If you think about it on a scale of something other than guns, its kind of a baffling concept to me. In MA, tasers are illegal, and you need an FID just to carry pepper spray. Our weapons control laws are strict, to put it mildly. And though I am not arguing against Obama's stricter gun control laws (unless you can think of a logical reason you need that AK-47, and do not say zombies), I do think its a bit odd that everyone points to guns as the problem. And when I think about it, it all connects in mind to a strange social taboo in our country about mental health care. And by social taboo I mean our tendency to push it under the rug.
Mental health care in this country is ridiculously lacking. Those who need help don't often get it, and when they do try for it, they're often met by mental health care facilities that are poorly funded, or costs too great for a person to afford. In MA we've closed down dozens of them, and these poor folks who are in need of care are just put out onto the streets. And I truly thank Obama for putting two and two together, because clearly if you're shooting your mother and then gunning down the elementary school where she works, you need some freaking help. Clearly. But that's the thing we don't hear about on the news. They simply release a statement from the family saying the attacker was "unwell", and leave it at that. The news focuses on the horror of loss and not the story of what actually went wrong with the suspect.
I honestly think that we seriously need to revisit the issue of mental health care in this country and get the freaking ball rolling. We need better funding, improved research, and better access. Therapy should not be a hugely expensive thing, and medical insurance should cover it, all of it. And there's also my radical 3am idea I had brushing my teeth one evening that if we made bow-hunting the only legal form of game-hunting we would have less gun-related accidents, and we'd be a country of actual badasses who can actually hunt.
Here's the one actual fact I am going to leave you with at the end of this, and you can just, ya know, take it as you will. Nod and continue on your day, or write to your local Senator, whatever works for you. But here's one thing I think everyone should be aware of. There are many tests concluded that you must pass to obtain a permit for concealed carry in this state. There are firing range exams and background tests. But you know what isn't one of them? A psychological evaluation. I have a dear friend who has a registered firearm, and this keeps him up at night.
It frightens me a little bit too.