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Updated on February 10, 2011

I was watching 'Meet the Press' last Sunday and witnessed a discussion among the Moderator, Sen. Schumer of New York and Sen. Coburn of Oklahoma. When the question was raised about what could have prevented the shooting tragedy in Tucson earlier this month, Sen. Coburn blamed the school that the assailant attended and public institutions for failing to identify and properly treat the shooter as mentally ill.

Well, we had Cho in Virginia, Timothy McVeigh and countless others who have participated in mayhem over the last few years. Someone needs to tell the Conservatives in regards to this issue that hindsight is always “20/20”. It is not against the law to be mentally ill and regardless of the treatment this young man may or may not have received what societal safeguards were in place to have prevented him from buying a pistol with a magazine holding over 30 rounds? Particularly in Arizona, if the shooter had been properly identified as mentally ill, what or who could have prevented him from obtaining the gun in an open marketplace? Depending on your perspective, all of us can be accused of being less than mentally coherent at one time or another, when does that rise to the level where society can for its own safety restrict rights and privileges of an individual? What procedures are in place for us to make these determinations and put them into law and practice? In Arizona, we are not even close. These are the kinds of questions that I want the Conservative to answer instead of always reciting in unison from the playbook. Who can determine if anyone is mentally ill in the manner or to the extent where that person would be capable of killing six people in a handgun rampage? What mechanisms are in place that require mentally ill people to get treatment and who makes the determination that a person is mentally ill from a societal standpoint? Mr. Coburn was engaging in semantics and irrational banter with a national audience and it was disgusting. We all have to be smarter than this.

The Conservatives also state that if others were armed in that circumstance, the shooter may have been brought down prior to his killing and injuring so many. This is the second fallacious argument. Only “Dirty Harry” or “Superman” would have been able to instantly prepare themselves to engage the target effectively. Unfortunately, both of them are fictional characters. The reality is that more weapons would have produced more fatalities and injuries. After all, Arizona allows anyone to carry a gun without registration, licensing, and a training requirement for proper use. In the face of all of this, do you really think that having a “Gauntlet” like situation would have improved the outcome at the shopping center in Tucson?

Yes, I have heard the tiresome bromide that ‘guns don’t kill people, but people kill people’. Yes, chain saws and Bowie knives can and do kill, but what is more dangerous and immediate than a hand gun with a large clip capacity? I ask the Conservative, who is he trying to fool with this third and final fallacious argument?


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    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      "It's a Wild West scenario that America should have left behind more than 100 years ago."

      Oddly enough, Alun, we have not left it behind as the vision of a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid world is more than just folklore for many of us

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 

      6 years ago from Essex, UK

      I very much agree with you Credence.

      Regarding mental illness, no one is born mentally ill, and there is no precise definition as to what constitutes mental illness (or specifically, incapacity to own a gun responsibly). People become mentally ill during life, and possibly after they have legally acquired a gun. A person can live perfectly well (and sanely) with a level of mental illness but then something may tip them over the edge - ready availability of a gun makes that a dangerous situation for all. In short, it just isn't practical to assume that all potentially disturbed people could be identified by the state before they get access to a gun.

      As far as those who favour the idea of law abiding citizens engaging in a shoot-out in a street or a school with a crazed killer is concerned, most law abiding citizens in this situation would not be adequately trained to shoot calmly and accurately, and they would be prone to panic and not think clearly. It's a Wild West scenario that America should have left behind more than 100 years ago.

      Good article with good points. Alun.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks for your observation, BB. It is the old age balancing act between freedom and public safety, where can the line be drawn? There are no easy answers but we need to examine the boundaries to see what could be done. You are in an unique position to understand the sorts of people that are often involved in these tragedies, so I wanted your opinion. Thanks for providing it. Cred2

    • BukowskiBabe profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in the middle of it all.

      I tend to agree with you. Although guns don't kill people, people do, it's common sense to have stricter controls on who is purchasing a gun. I have no issue with that. It's not life and death to have the gun NOW. People can wait a reasonable amount of time.

      As for the Arizonia shooter, there were plenty of red flags; however, you're correct. It's not against the law to be mentally ill. It is sad that we have to wait for someone to do something really bad befor we can intervene. That being said, the thought of some sort of agency or paradigm deteriming who is, "sane," and who is unbalanced could get out hand.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks, marcoujor for your comments. In my article "A Progressive's view of Gun Control", I make it clear that I am not after anybody's gun. But for heavens sake, I should not be able to obtain one as easily as I pick up my filet of fish sandwich!!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      8 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      I will absolutely agree with Credence2 on this issue and I speak with a great amount of authority. A psychotic and drug impaired individual purchased a gun on a mail-order site (I would expect not a whole lotta screening was conducted)-- as a result, there was a death and another shot (should have been killed)6-times... how do I know? I'm still here. Arizona is not alone. I have no problem with responsible gun ownership by rational people... but I'll pretty much take my beliefs to my grave all flip comments aside (he probably didn't drool on the application). Thank you so much Credence2.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Yes, Longhunter, I hear you. I think that I am just looking for more reliable controls that seems to have fallen through the crack in Arizona.I don't think that it is anyones intention that firearms be a product available to anyone and everybody without some common sense restrictions.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      You've raised some good points here, Cadence2. Good hub. However, I must say I agree with the Pink Panther. Simply put, in this country, guns are a fact of life. That's not going to change without a huge fight. Either way, guns aren't the problem here. If you take away the guns, they'll only find other means to do so.

      As for mentally ill people buying guns, here in Tennessee a computerized background check is done on the customer at the time of purchase. If that person has no record of mental illness at the time of purchase but has in fact slipped over the edge, there's no way for the state or the seller to know not to sell that person the gun. Unless that person has a record or is drooling on themselves at the time of purchase, there's no way to know. I'm not familiar with how they do it in Arizona other than what you wrote above but, here in TN, at least we have some controls in place.

      Yes, I am pro-gun, I have a permit to carry, and do so legally.

    • Credence2 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Thanks, Pink Panther for your observation and your pov. I cannot expect all to see things the same way. I never said that I would ban guns. Taking your position to heart, why are we among the rare few of developed nations, that compare possession of an auto to a gun?

    • The Pink Panther profile image

      The Pink Panther 

      8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      You've raised some strong arguements here. However, I do believe that guns don't kill people, but people kill people.

      I think that the object is too often associated with the deed. For example, if I wanted to run down some people in my car, I could - doesn't mean I will, and doesn't mean cars should be banned because of the possibility.

      Just a thought. Great hub!


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