they are only partially correct. Psychotherapy is seldom predictive. It’s hard to stop individuals in therapy who express suicidal ideation. It’s even harder to stop those who may contemplate homicide since they very seldom will share these intentions with the therapist.

And besides, you cannot arrest somebody just because he may be a risk for homicide; the best one can do is to involuntarily hospitalize this person. However, as soon as he can convince the staff that he no longer has homicidal intentions, they’d let him out. The morning after killings, neighbors will often say: “He was quiet, kept to himself but never bothered anybody.” At best, engaging a person in a psychotherapeutic process in necessary, but it is far from being sufficient.

As for the effect of violent media, other nations have access to the same games and films, yet they do not even come close to the numbers of killed we have. And, since I cannot believe that somehow Americans have a genetic predisposition toward violence, I can only think that the availability of weapons has everything to do with the number of casualties.

As for those who fear the black helicopters of the United States and of the United Nations, their separation from reality is too great for any reasonable argument to reach them.

Andre Toth

Williamsville